Other scientists weren’t convinced. They thought the study, among other things, didn’t take into account foods participants ate with the eggs – such as sausages, bacon, buttered toast and salt – nor did it consider whether their subjects were sedentary. (It partially relied on body mass index, indicative of inactivity and high sugar and fat caloric intake; and on blood pressure, suggestive of salt ingestion.)

In January, British scientists evaluating data culled from a number of previous studies (a meta-analysis), disagreed with the Canadian findings, concluding that eating up to one egg a day is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. Indeed, they said eating saturated fats (found mainly in high-fat animal products) could do more cardiac harm than did cholesterol consumption. For healthy people, cutting back on eggs would be less effective than following a healthful diet. They agreed, however, that for diabetic people, a daily egg significantly raised risk of cardiac disease, and this deserved more investigation.

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Humans have been eating this nutritional powerhouse since some caveman found a clutch of eggs in a nest (the first birder perhaps?). Ancient Romans munched peafowl eggs, while Egypt’s pharaohs feasted on pelican eggs; and an ostrich egg undoubtedly fed a family on the African Savannah. In our society, chicken eggs are an inexpensive and sustaining ingredient in dishes savoury and sweet. They make quick and nourishing meals for people who don’t want to cook long and large – often older people living solo.

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