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The Role of Eggs in Heart Disease.

Eggs are a major source of dietary cholesterol. This is the basis for one of the recommendations to reduce the risk of developing heart disease: limit the number of eggs you eat. Dietary cholesterol has been shown to increase blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, both of which increase risk of heart disease. However, some researchers believe that eggs should not be avoided because they may also increase levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The public has been told to "eat more eggs because they're good for you" and "eat fewer eggs since they are high in cholesterol." A recent review of studies of eggs attempted to resolve these contradictory messages by examining the effect of eggs on blood levels of cholesterol.

Researchers from the Netherlands combined results from 17 studies where subjects were fed varied amounts of cholesterol or eggs. They found that dietary cholesterol increased the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol in both men and women. This means that while HDL cholesterol increased, total cholesterol also increased; in fact, it increased more than HDL cholesterol did. This will increase risk of developing heart disease. The researchers concluded that eggs and other foods rich in cholesterol should be limited in order to reduce the risk of heart disease.

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Weggemans RM, Zock PL, Katan MB. 2001. Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in humans: a meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 73: 885-891.
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Author:Mangels, Reed
Publication:Vegetarian Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUNE
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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