Scientists from Harvard University and elsewhere found eating up to one egg a day is not linked to heart disease.
A large egg contains about 6 grams of protein.
Eggs also are a good source of other nutrients, including vitamin D (which aids bone health and the immune system) and choline (which helps metabolism and liver function, as well as fetal brain development).
Research has found that eggs are a low-energy, nutrient-dense source of food, being particularly rich in selenium and vitamin D.
Along with certain kinds of shellfish, eggs are also the main source of dietary cholesterol: a medium-sized egg of 58 g contains 200 mg of cholesterol.
Generally speaking, the cholesterol in eggs does not have a significant effect on blood cholesterol.
In the study, researchers aimed to examine the association between egg intake and heart disease risk among women and men in the United States.
They analyzed data from more than 170,000 women and more than 42,055 men who were free of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer before the study.
Over up to 32 years of follow-up, the team found that 14,806 participants had heart disease.
People with a higher egg intake had a higher body mass index (BMI), were less likely to be treated with statins, and consumed more red meats.
Body mass index is a value derived from the mass and height of a person. The BMI is defined as the body mass divided by the square of the body height. It is used to define overweight and obesity.
Statins are drugs that can lower your cholesterol. They work by blocking a substance your body needs to make cholesterol.
Lowering cholesterol isn’t the only benefit associated with statins. These medications have also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
In this study, most people consumed between one and less than five eggs per week.
The team also found that eating at least one egg per day was not linked to heart attack or stroke risk.
The researchers found that in the US and Europe participants, eating eggs was not linked to heart disease risk. But in Asian participants, eating eggs was linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Based on these results, the team concluded that moderate egg eating (up to one egg per day) is not linked to heart disease risk overall. In Asian people, eating eggs may be associated with lower heart disease risk.
One limitation of the study is that during the long follow-up period (30 years), the heart disease diagnosis methods have developed a lot, and this may affect the incidence of heart disease reported in the study.
Another limitation is that the study included health professionals and so the findings might not be generalizable to other populations.
The research is published in BMJ and was conducted by Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier et al.
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