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Should You Restrict the Number of Eggs You Eat?

If you have been told to restrict the number of eggs you eat, you may want to check again. A large study shows it is safe to consume an egg a day.
Should You Restrict the Number of Eggs You Eat?
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For decades, public health authorities have been warning Americans to restrict the number of eggs they eat. Egg yolks are rich in cholesterol, and high cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease. The warning to avoid eggs seemed logical, but when scientists started to study people eating eggs, the risk didn’t hold up.

Does It Make Sense to Restrict the Number of Eggs You Eat?

The biggest study yet does not show that it is dangerous to eat eggs (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Jan. 21, 2020). Canadian scientists analyzed data from 177,000 people in 50 countries around the globe.

People who consumed eggs were no more likely to have heart attacks or die from some other cause than those who did not eat eggs. The investigators had five to ten years of followup data on the participants, who reported eating up to an egg a day. Those who ate more eggs did not have higher cholesterol, but they did have lower blood pressure.

The Benefits of Eggs:

The researchers point out that eggs are rich in nutrients and not expensive. People in most parts of the world have access to eggs, which provide high-quality protein as well as nutrients such as choline, which is critical for brain development. Consequently, the fact that moderate egg consumption does not raise the risk of heart problems is good news.

It isn’t completely new news, however. A large Finnish study last year also suggested that people need not restrict the number of eggs they eat. In the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, men who ate up to an egg a day had no higher risk of heart attacks than those who avoided eggs. 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Citations
  • Dehghan M et al, "Association of egg intake with blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in 177,000 people in 50 countries." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online Jan. 21, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqz348
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