A large research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has confirmed no significant association between egg intake and blood fat levels, cardiovascular risk and mortality.
“This new research is particularly important as it includes a much more diverse population than many previous studies,” said Dr Juliet Gray, a registered UK nutritionist.
“All major heart and health advisory bodies in the UK now concur that the cholesterol in eggs has no significant effect on heart disease risk, as shown by most recent research in this area. The small number of studies showing contradictory results have tended to use older retrospective data, from higher-income countries, making it more likely that egg consumption is associated with an unhealthy diet and other factors associated with affluence which are themselves risk factors for heart disease.”
In the latest study, researchers at the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), McMaster University, Canada, analysed the results from three long-term international studies that included data from 177,000 people in 50 countries, to assess the association of egg consumption with blood lipids, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and mortality in populations from low, middle, and high-income countries.
More than 146,000 of the individuals studied were from 21 countries in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, where egg consumption was recorded using food frequency questionnaires specific to each country. A further 31,544 patients with vascular disease in two multinational prospective studies (ONTARGET and TRANSCEND) were also investigated.
In the PURE study, after excluding people with history of CVD, higher intake of egg (7 eggs a week or more) was not significantly associated with blood lipids, total mortality or major CVD. Similar results were observed in the other two studies.
The researchers concluded: “In three large international prospective studies including more than 177,000 individuals, 12,701 deaths, and 13,658 CVD events from 50 countries in six continents, we did not find significant associations between egg intake and blood lipids, mortality, or major CVD events.”
The PHRI study authors comment that contradictory evidence on the impact of eggs on diseases is largely based on studies conducted in high-income countries.