Does eating an egg a day delay death?

Henrietta Strickland
May 26, 2018

Eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

But experts not involved in the study, said the results fail to prove that eating eggs actively lowers CVD risk.

During that time, 83,977 people developed heart disease or had a heart attack or stroke, and 9,985 died from these conditions.

Some more recent research, however, suggests that eggs might block the liver from making low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the bad kind of cholesterol that can build up in blood vessels and lead to clots and heart attacks, and boost production of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good kind needed for healthy blood flow. Additionally, this study was observational, meaning that it does not provide sufficient evidence to say the eggs caused the lower heart disease risk.

To begin, they used information from an ongoing study of half a million adults living in 10 regions of China.

Professor Nita Forouhi, of the Medical Research Council epidemiology unit at the University of Cambridge, said: "The take home message of this research from a large study from China is that at the very least up to one egg a day is not linked with raised cardiovascular risk, and at best up to one egg a day may even have health benefits".

Daily egg eaters had an 18% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, which manifests as heart attacks and strokes, compared with adults who avoided eggs, according to the research published Monday in the journal Heart.

"The study was also carried out on a middle-aged Chinese population so the results may not be directly applicable to a United Kingdom population".

Tony Hancock with Patricia Hayes advertising the benefits of eggs
Image Tony Hancock with Patricia Hayes advertising the benefits of eggs

For the new study, the researchers focused on 416,213 participants who were free of prior cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

When the egg industry wanted to rerun the adverts a decade ago, watchdogs refused on the grounds it did not promote good health.

In addition, there was a 12% reduction in risk of ischaemic heart disease observed for people consuming eggs daily (estimated amount 5.32 eggs/week), when compared with the "never/rarely" consumption category (2.03 eggs/week).

'People who eat eggs can be reassured that they do not seem to pose a risk to their heart, ' he said. "We should [also] be cautious when interpreting our results in a context of different dietary and lifestyle characteristics from China".

Her own systematic review of studies showed that when participants are provided with between six and 12 eggs a week, no change occurs in major cardiovascular risk factors, including higher rates of blood sugar, inflammation and cholesterol.

Some studies have suggested that consuming eggs increases the risk of diabetes, she said. When they joined the study, none had a history of heart disease. Cardiovascular disease causes almost a third - 31% - of all global deaths each year.

"The researchers accounted for many dietary and other behaviours in their analyses, but it is important to emphasise that eggs are not eaten in isolation, and overall healthy or unhealthy dietary patterns will always matter".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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