A past study has suggested that people who eat an added three or four eggs a week or 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day have a higher risk of both heart disease and early death compared with those who eat fewer eggs.
A new study by scientists at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health stands contradictory- supporting a definite association between moderate egg consumption and cardiovascular disease.
The study is an update on a 1999 review, a first significant analysis of eggs and cardiovascular disease. It does not find any association between eggs and CVD risk.
For this investigation, scientists analyzed health data from 173,563 women and 90,214 men participating in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) who were free from CVD, type 2 diabetes, and cancer at baseline.
They used repeated measures of diet — as long as 32 years of follow up — to increase detailed information on potentially confounding lifestyle factors, for example, high body mass index and red meat consumption. The scientists also conducted the largest meta-analysis of this topic, including 28 prospective cohort studies with up to 1.7 million participants.
The analysis of NHS and HPFS participants found no association between moderate egg consumption and risk of CVD. Results from the meta-analysis supported this finding in U.S. and European populations; however, some evidence suggested that average egg consumption may be associated with lower CVD risk in Asian populations, although the overall dietary pattern may confound this.
Study co-author Shilpa Bhupathiraju, the research scientist in the Harvard Chan School Department of Nutrition and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, “While moderate egg consumption can be part of a healthy eating pattern, it is not essential.”
“There is a range of other foods that can be included in a healthy breakfast, such as whole-grain toasts, plain yogurt, and fruits.”
The study was published online today in the BMJ.