The role of egg consumption in the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease has come under scrutiny over many years. Since eggs are a major source of dietary cholesterol, with one large egg containing almost 210 mg of cholesterol, it has been recommended to limit egg consumption unless the intake of other foods high in cholesterol is restricted. However, eggs are also an inexpensive and low calorie source of many other nutrients, including minerals, proteins, and unsaturated fatty acids, which could lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Now, a study from researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that eggs are associated with a reduction in the risk of stroke, the 5th leading cause of death in the United States. The team state that their findings suggest that consumption of up to one egg per day had no association with coronary heart disease and was associated with a 12% reduction of stroke risk. The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Previous studies show that in populations following a carbohydrate restricted diet, dietary cholesterol from eggs could increase plasma concentrations of high density lipoprotein cholesterol, which has been suggested to protect against vascular disease. Therefore, some organizations have recommended that reducing egg intake might not be important for healthy people with normal levels of cholesterol in the blood. Several studies have examined the association between egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. However, the relation between egg consumption and risk of stroke still remains unclear. The current study conducts a meta-analysis of egg intake and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
The currents study performs a meta-analysis of studies between 1982 and 2015, which evaluate the relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease in a total of 276,000 subjects, as well as the relationship between egg intake and stroke in a total of 308,000 subjects. Results show that intake of up to 1 egg daily may be associated with reduced risk of total stroke. Data findings show no clear association between egg intake and increased or decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
The lab state that their research lends further support to changes in the recently released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which have eliminated dietary cholesterol limits, and now include regular consumption of eggs among lean protein choices. They go on to add that it also builds on a 2015 meta-analysis in which dietary cholesterol was shown to have no association with cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease and stroke.
The team surmise that their systematic review and meta-analysis underscores prior research, showing the lack of a relationship between eggs and heart disease and suggests a possible beneficial effect of eating eggs on the risk of stroke. For the future, the researchers state that eggs are a relatively low-cost and nutrient-dense whole food which provides a valuable source of protein, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, choline, vitamins, and minerals.
Source: Egg Nutrition Center Blog
Michelle is a health industry veteran who taught and worked in the field before training as a science journalist.
Featured by numerous prestigious brands and publishers, she specializes in clinical trial innovation--expertise she gained while working in multiple positions within the private sector, the NHS, and Oxford University.