In the constant back and forth about whether eggs are good for you or bad for you, we’ve heard it all. They are bad for your cholesterol! They are good for your cholesterol! They’re a healthy source of protein! They’re an unhealthy source of protein! Eat the whites! Eat the whole egg! The scientific community has taken both sides. And now, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (that I read on The Scoop) is back on the anti-egg campaign with new research showing that eating excessive quantities of eggs (I’m looking at you Paleo dieters) may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke even if you don’t have any of the other more traditional risk factors. Here’s why!
In the past, eggs were demonized because we thought the cholesterol they contained directly impacted our cholesterol levels, driving them up the more eggs we ate. However, it looks like the real culprit may be the lecithin contained in the egg yolk. When the body breaks down lecithin, it becomes choline (the vitamin you get from your bacon egg and cheese that some say reduces hangover symptoms) in the intestine which releases a substance the liver converts into the compound trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO for short). This TMAO can make plaque and cholesterol build up more quickly in coronary arteries which ups risk of heart attack and stroke. However, avoiding the yolk where the lecithin lives, can reduce your risk. Looks like it’s back to egg white omelets at brunch until the researchers say otherwise!