Eggs are eggselent!

I was talking to a friend recently who seemed unaware that the great debate on the cholesterol contained in eggs had been overturned. As she loves her egg and toast soldiers she was limiting herself to one a week but it is now over two years since the British Heart Foundation (BHF) accepted that the evidence on eggs contributing to high blood cholesterol was unfounded.

Research at the University of Surrey has also recently confirmed that the evidence that eggs raise cholesterol levels is based on out-of-date evidence from research done on powdered eggs.

Eggs are little powerhouses of nutrition, containing protein, essential amino acids, vitamins B, D, A, and riboflavin, and minerals, including calcium, potassium, and iron. They are also one of the few good sources of sulphur, which is essential for oxygen transport in the cells – see the story on swine flu. A lack of oxygen can lead to increased cancer risk as well as encouraging fungus, bacteria and mould in the body as they cannot survive when good supplies of oxygen are present.

Yet another reason to have a healthy, real, diet and why were they testing powdered eggs anyway and not actual eggs? Those previous finding for high cholesterol were based on the fact that the problem has always been oxidised cholesterol – cholesterol heated and exposed to air for an extended period. So a boiled egg presents no problem because the yolk sac insulates the cholesterol from oxidation – line up those toast soldiers and plan a long campaign!

Fried eggs can benefit cholesterol!


You can’t entirely blame Edwina Currie, though anyone who writes as badly as she does ought to be blamed for something, but we have steadily been eating fewer and fewer eggs. The dreaded phrase ‘high in cholesterol’ have sealed their fate, but ironically it now seems that new research shows they could actually reduce a risk factor for heart disease.

We have been warned over and over again about the dangers of eggs producing cholesterol that will clog up your arteries – though as cholesterol is essential to our health and wellbeing it has always been a mixed message.

The main target has been those people who have high blood pressure, and instead of a natural regime of exercise and diet many doctors have been prescribing an Angiotensin- Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitor drug. How about a couple of fried eggs instead? Two splendid Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta recently ran lab tests to see whether eating fried eggs or boiled eggs would produce greater amounts of ACE inhibitory peptides and the fried eggs were the winners!

They found that cooked eggs could generate a number of potent ACE inhibitory peptides and although I am not advocating you have them every day, do not remove them from your diet because of the cholesterol scare but eat in moderation – as you should do with all things in your diet.

Incidentally, the research that led to the egg/cholesterol scare was done on powdered eggs and the problem has always been cholesterol that has been heated and exposed to air for an extended period. This does not occur with ‘real’ eggs as the yolk sac insulates the cholesterol from oxidation. Many doctors believe that there is no link between eggs and having high cholesterol levels and in fact if you don’t have enough cholesterol from food sources then your body is forced to manufacture it as it is essential for your health. This form of cholesterol that the body produces is more likely to be deposited in blood vessel walls than any form of cholesterol found in eggs.

Egg and chips anyone?

Eggs are not the villains


We’ve always been told that eggs are bad for our heart, and especially for raising cholesterol levels. But now researchers have reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that they can reduce high blood pressure, another risk to heart health. Boiled and fried eggs act as a natural ACE inhibitor, which reduces blood pressure levels – and fried eggs are the more powerful of the two. This new study follows recent papers that suggested healthy people can eat eggs without increasing their heart disease risk, and just to celebrate I am off to have egg and chips!

Selenium has role in preventing high risk bladder cancer

Selenium is an essential trace element that we need for health, and now it seems it could play an important role in preventing high risk-bladder cancer for certain groups of people. Researchers from Dartmouth Medical School this month reported in a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research that although not true for everyone some groups who had been newly diagnosed with bladder cancer showed significant reductions in their cancer when they were found to have higher rates of selenium than average in their bodies. The groups affected were women, moderate smokers and those with p53 positive cancer. While other studies have shown a similar association between selenium and bladder cancer among women, this study is one of the first to show an association between selenium and p53 positive bladder cancer. Selenium is a trace element found widely in the environment and good food sources include Brazil nuts, bread, fish, meat and eggs Christmas excess – be prepared!.

Diabetes Updates

With over 2.3 million diabetics in the UK, and a further 750000 people who have the condition but don’t know it, I like to keep you updated and there are two new developments to report this week – both involving everyday food items.

First let’s do the positive and give you yet another reason to eat more fish. A UK study has found that in a study of 517 diabetics those who had fish less than once a week were four times more likely to have albumin in their system, a protein whose presence indicates kidney damage. This is a serious complication of diabetes and the study suggests that eating fish at least twice a week could help protect diabetics from this potential problem. The researchers didn’t single out any particular variety of fish, so help your diabetes, and your heart, by having oily fish like salmon and salt water fish like haddock at least twice a week to get the maximum benefit.

Fish is also of benefit for eye health, so keep reading.

AND A WARNING If you go to work, or play, on an egg then you want to rethink your breakfast options. Over twenty years of research funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute seems to indicate that people who eat eggs every day may substantially increase their risk of type 2 diabetes.

Men who ate seven or more eggs a week were 58% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not eat any eggs. However, the problem is potentially greater for women as they are 77% more likely to become diabetic if they ate an egg a day. The research was reported online in the magazine Diabetes Care.

A single egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol and adds about 1.5 g of saturated fat to the diet, both of which increase diabetes risk, and the exact risk figures are:

9% for less than one egg a week
9% for one egg a week
18% for two to four eggs a week
46% for five to six eggs a week
58% for seven or more eggs a week

% for less than one egg a week
3% for one egg a week
19% for two to four eggs a week
18% for five to six eggs a week
77% for seven or more a week

This does not mean giving up eggs entirely, they are a beneficial food, but it might be wise to limit your intake if you have any other risk factors for diabetes. These include being overweight, not taking any exercise, and long term use of drugs such as diuretics and steroids as they can impair insulin secretion from the pancreas.