I eat upwards of 15 eggs per week for two reasons. Firstly, because I enjoy them and secondly, being a vegetarian, I need the protein. So am I doing my heart a disservice and will all those eggs yolks cause my cholesterol levels to catapult into the stratosphere? As it turns out, it depends which research I cozy up to. The initial reviews were encouraging. Consuming three eggs per day actually increases HDL, the protective cholesterol, with no upsurge in LDL, the cholesterol that blocks my blood vessels. There are what is known as hyper and hypo-responders to dietary cholesterol. Hyper-responders absorb more cholesterol from the food they eat but make less, while the opposite happens for hypo-responders, which means it all evens out in the end. If I’m a hyper-responder and I eat lots of eggs my body might absorb more cholesterol from egg yolks, but then I’ll stop making it, achieving some form of balance.
Eggs contain substances which protect my eyes against the development of macular degeneration, one of the primary causes of age-related blindness. They are rich in B vitamins, which help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K, minerals like selenium, and an assortment of antioxidants. Moreover, one study shows that consuming eggs might even help with weight loss. One of the research articles I came across did not observe an increased risk for stroke or heart disease with weekly consumption of greater than 6 eggs per week or 1 egg or greater per day.
Then I bumped into Professor David Spence’s research. Professor Spence is the director of the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre in London, Ontario and one of his keynote articles which outlines his thesis is entitled ‘Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: Not for patients at risk of vascular disease.’ You don’t have to be Einstein or a Masterchef to work out what he’s cooking up.