Are Eggs Healthy To Eat?

May 1, 2008

One of the top posts in my website is my article on how much eggs can one eat.  The emphasis on eggs as being healthy but laden with cholesterol has made the public very confused.  Now comes a new study published in the American Journal of Nutrition done in Harvard University linking consumption of egg to increased mortality. 


Background: A reduction in dietary cholesterol is recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although eggs are important sources of cholesterol and other nutrients, limited and inconsistent data are available on the effects of egg consumption on the risk of CVD and mortality.

Objective: We aimed to examine the association between egg consumption and the risk of CVD and mortality.

Design: In a prospective cohort study of 21 327 participants from Physicians’ Health Study I, egg consumption was assessed with an abbreviated food questionnaire. Cox regression was used to estimate relative risks.

Results: In an average follow-up of 20 y, 1550 new myocardial infarctions (MIs), 1342 incident strokes, and 5169 deaths occurred.

  • Egg consumption was not associated with incident MI or stroke in a multivariate Cox regression.
  • Adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) for mortality were 1.0 (reference), 0.94 (0.87, 1.02), 1.03 (0.95, 1.11), 1.05 (0.93, 1.19), and 1.23 (1.11, 1.36) for the consumption of <1, 1, 2–4, 5–6, and 7 eggs/wk, respectively (P for trend < 0.0001).
  • This association was stronger among diabetic subjects, in whom the risk of death in a comparison of the highest with the lowest category of egg consumption was twofold (hazard ratio: 2.01; 95% CI: 1.26, 3.20; P for interaction = 0.09).

Conclusions: Infrequent egg consumption does not seem to influence the risk of CVD in male physicians. In addition, egg consumption was positively related to mortality, more strongly so in diabetic subjects, in the study population.


The data suggests that the higher the number of eggs consumed, the higher the mortality risk especially among diabetic patients.  This seems interesting because the risk to develop heart disease was not seen among those who are frequent egg eaters suggesting that the risk to die was not associated with heart disease but something else! Nevertheless, looking at prevoius relationships of cholesterol and death, the most likely explanation as assessed in the editorial by Dr Eckel of University of Colorado is still atherosclerotic disease.

The relationship between egg consumption and heart disease continues to be confusing.  This is understandable because now we know that the effect of cholesterol intake in the diet has less effect on the LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood than an intake of saturated fat or trans fat in the diet.  And as we all know, the egg yolk mainly contains cholesterol.

The editorial sums it all up:

So, if you are a male physician and are going to eat 1 egg/d, why not eat the whites only? Just think—with all of the trimmings, that 3-white egg omelet is almost indistinguishable by taste from an omelet enriched with 600 mg cholesterol, and the whites-only omelet also remains a very good source of protein, riboflavin, and selenium. If you cannot do without the yolks, go ahead and enjoy them, but why eat them >3–4 d/wk? If you are a man with diabetes, a more limited egg intake pattern seems prudent. But, remember: eggs are like all other foods—they are neither “good” nor “bad,” and they can be part of an overall heart-healthy diet.

7 Responses to “Are Eggs Healthy To Eat?”

  1. […] Continue Reading  Posted on: Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 3:39 am  Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. […]

  2. […] the public very confused.? Now comes a new study published in the American Journal of Nutrition? of imputation and modelling methods in the analysis of …Adjusted odds ratio 95% CI. […]

  3. Tessa Says:

    Nice post. deserves an oscar.

  4. Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written any better!
    Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He continually kept talking about this. I am going to forward this article to him.
    Fairly certain he’s going to have a great read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. Fleta Says:

    Right now it sounds like Movable Type is the top blogging platform available right now.
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