Eggs are a vital part of a balanced and varied diet, the American Council on Science and Health concluded in a report released today. "When most people hear the word 'eggs,' they immediately think 'cholesterol' and 'bad,' says Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH's director of nutrition. "In fact," she continues, "although egg yolks are high in cholesterol, eggs also provide essential nutrients, including protein, riboflavin, folate and vitamins B12, D and E." Recent research shows that the most potent dietary culprits for raising levels of cholesterol in the blood are the saturated fats in foods, not the cholesterol. Indeed, studies have found that two thirds of the population experiences only a small increase in blood cholesterol after consuming high levels of dietary cholesterol.
"Do I Dare to Eat an Egg?" That question was the title of a recent health newsletter article and reflects the public's profound "ovophobia." Egg use in the U.S. has fallen dramatically over the last 50 years, from 400 eggs per person per year in the 1940's to 235 in 1992, the last year for which statistics are available. The main reason for the decline: fear that eggs, which are high in cholesterol, will increase the risk of heart disease.