Research: Eggs in moderation reduce stroke and heart disease risk

Research wordResearch word

I have written articles in the past lauding eggs as a protein source and writing about the research-proven weight loss benefits of eggs. I have even written an article debunking the myth that eggs are bad for you. In May of 2019, new research was released to once again back up the consumption of eggs in moderation.

Eggs in bowl
Eggs in bowl

The study was published in the online journal Heart in 2018​[1]​. The American Heart Association (the organization behind Heart), has been critical of egg consumption in the past and would appear to be a fairly reputable source in this case. They appear to have changed course and are admitting that egg consumption in moderation might be helpful and not harmful to good heart and vascular health.

In the study, researchers looked at egg consumption and health status for over 9 years with a survey. heart disease and stroke. The subject population included more than 400,000 Chinese adults ages 30 to 79. Based on prior studies, it would be expected that heart disease and stroke would increase with egg consumption.

The researchers found that eating an egg a day may be protective and not harmful. The means that moderate egg consumption might actually help fight against cardiovascular disease and stroke. In fact, researchers concluded that people who ate a single egg every day would likely have 18% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 28% lower risk of experiencing a deadly hemorrhagic stroke when compared with people who did not eat eggs. This finding is at odds with many other studies performed in the past.

I know the naysayers will say this is only one study and one was released in March that showed an increase in heart disease and all-cause mortality with increasing egg consumption​[2]​. The results of this study are consistent with the findings of a study from Finland released on 15 May 2019​[3]​. The point is not to play tit for tat, but to indicate that it is not as clear as many dieticians or experts what you to believe.

So what is the truth? The truth is probably somewhere in the middle and both might be true. Prior studies indicated that both disease processes increase with egg consumptions and yet others argue that eggs do not increase the risk for disease. It is possible, and likely, that both might be true with stroke and heart disease risk having a threshold after which the risk begins to increase. Once you reach like 1-2 eggs, the risk begins to increase with each egg you consume (purely notional number).

Eggs are a healthy and nutritious addition to nearly all diets. There is no reason to believe that eggs, when eaten in moderation, would increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.

The bottom line: This study indicated that moderate egg consumption, such as one a day, appears to reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease when compared to those that ate no eggs. I would like to see more studies dig into eggs and health risk. In the meantime, enjoy your eggs in moderation.

REFERENCES:

  1. [1]
    C. Qin et al., “Associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease in a cohort study of 0.5 million Chinese adults,” Heart, pp. 1756–1763, May 2018 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/heartjnl-2017-312651
  2. [2]
    V. W. Zhong et al., “Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality,” JAMA, p. 1081, Mar. 2019 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2019.1572
  3. [3]
    A. M. Abdollahi et al., “Egg consumption, cholesterol intake, and risk of incident stroke in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study,” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2019 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz066
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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