Q. My husband loves eggs and used to eat them several times a week. When he was told 25 years ago he had a cholesterol problem, he gave up eggs, butter and saturated fat.
Even with a good diet, his cholesterol stayed high. The doctor decided five years ago that my husband needed a cholesterol-lowering drug. He now takes Pravachol, which keeps his cholesterol around 180.
We just read that eggs are not a problem any more. This is hard to believe, but would it be all right for him to have an egg once in awhile?
A. As heretical as it may sound, up to an egg a day does not appear to have a major impact on most people’s risk of heart attack or stroke. That is what Harvard researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (April 21, 1999).
People assumed that because eggs contain cholesterol they would increase the risk of heart disease. But studies of over 37,000 men and 80,000 women followed for many years demonstrated that avoiding eggs did not prevent cardiovascular problems. These results may not apply to diabetics.
More recent research indicates that about three-fourths of the population does not experience dangerously elevated cholesterol after eating eggs (Food and Function, Nov. 2010). Unless your husband is diabetic or one of the 25 percent who has an exaggerated cholesterol response to eating eggs, he could certainly enjoy an egg now and then.
You can learn more about diet and other ways to keep cholesterol and other heart risk factors under control in our book, Best Choices from The People’s Pharmacy, available in libraries, bookstores and online.