The National Egg Campaign, launched last March to promote good nutrition through the adequate consumption of eggs, has received a major boost following the endorsement of the initiative by health and nutrition experts in the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) Annual General Meeting in Kumasi, Dr Anthony K. Enimil, a paediatrician at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Kumasi, said the restriction on egg dietary cholesterol consumption could not be supported by recent research findings.
Some myths busted
Dr Enimil said there were a number of risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), such as smoking and sedentary lifestyles, as well as dietary factors such as saturated fat and trans-fatty acids.
However, the risk factors did not include dietary cholesterol intake, he said.
Dr Enimil, who is also a lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, pointed out that eggs contained more mono-unsaturated fat than saturated fat and that the consumption of eggs did not raise cholesterol levels in 70 per cent of the general population, including those with existing cardiovascular disease.
“Raises in cholesterol are usually high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or ‘good’ cholesterol. The phospholipids in eggs appear to be protective as they reduce fat absorption, decrease fatty liver, increase ‘good’ cholesterol levels, and reduce body inflammation,” the lecturer noted.
He said the risk of cardiovascular disease was greater in people with diabetes and added that a 20-year-long study showed that eggs and plant proteins might have a protective effect, reducing the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes.
Egg consumption, Dr Enimil said, could lower the incidence of stroke as well.
In her presentation at the GMA meeting, the Resident Paediatrician at KATH, Dr Yaa Gyamfua Oppong-Mensah, said a current baseline sampling conducted by the National Egg Campaign in collaboration with the University of Ghana suggested that, of the 665 people who participated in the exercise, nearly all consumed eggs.
Twenty of them, (about three per cent), who did not consume eggs, cited medical advice and myths about eggs.
The survey suggested that the average intake for those consuming eggs was 143 eggs per year or less than three per week.
This is against an average of 236 per capita in the United States of America and 258 for Europe. In a recent report by the International Egg Commission (IEC), the average per capita consumption of eggs was 200 pieces per year.
With over 350 eggs a year, Mexico showed the highest value, followed by Japan, Ukraine and China.
In Europe, Denmark and Hungary had the highest consumption rates, the lowest was found in the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria and India (57 eggs per capita).
Against this background, Dr Oppong-Mensah encouraged Ghanaians to consume more eggs because they were high in quality animal protein, which has many benefits, including increased muscle mass and better bone health.
The campaign is a collaboration between the Ministries of Food and Agriculture, Health, and Trade and Industry, and is under the auspices of the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers.
The initiative, which is on the theme: “Consumption of eggs – Building a healthy nation,” is also aimed at actively supporting Ghana’s poultry industry by helping to enhance poultry feed quality through the improvement of feed testing.