Author of the article ZANE TIMPARE, certified Nutrition Specialist and Nutrition Journalist: “FOOD AS MEDICINE”
“They say: you can’t eat eggs, and then again – yes you can?! I don’t understand anything!”
Such misinterpretations can often be heard from acquaintances. And rightly so, as the discussion over egg-eating has been going on since the 1970s, when eggs were recommended to be strictly limited not only for those at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, but also for healthy people.
It is now acknowledged that these bans have brought little help, as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have only spread since, especially in America, where eggs were banned most severely.
Even now, national guidelines for eating eggs differ. Americans have included eggs in the protein group along with meat and no longer specify how many eggs are safe to eat. It is only noted: the total recommended amount of products in this group per week is about 700 grams.
On the other hand, the Nordic dietary guidelines, developed by scientists from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and other Nordic countries, have not set any limits on the number of eggs eaten per day. The new Mediterranean Diet Pyramid recommends to eat 2-4 eggs a week. Typically, the French recommendation to citizens is much more liberal: “Eat meat, fish, other seafood and eggs alternately once or twice a day, preferring leaner meat, fish – at least twice a week.”
What can be concluded from it all? The fact that eggs are a stable part of a wholesome and healthy diet. Eggs are one of the most valuable nutritional products – rich in essential amino acids, valuable fatty acids, antioxidants, choline, vitamin B12, fat-soluble vitamins. And in addition, this valuable product is available in the stores at a reasonable price. Of course, eggs are also one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol.
Does anyone remember the Danish professor Steen Stender? In 2011, he became famous in Latvia regarding the scandal of “SELGA” cookies, sparking a discussion on limiting harmful trans fats in them (and now a strict limitation on the amount of trans fats in all products has been introduced in Latvia).
And the very same honourable Danish professor Steen Stenders, together with colleagues from the Universities of Copenhagen and Aalborg, as it may seem, by observing the fuss about eating/not eating the eggs, published an extensive analysis of studies a few years ago on the effects of eggs on cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.1
His conclusion and the conclusion of his colleagues when assessing all the pros and cons was: the development of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes is more influenced by overall eating habits, physical activity or sedentariness, genetics, rather than by a specific product – namely eggs.1,2
And healthy people were advised to eat up to 7 eggs a week. But for those at risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes, this number of eggs is only recommended if their lifestyle is particularly healthy.1Of course, the recommendations of the treating doctors, the course of the disease and other circumstances must also be taken into account, due to which lower weekly egg consumption may also be indicated. In such cases our cardiologists recommend the same as in the Mediterranean Diet: 2-4 eggs a week.
Literature sources used in the article:
¹ Geiker, N. R. W., Larsen, M. L., Dyerberg, J., Stender, S., & Astrup, A. (2018). Egg consumption, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(1), 44-56. doi:http://dx.doi.org.db.rsu.lv/10.1038/ejcn.2017.153
² Theresa A Nicklas, Carol E O'Neil, Victor L Fulgoni, III, Differing Statistical Approaches Affect the Relation between Egg Consumption, Adiposity, and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Adults, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 145, Issue 1, January 2015, Pages 170S–176S, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.114.194068
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