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‘Egg’regious Health Hazard?

Eggs Study: Consuming Seven or More Eggs a Week Increases Mortality Risk

When it comes to the natural foods of the earth – the ones that haven’t been reformulated or processed – virtually no food is off limits, so long as they’re eaten in moderation. But could eggs be the ‘egg’ception?

 

Eggs are chock-full of quality protein for muscle building, have quality nutrients like folate and choline for pregnant women, and are rich in carotenoids like lutein, which promotes eye health. On the other hand, other studies suggest that eating eggs increases the likelihood of death!

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a study conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School followed over 21,300 middle-aged male physicians, all of whom agreed to have their lifestyle habits documented over a 20-year period.  Over the 20-year period of observation, approximately 5,000 of the men died.  And in the researchers’ analysis, middle-aged men who ate more than seven eggs a week were at a 23 percent higher risk of mortality than those men who ate six or fewer eggs per week.  A more startling finding was that there was an increased risk of death among physicians who had diabetes; they were twice as likely to have died in the 20-year period if they consumed eggs at all – whether it was one a week or seven a week.

Though over 1,500 men suffered a heart attack in the 20 years of observation, the researchers don’t believe egg consumption played a role in the prevalence of heart attacks among the men observed.  The researchers advise further study among the general population, as this study was relegated to physicians.

So, where does this study leave us?  Well, for one thing, it certainly adds to the conflicting bodies of evidence about eggs and whether or not they are, in fact, healthy.  As far as I’m concerned, even though these doctors’ research advises against eating more than seven eggs per week, it’s not enough to swear off eggs entirely.  Not enough for the former president of the American Heart Association, either.

“Eggs are like all other foods – they are neither good nor bad,” writes former AHA president Dr. Robert Eckel.  “[Eggs] can be part of an overall heart-healthy diet.”

I support the good doctor’s thoughts (though I would argue there are some foods worth calling “bad”).  After all, the study does not indicate a causal connection between death and egg consumption.  For instance, the men who consumed the most eggs were also heavier in weight, exercised infrequently, were more likely to smoke, more likely to drink alcohol and ate less cereal – a great food source for whole grains.

As usual, more research needs to be conducted, but at the very least, this study supports perhaps the wisest phrase in the American lexicon regarding what it takes to remain healthy:  Everything in moderation.  I repeat my original assertion:  virtually no natural food is off limits, so long as they’re consumed in moderation and are minimally processed.  And it doesn’t get more natural or more unprocessed than the good, old-fashioned egg.

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  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Found Beneficial for Heart Health, Researchers Conclude
  


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