Eggs eaten daily, may reduce heart disease risk

May 24, 2018

Health specialists have constantly warned us that eating eggs elevates the levels of unhealthy cholesterol. But a recent study says otherwise – eating an egg every day may actually reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A team of researchers from China and the UK, who authored the study, claim that Chinese adults who ate an egg every day had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The research group, led by Professor Liming Li and Dr Canqing Yu from the School of Public Health at Peking University Health Science Centre, analysed data from more than 400,000 adults in China aged between 30 and 79 years old, over almost nine years. The participants chosen for this specific study had no prior experience of cancer, cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

Researchers concluded that “compared with non-consumers, daily egg consumption was associated with lower risk of CVD”. Risk of haemorrhagic stroke was 26 per cent lower among egg-eaters, the Chinese-British research team reported in the journal Heart.

And daily egg consumption was associated with an 18 per cent lower risk of death from CVD, and a 28 per cent lower risk for death from haemorrhagic stroke.

CVD, a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels, is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, including in China.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 17.7 million people die of CVDs each year, almost a third of all deaths worldwide. Eighty per cent of CVD deaths are caused by heart attacks and strokes. Smoking, not exercising enough, and eating an unhealthy diet high in salt and low in fresh fruit and vegetables, increase the risk.

Eggs are rich in dietary cholesterol, long linked to a higher CVD risk, but also contain crucial protein and vitamins.

In the study group, 13 per cent reported daily egg consumption, while 9 per cent said that they never or hardly ever ate them. By the end of the study period, almost 84,000 cases of CVD and 10,000 CVD deaths were recorded, and compared among the different egg-intake groups.

“The present study finds that there is an association between moderate level of egg consumption (up to one egg per day) and a lower cardiac event rate,” the authors concluded.

But specialists not involved in the study said that the results fail to prove that eating eggs actively lowers CVD risk. “An important limitation of this present study is that the people who consumed eggs regularly were much more affluent than those who avoided them,” University College of London nutrition specialist Tom Sanders said.

“Indeed, rates of stroke have been falling in Japan, Australia, North America and Europe for several decades for reasons that remain uncertain but may be related to increasing affluence,” he said via the Science Media Centre in London.

According to cardiology specialist Gavin Sandercock of the University of Essex, “to say that eating eggs is good (or bad) for you based on a study like this would be foolish as diet is much more complicated than picking on one foodstuff like eggs”.


Category: Education, Features

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