You can now eat eggs guilt free. For years, we have been warning people about the risks of cholesterol from eggs. A recent meta-analysis from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition has upended this advice.

This meta-analysis demonstrated that eating the equivalent of one egg a day actually reduces stroke risk by 12 percent. Furthermore, eggs have no impact, either positive or negative, on cardiovascular risk.

As we all know, nutrition research is a slippery field. First we are told one thing is good or bad for us, then the opposite turns out to be true a few years, a few studies or a generation later. Think of the shift from butter to margarine and back to butter. How about the recent American Heart Association position that intake of dietary cholesterol doesn’t really matter all that much to our cardiovascular risk?

For those who do not know what a “meta-analysis” is, it is a scientific study of scientific studies. Using very strict criteria for quality of research, a meta-analysis evaluates and combines the best done and most reliable of multiple studies on a subject. Typically, researchers comb through hundreds of studies to find a dozen or so that meet best criteria. So, this kind of evidence is based on rigorous validated research and not just on the basis of one researcher or lab.

Eggs are a good source of protein which helps kick our metabolism into a start up mode in the morning. Further, it turns out that the cholesterol in them does not really increase our serum cholesterol, but rather inhibits liver production and leaves us at a steady state cholesterol control.

Eggs are a low-cost, nutrient-dense food that provide not only protein, but essential fatty acids, antioxidants, choline, vitamins and minerals. They make a great snack food, a good addition to lunch or a salad, as well as a breakfast fare.

Eggs are near and dear to my heart as my family ran a combination small dairy and chicken farm in Massachusetts. When I was a child, we moved to Phoenix for the better weather. My dad, an inveterate and indomitable farmer, plowed the alkali soil to bring us fresh vegetables and fruit, but also fenced off a section of our half-acre backyard for chickens.

My first job at 6 years old was taking the eggs out to neighbors to sell them at about 55 cents a dozen, the going rate in the 1950s. Thirty hens can lay a lot of eggs, so we needed to sell or give away the ones we could not eat. I cannot say we made”eggceptional” profits, but it was a job!

I know many nutrition buffs like to use just the egg white to cut down their total calories and fat for the day. That is a good strategy — for them. However, I have never had the courage to throw out that perfectly beautiful golden yolk, the fruit of the hen for the bland white stuff. In fact, I know “eggsactly” what is for breakfast. Some minced garlic, spinach and kale lightly sautéed in olive oil with a nice egg on top. “Eggcellent!”

Dr. Victor S. Sierpina is the WD and Laura Nell Nicholson Family Professor of Integrative Medicine and Professor of Family Medicine at UTMB.

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