The relationship between egg consumption and certain health issues such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) has long been a topic of intense debate in the scientific community. But, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, consuming up to one egg per day does not appear to be associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
“Recent studies reignited the debate on this controversial topic, but our study provides compelling evidence supporting the lack of an appreciable association between moderate egg consumption and cardiovascular disease,” said first author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, visiting scientist in the Department of Nutrition and assistant professor at Laval University in Québec, Canada.
The connection between eggs and CVD has been the focus of three different studies in the past 12 months, but this new research was an update from a 1999 study. It was the first major analysis of eggs and cardiovascular disease that found no association between them. That study was led by Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, chair of the Department of Nutrition, and a co-author of the current study.
For this new study, Hu and his team 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). All participants were free of CVD, type 2 diabetes, and cancer at the start. Measures of diet were used for 32 years of follow-up to gain a detailed picture of potentially confounding lifestyle factors such as high body mass index and red meat consumption.
No Association between Eggs and CVD
The conclusion of the study found no association between moderate egg consumption and the risk of CVD. Researchers did note that while these findings were true among U.S. and European populations, moderate egg consumption may be associated with lower CVD in Asian populations, although this may be due to overall dietary patterns.
Study co-author Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a research scientist in the Harvard Chan School Department of Nutrition and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that moderate egg consumption can be part of a healthy eating pattern, but 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.”
While researchers further their study on the connection between eggs and health problems including cardiovascular disease, it is important to focus on eating a varied diet, and if you choose, it can include an egg.
Eggs are full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B, C, D, E, K, and more. They are a great source of protein, and the peptides found in eggs have also been shown to help reduce high blood pressure. So, don’t be afraid to crack that egg for breakfast—just try to limit it one egg a day.