Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

What The Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You To Know

Credit: nito

Credit: nito

The health claims of the egg industry rely on a red herring and a half-truth.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The egg industry has fostered widespread belief that dietary cholesterol in egg yolks is harmless. Its proposition rests on a red herring and a half-truth. The red herring is a misplaced focus on elevated fasting levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as the main harmful effect of dietary cholesterol. The half-truth is the slogan: “Eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people”. Those at risk of heart attack or stroke should understand the issues.

The Red Herring

Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks do raise fasting levels of LDL cholesterol, but more important are the effects after meals. For several hours after a high-cholesterol, high-fat meal there are increased levels of oxidised LDL (the most harmful form of cholesterol), impaired function of the artery lining, making arteries sticky and twitchy, and inflammation of the arteries.

Longstanding recommendations that patients at risk of vascular disease should reduce dietary cholesterol below 200 mg/day are based on strong evidence that dietary cholesterol increases cardiovascular risk. A yolk of a single jumbo (65 gram) egg contains 237 mg of cholesterol, which is more than the recommended daily intake of cholesterol for those at risk of heart attack or stroke.

The Half-Truth

Egg marketers maintain that studies have not shown harm from egg yolk consumption among...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.