For years we have heard that egg are high in cholesterol and would increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but a large study has found this is not true.
Eating one egg a day is safe and doesn’t harm the heart even for people with a history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Researchers analysed three large studies conducted in 21 countries on nearly 150,000 people of which 31,544 of them were cardiovascular disease patients.
The results showed that consuming eggs even 7 days a week didn’t increase blood lipids including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.
What is more, it didn’t increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, or any type of death.
Ms Mahshid Dehghan, the study’s first author, said:
“Moderate egg intake, which is about one egg per day in most people, does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease or mortality even if people have a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.
Also, no association was found between egg intake and blood cholesterol, its components or other risk factors.
These results are robust and widely applicable to both healthy individuals and those with vascular disease.”
Eggs are nutrient-dense foods that contain high quality protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
They are rich in carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, and essential nutrients such as choline phospholipids.
These active compounds are very important for eyes, cells and brain function.
Eggs are not only inexpensive and have low environmental impact but also their nutrients are easily absorbed by the body.
For example, the lutein in egg yolk is 200 percent more bioavailable than lutein from vegetable sources.
Despite these facts, healthy diet guidelines often limit egg intake.
The concern is related to some studies that previously found a link between egg consumption and heart disease risk.
Dr Salim Yusuf, director of PHRI and principal investigator of the study, said:
“This is because most of these studies were relatively small or moderate in size and did not include individuals from a large number of countries.
The data from these three studies involved populations from 50 countries spanning six continents at different income levels, so the results are widely applicable.”
About the author
Mina Dean is a Nutritionist and Food Scientist. She holds a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Food Science.
The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Dehghan et al., 2020).