Egg lovers of the world rejoice. The next time someone starts giving you grief about your breakfast of choice, you’ve got some Harvard-backed research to back up your counter-argument.
Despite their undeniable deliciousness, eggs have been considered a less than optimal food choice when it comes to heart health for quite some time. A recent study conducted at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, however, has concluded that enjoying eggs in moderation shouldn’t put you at any higher risk of developing heart problems or cardiovascular disease.
Eating up to one egg per day carries absolutely no association with an increased chance of cardiovascular disease, according to their findings. Suddenly, all those people who told you to stick to oatmeal each morning have some egg on their face.
“Recent studies reignited the debate on this controversial topic, but our study provides compelling evidence supporting the lack of an appreciable association between moderate egg consumption and cardiovascular disease,” explains first author Jean-Philippe Drouin-Chartier, a visiting scientist in the Department of Nutrition, in a press release.
The subject of eggs’ influence on cardiovascular outcomes has been a hot topic in the medical world for decades. Just this past year, three separate research projects have been released with contradictory findings.
This new piece of research actually builds off of one of the first comprehensive studies on this topic; a 1999 study that concluded there was no link whatsoever between eggs and cardiovascular disease. That initiative was led by Frank Hu, Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard. Professor Hu was also a co-author of this new study.
So, this time around the research team analyzed health information on 173,563 women and 90,214 men who had been tracked for over three decades as part of a series of separate health research projects. At the beginning of the tracking period, all of the participants were free of any cardiovascular problems, type-2 diabetes, or cancer.
Over the following 32 years, each individual’s diet habits were surveyed periodically. Other, potentially influential, factors were also considered such as body mass index and red meat consumption specifically.
Just in case all that wasn’t enough, the study’s authors also conducted the largest known meta-analysis on this topic ever, which encompassed 28 prior studies including 1.7 million people.
If one aspect of this project is clear, it’s that the researchers certainly had enough data to work with. Ultimately, they found no association between moderate egg consumption and cardiovascular disease.
These results are definitely encouraging for egg advocates, but the keyword in all of this is moderation. All bets are off if you read this and start eating eggs each day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eggs are best suited as a portion of a healthy breakfast, not the entire meal.
“There is a range of other foods that can be included in a healthy breakfast, such as whole grain toasts, plain yogurt, and fruits.” concludes study co-author Shilpa Bhupathiraju, a research scientist in the Harvard Chan School Department of Nutrition.
The full study can be found here, published in The BMJ.