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Background: Limiting consumption of eggs, which are high in cholesterol, is generally recommended to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. However, recent evidence suggests that dietary cholesterol has limited influence on serum cholesterol or cardiac risk.
Objective: To assess the effects of egg consumption on endothelial function and serum lipids in hyperlipidemic adults.
Methods: Randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial of 40 hyperlipidemic adults (24 women, 16 men; average age = 59.9 ± 9.6 years; weight = 76.3 ± 21.8 kilograms; total cholesterol = 244 ± 24 mg/dL).
In the acute phase, participants were randomly assigned to one of the two sequences of a single dose of three medium hardboiled eggs and a sausage/cheese breakfast sandwich.
In the sustained phase, participants were then randomly assigned to one of the two sequences of two medium hardboiled eggs and 1/2 cup of egg substitute daily for six weeks. [Egg substitute is 99% egg whites plus 12 vitamins & nutrients including the essential B vitamins riboflavin, B-12, folate, and pantothenic acid. It also includes emulsifiers, stabilizers, artificial color.]
Each treatment assignment was separated by a four-week washout period. Outcome measures of interest were endothelial [blood vessel lining] function measured as flow mediated dilatation (FMD) and lipid panel. [The endothelium is the thin lining of blood vessels. FMD is a measure of vessel wall health. Lipid panel is a blood test measuring blood fats.]
Single dose egg consumption had no effects on endothelial function as compared to sausage/cheese (0.4 ± 1.9 vs. 0.4 ± 2.4%; p = 0.99). [The surprise being that neither a 3-egg breakfast nor a sausage & cheese breakfast had an effect.]
Daily consumption of egg substitute for 6 weeks significantly improved endothelial function as compared to egg (1.0 ± 1.2% vs. -0.1 ± 1.5%; p < 0.01) and lowered serum total cholesterol (-18 ± 18 vs. -5 ± 21 mg/dL; p < 0.01) and LDL (-14 ± 20 vs. -2 ± 19 mg/dL; p = 0.01).
Study results (positive or negative) are expressed in terms of change relative to baseline.
Conclusions: Egg consumption was found to be non-detrimental to endothelial function and serum lipids in hyperlipidemic adults, while egg substitute consumption was beneficial.
Source: Nutrition Journal, Jul 2, 2010. DOI:10.1186/1475-2891-9-28. Njike V, Faridi Z, Dutta S, Gozalez-Simon AL, Katz DL. Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Derby; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven; Griffin Hospital, Derby; Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. [Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]