Good Eggs ... Again

February 11/London/The Express -- Fears that eating more than three eggs a week can cause high blood pressure and increase cholesterol are unfounded, scientists now claim. Almost half of the U.K. believes eating too many eggs is unhealthy, but they are in truth a high-protein food, cheap and nutritious, and consumers should not be unduly concerned about how many they eat.

"It is high time that we dispelled the mythology surrounding eggs and heart disease and restored them to their rightful place on our menus, where they can make a valuable contribution to healthy, balanced diets," say the authors of a report in the journal British Nutrition Foundation.

Their findings mean the famous slogan urging the nation to "go to work on an egg" -- dropped after experts declared too many of them could harm your health -- may soon be back in favor. Plans to revive the ads in 2007 were vetoed after the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre ruled that an egg a day did not suggest a varied diet.

The new study now says that after years of conflicting advice on egg consumption it is clear that the amount of cholesterol in eggs has a clinically insignificant effect on human blood cholesterol. One medium-sized egg has around 80 calories and is rich in high-quality protein, the report adds.

According to a survey last year, 45% of Britons still believe that eggs raised blood cholesterol levels, which in turn was bad for the heart.

However, research co-author Dr Bruce Griffin, professor of Nutritional Metabolism at the University of Surrey's health and medical sciences faculty, said saturated fat was much more harmful.

"The ingrained misconception linking egg consumption to high blood cholesterol and heart disease must be corrected," he said.

"The amount of saturated fat in our diet exerts an effect on blood cholesterol that is several times greater than the relatively small amounts of dietary cholesterol."

Griffin said that the old three eggs per week message was only slowly dying. "It is still firmly rooted in the older rather than the younger generation. Very often, it is parents impressing on their children their dietary values," he said.

"In the face of the scientific evidence, there is no grounds on which to base that advice." Griffin, who is an independent adviser to the British Egg Industry Council, said the U.K. public should not put limits on consumption.

The Food Standards Agency agreed that eggs were a good source of protein plus vitamins D, A and B2. In addition, British Heart Foundation senior dietician Victoria Taylor said, "There is cholesterol present, but this does not usually make a great contribution to your level of blood cholesterol."

From the February 16, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition