Moderate egg consumption, up to one per day, cannot be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, at least in the populations analysed by a new study in The BMJ.
Eggs are a particular food: supplied with the highest quality protein and iron as well as unsaturated fatty acids, however, they have a relatively high cholesterol content. Precisely for this reason they are usually discouraged to those who suffer from cardiovascular diseases, although this has been widely debated in recent years due to conflicting studies.
Precisely in order to assess whether there is a link between egg intake and cardiovascular disease, the research team used three large US cohort studies for a total of more than 200,000 people who did not suffer from cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, at least at the beginning of the data collection. All subjects worked in the health field (e.g. nurses). The follow-up lasted 32 years.
The researchers analyzed the number of cases of cardiovascular disease occurring in these individuals, including coronary heart disease and stroke.
After various adjustments of factors, including age, lifestyle and dietary factors, the researchers found no association between increased egg intake and increased risk of cardiovascular disease for people who consumed up to one egg a day.
They found a higher risk of cardiovascular disease when replacing the egg per day with a portion of processed red meat (15% higher risk), unprocessed meat (10%) and whole milk (11%).
The intake of other foods, such as fish, poultry, legumes, cheese and nuts, could not be linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, it is a somewhat limited study. Although the number of subjects examined is relatively high and the follow-up period relatively long, the subjects were all health professionals, which can certainly be a factor influencing their diet.