While eggs provide a rich source of nutrients, their considerable cholesterol content has lead to the hypothesis that increased egg consumption could put individuals at risk for poor cardiovascular outcomes. This hypothesis has been controversial, with different guidelines taking diverging approaches to egg intake, and prior meta-analyses providing inconclusive results.
Now a recent systematic review and pooled analysis of 23 prospective studies including over 1.4 million individuals explores the overall association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease. It finds that higher egg consumption (defined here as one or more egg per day) was not associated with increased risk of our biggest killers, cardiovascular disease and stroke, and that higher egg consumption was actually associated with a reduced risk in coronary artery (cardiac) disease.
The objective of this systematic review and pooled analysis was to explore the association between egg consumption and overall cardiovascular disease events.
The researchers systematically searched numerous national databases, extending from 1966 through January 2020 for observational studies that reported the association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease events. Two investigators independently reviewed data.
The survey included 23 prospective studies with a median follow-up of 12.28 years. A total of 1,415,839 individuals with a total of 123,660 cases and 157,324 cardiovascular disease events were included. Compared with the consumption of no or 1 egg/day, higher egg consumption (more than 1 egg/day) was not associated with significantly increased risk of overall cardiovascular disease events. Higher egg consumption (more than 1 egg/day) was associated with a significantly decreased risk of coronary artery disease (pooled hazard ratios, compared with consumption of no or 1 egg/day.
This analysis suggested that higher consumption of eggs (more than 1 egg/day) was not associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but, surprisingly, was associated with a significant reduction in risk of coronary artery disease.
This appears to resolve a lengthy controversy, but is hardly likely to lead to a new proverb: “An Egg a Day (or more) will Keep the Doctor Away”!