A recent study revealed that people who ate five or more eggs a week had improvements in some risk factors for cardiovascular disease; specifically, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels and decreased risk for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Despite this, dietitians caution that it is too soon to conclude eggs are beneficial for the heart. Eggs are a rich source of protein and contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and choline. Unfortunately, they are also high in cholesterol, which could increase the risk of heart disease. As such, most health professionals recommend eating eggs in moderation. The American Heart Association suggests no more than one egg a day with the yolk or two with just the whites as part of a heart-healthy diet. Researchers of the study, published in the journal Nutrients, acknowledge that findings regarding egg consumption remain controversial, with many studies presenting conflicting results.
It appears that eggs may be beneficial for cardiovascular health, as evidence suggests that eating five or more a week is linked with improved CVD risk factors. After four years, people who ate more eggs had lower systolic blood pressure and fasting blood sugar, as well as reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes or high fasting blood sugar and high blood pressure.
Eggs may influence certain cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The researchers in the Framingham Offspring Study investigated the impacts of egg consumption on health. This study took place over 24 years, starting in 1971, in which over 5,000 adult children of the original Framingham Heart Study cohort took part in regular examinations to identify the presence of CVD or any other health issues. The participants, aged between 30 and 64, completed questionnaires, underwent interviews, and had their blood pressure taken, among other tests. Furthermore, between 1983 and 1995, they were asked to keep three-day dietary records of their egg consumption, which was divided into three categories: <0.5 eggs, 0.5–<5 eggs, and ≥5 eggs per week.
The study authors concluded that moderate consumption of eggs (five or more weekly) had no adverse effects on blood sugar or blood pressure. They found that it might even lead to improved blood sugar levels and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The researchers noted that people who ate eggs had lower systolic blood pressure and a significantly reduced risk of developing high blood pressure. They stated that their findings suggest that egg intake should not be restricted to reduce the risk of high glucose levels or high blood pressure, but rather, moderate consumption of eggs as part of a healthy diet may be beneficial.
Our research findings could be distorted due to a potential conflict of interest.
Is it accurate to claim that eggs are beneficial for heart health? Registered dietitian Sharon Palmer of The Plant-Powered Dietitian notes there may be potential conflicts of interest in the study funded by the American Egg Board. The research only looked at two elements of heart disease: blood pressure and diabetes risk, with the conclusion that eating eggs does not have a negative impact. But Palmer questions whether eggs can affect other aspects of heart disease, such as LDL cholesterol.
The study did not take into account certain aspects of cardiovascular disease.
Amber Core, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, shared Palmer’s view that foods low in carbohydrates, such as eggs, would not cause large increases in blood sugar levels. Core also expressed concern that the study did not assess the impact of eggs on cholesterol and triglycerides. She further remarked that while the study suggested eggs may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and fasting glucose levels, this does not indicate protection against the development of heart disease, which is usually caused by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and genetic factors. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that high blood sugar is a risk factor for heart disease and that consuming eggs can be a part of a diet that seeks to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce this risk.