Q: I gave up eating eggs years ago due to high cholesterol. I have been eating only egg substitutes. I recently heard that eating eggs doesn’t really raise cholesterol. If this is true, I would love to go back to eating real eggs again.
A: For decades, dietary dogma has kept many people from eating eggs. Because yolks are rich in cholesterol, some scientists assumed that eating whole eggs would raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk for heart disease.
This assumption was accepted without evidence.
When investigators looked at the data, they found that eating up to one egg daily had little impact on stroke or heart-disease risk (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 21, 1999).
There is even an experiment showing that egg consumption is linked to higher levels of good HDL cholesterol and markers of improved retinal health in the eye (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2009).
People vary in their response to eggs, so it is important to monitor blood lipid levels. Those with diabetes should exercise particular caution, because studies suggest eggs do raise the risk for heart disease for that group.
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. E-mail them via their Web site: www.peoples pharmacy.com. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy @gmail.com.