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American Heart Month: Cracking Open Heart Health Myths
Date:2/6/2008

30 Years of Research Shows No Link Between Eggs and Heart Disease

PARK RIDGE, Ill., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- February is American Heart Month, and while cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one killer of Americans, many adults are confused about what foods to eat and what to avoid. A January survey of healthy adults conducted by the Egg Nutrition Center shows that nearly one out of four (24 percent) Americans still avoid eggs for fear of dietary cholesterol, even though 30 years of research has never linked egg consumption to heart disease.(i) As a result of this myth, many Americans are missing out on the beneficial nutrients of the incredible egg.

Science Sets the Record Straight

A 2007 study of 9,500 people reported in Medical Science Monitor showed that eating one or more eggs a day did not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke among healthy adults, and that eating eggs may be associated with a decrease in blood pressure.(ii) Also in 2007, researchers showed that egg consumption contributed less than 1 percent of the risk for heart disease when other risk factors were taken into account. The researchers concluded that broad recommendations to limit egg consumption may be misguided, particularly when eggs' nutritional contributions are considered.(iii)

"People should feel secure with the knowledge that the literature shows regular egg consumption does not have a measurable impact on heart disease risk for healthy adults," says Stephen Kritchevsky, Ph.D., director of the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University. "In fact, many countries with high egg consumption are notable for low rates of heart disease."

Not only have decades of research shown no association between egg intake and heart disease risk, but eggs are an excellent source of choline, which plays an important role in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Five More Reasons to "Heart" Your Eggs

Nutrient-rich, all-natural eggs are a welcome addition to any diet. One egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, healthy unsaturated fats and antioxidants, for only 70 calories. Eggs' nutrient package aids in the following:

1. Weight management: The high-quality protein in eggs helps you to feel

full longer and stay energized, which contributes to maintaining a

healthy weight.(iv)

2. Muscle strength and muscle-loss prevention: Research indicates that

high-quality protein may help active adults build muscle strength and

help prevent muscle loss in middle-aged and aging adults.(v)

3. Healthy pregnancy: Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline, an

essential nutrient that contributes to fetal brain development and

helps prevent birth defects. Two eggs provide about 250 milligrams of

choline, or roughly half of the recommended daily intake for pregnant

and breastfeeding women.(vi)

4. Brain function: Choline also aids the brain function of adults by

maintaining the structure of brain cell membranes, and is a key

component of the neuro-transmitter that helps relay messages from the

brain through nerves to the muscles.

5. Eye health: Lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks,

help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related

blindness.(vii) Though eggs contain a small amount of these two

nutrients, research shows that the lutein from eggs may be more

bioavailable than lutein from other food sources.(viii)

Looking for more info?

-- Join the discussion on eggs and nutrition science by subscribing to Dr.

Donald J. McNamara's new blog Unscrambling the Science at

http://www.unscramblingthescience.com.

-- For more information on the benefits of eggs, visit

http://www.enc-online.org

-- For fun recipes and tips, visit the American Egg Board's NEW site,

http://www.incredibleegg.org.

About the American Egg Board (AEB)

AEB is the U.S. egg producer's link to the consumer in communicating the value of The incredible edible egg(TM) and is funded from a national legislative checkoff on all egg production from companies with greater than 75,000 layers, in the continental United States. The board consists of 18 members and 18 alternates from all regions of the country who are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The AEB staff carries out the programs under the board direction. AEB is located in Park Ridge, Ill. Visit http://www.incredibleegg.org for more information.

About the Egg Nutrition Center (ENC)

The Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) is the health education and research center of the American Egg Board. Established in 1979, ENC provides science-based information to health promotion agencies, physicians, dietitians, nutritional scientists, media and consumers on issues related to egg nutrition and the role of eggs in the American diet. ENC is located in Washington, DC. Visit http://www.enc-online.org for more information.

(i) Lee A and Griffin B. Dietary cholesterol, eggs and coronary heart

disease risk in perspective. Nutrition Bulletin (British Nutrition

Foundation). 2006; 31:21-27.

(ii) Qureshi A, et al. Regular egg consumption does not increase the

risk of stroke or cardiovascular diseases. Medical Science Monitor.

2007; 13(1): CR1-8.

(iii) Tran NL, et al. Balancing and communicating risks and benefits

associated with egg consumption -- a relative risk study. Presented

at Experimental Biology 2007, Washington, D.C.

(iv) Weigle DS, et al. 2005. A high-protein diet induces sustained

reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight

despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin

concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 82:41-48.

(v) Evans WJ. 2004. Protein Nutrition, Exercise and Aging. J Am Coll

Nutr. 23(6)601S-609S.

(vi) Zeisel SH. Choline: Critical role during fetal development and

dietary requirements in adults. Annu Rev Nutr, 2006; 26:229-50.

(vii) Moeller SM, et al. 2000. The Potential Role of Dietary Xanthophylls

in Cataract and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. J Am Coll Nutr.

19(5):522S-527S.

(viii) Chung HY, et al. Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-

enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. J Nutr.

2004; 134:1887-1893.

For more information, contact: Egg Media Hotline

312-233-1211 info@eggnutrition.org


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SOURCE American Egg Board
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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