The People's Perspective on Medicine

Will You Harm Your Heart by Eating Eggs?

People have been warned that eating eggs will raise their chance of having a heart attack. But the evidence from Finland doesn't support that belief.

Eggs and other dietary sources of cholesterol have long been on the list of foods that should be shunned if you want to keep your heart healthy. But is that list changing?

Eating Eggs Won’t Hurt the Heart:

A new study has found that eating eggs does not appear to raise the risk of heart disease or atherosclerosis in carotid arteries. Researchers in Finland tracked healthy, middle-aged men for more than two decades.  At the start of the study the men filled out detailed dietary surveys to identify their eating behavior.

One third of the participants were at high risk for both heart disease and dementia. That’s because they carried the ApoE4 gene that predisposes people to both conditions.

What the Finns Found:

When the data from Kuopio, Finland, was analyzed, the scientists could find no relationship between cholesterol intake or eating eggs and the actual risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Perhaps it is time to lift restrictions on cholesterol-containing foods and recognize that the early prohibitions were based more on beliefs than data.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online, Feb. 10, 2016

Other studies have also found that eating eggs can be part of a heart-healthy diet (Nutrients, Sep. 3, 2015). High egg consumption doesn’t even raise blood cholesterol for people with type 2 diabetes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Apr., 2015).

Rate this article
4.6- 45 ratings
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. .
Cholesterol Control & Heart Health

Download the guide: Heart disease is still a top killer, and high cholesterol is an important risk factor. 8 pages on the pros and cons of statins as well as non-statin drugs for cholesterol.

Cholesterol Control & Heart Health
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 7 comments
Add your comment

The connection between eggs and heart disease is about other issues other than cholesterol. See the NY Times article “Eggs, Too, May Provoke Bacteria to Raise Heart Risk,” April 24, 2013.

From the article:
“For the second time in a matter of weeks, a group of researchers reported a link between the food people eat and bacteria in the intestines that can increase the risk of heart attacks.

Two weeks ago, the investigators reported that carnitine, a compound found in red meat, can increase heart disease risk because of the actions of intestinal bacteria. This time they reported that the same thing happens with lecithin, which is abundant in egg yolks.

The lecithin study, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, is part of a growing appreciation of the role the body’s bacteria play in health and disease. With heart disease, investigators have long focused on the role of diet and heart disease, but expanding the scrutiny to bacteria adds a new dimension.

In the case of eggs, the chain of events starts when the body digests lecithin, breaking it into its constituent parts, including the chemical choline. Intestinal bacteria metabolize choline and release a substance that the liver converts to a chemical known as TMAO, for trimethylamine N-oxide. High levels of TMAO in the blood are linked to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.”

good source of choline as well!

Sorry, but I can’t resist saying: Eating EGGS really won’t hurt you, at least not in moderation (~1 per day). But eating BACON can not only hurt you, but it will do a horrible number on the poor pig’s health! Also the health of the planet in the long run! Please don’t do it! Thank you, Cindy.

I have been eating 1 egg each morning for years. I am 69 years old…5′ 11″ tall and weight 155 pounds. My doctor says I am in better health than any other male that he sees.

Very useful information. Can you quantify your article by specifying the number of eggs per week that is recommended.

“How the Egg Board Designs Misleading Studies”:

I remember when the warning came out YEARS! ago…….
Then the revelation that the “TESTS” were sponsored by Cereal Producers…… AND they used powdered eggs (for convenience) to conduct the tests with……..It was later discovered that the process of powdering eggs significantly raised the cholesterol level of the end product. …This mornings breakfast was 3 fried eggs 4 slices of Apple wood smoked Bacon and Coffee…….Has been for years…… It pays to research the “research”…….

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^