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Ask the doctor: Is an egg a day OK?

food section story - on eggs - cooked

food section story - on eggs - cooked fried eggs , scrambled, fried, and an omelette photographed in studio on April 28,2004 Newsday photo by Tony Jerome Photo Credit: Newsday/

Q. Can eggs be part of a balanced, heart-healthy diet?

A. Eggs are handy, inexpensive sources of protein. They also contain healthful fats, folic acid, and essential vitamins.

Heart-wise, although a single egg yolk contains about 200 milligrams of cholesterol — two-thirds of the daily recommended intake — for most people, cholesterol in food has little effect on cholesterol in the bloodstream. Blood-borne cholesterol is a major contributor to artery-clogging plaque, but most of that originates in the liver.

The largest study looking directly at the relationship between egg consumption and heart disease showed no link between eating up to one egg a day and the risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke. Exceptions to that egg-a-day maximum are people who have diabetes. The cholesterol in egg yolks seems to increase their chances of getting heart disease, so people with any type of diabetes should limit themselves to two or three egg yolks a week, although there's no restriction on egg whites.

For cardiovascular health, limiting saturated fats, refined grains, and trans fats will do more to help your heart and arteries than fretting about eggs.


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