eggs don't constrict arteries
Eggs Don't Constrict Arteries
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Eating three eggs at one time or taking two eggs per day
for six weeks does not constrict arteries in people with
high cholesterol, while eating a single sausage/cheese
breakfast sandwich does (). Constricted arteries, called
endothelial dysfunction, cause arteriosclerosis, high blood
pressure, heart attacks and diabetes (2); while opening
arteries is associated with reversal of arteriosclerosis (3).
In the same study, people who ate egg whites (but not the
yolks) daily for six weeks had less artery constriction than
those who ate the whole eggs. The authors do not explain
this finding. Multiple studies show little, if any, evidence
that eating eggs is associated with increased risk for heart
attacks or death (4). The main concern about eggs is their
extremely high concentration of cholesterol. However,
research has failed to show that dietary cholesterol, itself,
increases heart attack risk because the relationship of egg
consumption to heart attacks depends not just on eggs, but
on the total diet (5). Large population studies do show
increased risk for heart attacks in people who eat mammal
meat (6), but not those who eat poultry. Those who eat fish
and plants have reduced heart attack risk.
1. Nutrition Journal, July 2010
2. Atherosclerosis 1997, 129:111-118
3. Am J Cardiol 1995, 75:71B-74B24
4. JAMA 1999;281:1387-1394.48; British Medical Journal 1990;
5. Am J Clin Nutr 2002, 75(2):333-335
6. Archives of Internal Medicine, March 2009
Eggs Do Not Cause Heart Attacks
Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
Eggs have not been shown to increase risk for heart attacks,
according to an an extensive review of the world's scientific
literature in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (1).
For example, the Physician's Health Study followed doctors for
20 years and showed no association between eating eggs and
heart attacks or strokes. However, the doctors who ate lots of
eggs did die earlier than those who avoided eggs, possibly
because they also ate more bacon, sausage and butter (2).
The concern that eating eggs can cause heart attacks comes from
the fact that eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of
dietary cholesterol. Indeed, adding one egg per day can raise
blood cholesterol levels by one to three percent (3). However,
virtually all large population studies show no association
between eating eggs and blood cholesterol levels (4). In fact,
the Framingham Heart Study (5) and NHANES study (6) found that
high-egg eaters had lower cholesterol levels than very-low eggs
Current opinion is that some people have their blood cholesterol
levels raised by eating eggs, while others do not (7). Indeed,
70 percent of Americans will not have their cholesterol levels
affected by eating eggs (8). Furthermore, those who did have
their cholesterol levels raised by eating eggs, had rises in
both their good HDL and bad LDL cholesterol levels and also had
higher large particle cholesterol that prevents heart attacks.
Both rises in the good HDL cholesterol and cholesterol particle
size help to prevent heart attacks.
I have started to eat eggs again after avoiding them for more
than forty years. I continue to load my plate with lots of
vegetables and fruits, and eat reasonable amounts of fish. I
avoid all meat from mammals. I avoid all refined carbohydrates
except during and immediately after exercise.