An egg a day not associated with heart disease and high cholesterol, finds new study

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

 ©GettyImages / Михаил Руденко
©GettyImages / Михаил Руденко

Related tags Eggs Nutrition Dietary guidelines Cholesterol

Consuming one egg a day is not tied to higher blood cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease, even for individuals with a history of such conditions, an analysis of three global studies by researchers at Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) found.

Eggs are a rich source of essential nutrients from protein to choline but also a source of dietary cholesterol. Per capita egg consumption is on the rise in the US. In 2019, per capita consumption was 287.1 (slightly higher than 284.1 per capita consumption in 2018), according to the American Egg Board​. The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), predicts that number will increase to 291 per capita in 2020.

A team of PHRI researchers analyzed results from three, long-term international studies, which in total analyzed egg consumption of 177,555 individuals across 50 countries spanning six continents. 

According to Salim Yusuf, principal researcher of the PHRI study and director of PHRI, previous studies on egg consumption and diseases have been contradictory due to their relatively small sample size.

"These studies were relatively small or moderate in size and did not include individuals from a large number of countries,"​ he said. Each of three studies analyzed by PHRI researchers was not industry-funded, according to the report, which is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition​. 

'About one egg a day is fine,' say PHRI researchers

The results suggest there is no harm from consuming eggs given that the majority of individuals in the study consumed moderate amounts of eggs, according to researchers. Researchers also noted that their findings are robust and widely applicable for both healthy individuals and patients with vascular disease.

"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 (CVD) or diabetes,"​ said Mahshid Dehghan, study author and a PHRI researcher.

"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."

Researchers also noted, "The effects of egg consumption may also vary across populations with varying diet quality (such as a low- or high-carbohydrate diet). In addition, substitution of carbohydrate with protein improves blood lipid profile, lowers blood pressure, and consequently reduces risk of CVD." 

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