Are eggs really so unhealthy?

Meta-analysis: Regular egg consumption does not endanger heart health

The colorful eggs can be enjoyed with a clear conscience. The consumption of up to one egg per day is considered harmless for the heart, only diabetics should be careful.

Fact: One egg provides two-thirds of the daily recommended cholesterol requirement. Because elevated cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, there has always been a warning against excessive consumption of eggs (more than two eggs per week). But is this warning really justified?

A meta-analysis on the dose-response relationship of regular egg consumption attempts to provide a bit of clarification in light of the constant debate surrounding this topic. Based on 17 prospective cohort studies after exclusion was performed, the risk of increased consumption of eggs for the development of coronary heart disease or. of suffering a stroke.



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A total of about half a million subjects were included in the meta-analysis. Participants had no cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the observation period. Over the period of observation, which ranged from eight to 20 years in the studies evaluated, 5847 cases of coronary heart disease and 7579 stroke events were documented. Scientists found no significant link between eating one egg a day and the incidence of stroke or coronary heart disease.

On the contrary, the daily egg even lowered the risk of hemorrhagic stroke. However, the subgroup analysis showed that diabetics should keep an eye on their egg consumption, as their risk of coronary heart disease increases by 50 percent when eating one egg per day.

Assessment: Are eggs really that unhealthy??

At first glance, the findings in this meta-analysis seem plausible. At least the included studies were comparable according to the effect estimates made by the scientists.

But what role diet, particularly other cholesterol intake, might have influenced the outcome is not apparent. Finally these results do not mean a free pass for an egg consumption in masses. In a balanced diet, however, healthy people are allowed to reach for an egg once in a while, because eggs are known to contain not only cholesterol, but also healthy ingredients such as protein and various vitamins.

But Caution: Unfortunately, this recommendation does not apply to chocolate eggs!


Rong Y, Chen L, Zhu T, Song Y, Yu M, Shan Z, Sands A, Hu FB, Liu L. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ 2013; 346: e8539 Abstract

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