3 Risks of Eating Eggs
Eggs contain fat and cholesterol that can harm your heart health and lead to various deceases such as diabetes, as well as prostate and colorectal cancers.
About 60% of all the calories fount in eggs are coming from fat, and most of it is a saturated fat. Moreover, an average egg contain about 200 milligrams of cholesterol. That’s more than twice as much as it can be found in a Big Mac. Fat and cholesterol are found to be a significant factor contributing to heart disease.
A 2021 study by Zhuang P, Wu F, Mao L, et al. found that the addition of half an egg per day was associated with more deaths from heart disease, cancer, and all causes. For every 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol consumed per day, mortality risk increased by up to 24%. A study by Zhong VW, Van Horn L, Cornelis MC, et al. published in JAMA found that that each 300 milligram dose of dietary cholesterol was associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and mortality by 17% and 18%, respectively. When it came to eggs, each half egg caused a 6% and 8% increased risk, respectively. A study by J David Spence, David J A Jenkins, Jean Davignon in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found that those who eat the most eggs have a 19% higher risk for cardiovascular problems.
Industry-funded research has downplayed the effects of egg consumption on cholesterol levels. A Physicians Committee review by Barnard ND, Long MB, Ferguson JM, Flores R, and Kahleova H. I published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine examined all research studies published from 1950 to March 2019 that evaluated the effect of eggs on blood cholesterol levels and examined funding sources and their influence on study findings. Research published prior to 1970 showed no industry influence on cholesterol research. The percentage of industry-funded studies increased over time, from 0% in the 1950s to 60% in 2010-2019. More than 85% of the research studies, regardless of funding sources, showed that eggs have unfavorable effects on blood cholesterol. But 49% of industry-funded publications reported conclusions that conflicted with actual study results, compared with 13% of non-industry-funded trials.
Consuming one or more eggs per day may increase the risk of diabetes by 60%, according to a study by Wang Y, Li M, and Shi Z. published in the British Journal of Nutrition. Researchers compared egg consumption with blood glucose levels in more than 8,000 participants from the China Health and Nutrition Survey. Those who habitually consumed the most eggs increased their risk for diabetes when compared to those who ate the fewest eggs.
These results support similar findings. A meta-analysis of 14 studies performed by Yuehua Li, Chenghui Zhou, Xianliang Zhou, and Lihuan Li published in the journal Atherosclerosis showed that those who consume the most eggs increase their risk for diabetes by 68%. Another review by Djoussé L, Khawaja OA, Gaziano JM. found similar results: a 39% higher risk of diabetes in people who eat three or more eggs per week.
Egg consumption also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, according to two studies in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Eating eggs has also been connected to developing certain types of cancer. For example, study by J M Iscovich found a link of egg consumption with higher risk of colon and rectal cancer. A study of Richman EL et al published in 2011 found also a link with a development of a prostate cancer.
There are several reasons to consider eliminating eggs from your diet. Recent studies link them to heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
Zhuang P, Wu F, Mao L, et al. Egg and cholesterol consumption and mortality from cardiovascular and different causes in the United States: A population-based cohort study. PLoS Med. 2021;18:e1003508-e1003531. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003508.
Zhong VW, Van Horn L, Cornelis MC, et al. Associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incident cardiovascular disease and mortality. JAMA. 2019;321:1081-1095.
J David Spence, David J A Jenkins, Jean Davignon. Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: not for patients at risk of vascular disease. PMID: 21076725 PMCID: PMC2989358 DOI: 10.1016/s0828-282x(10)70456-6
Barnard ND, Long MB, Ferguson JM, Flores R, Kahleova H. Industry funding and cholesterol research: A systematic review. Am J Lifestyle Med. Published online December 11, 2019.
Wang Y, Li M, Shi Z. Higher egg consumption associated with increased risk of diabetes in Chinese adults – China Health and Nutrition Survey. Br J Nutr. Published online October 8, 2020. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520003955.
Yuehua Li, Chenghui Zhou, Xianliang Zhou, Lihuan Li. Egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes: a meta-analysis
Djoussé L, Khawaja OA, Gaziano JM. Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. Published online January 6, 2016.
Qiu C, Frederick IO, Zhang C, Sorensen TK, Enquobahrie DA, Williams MA. Risk of gestational diabetes mellitus in relation to maternal egg and cholesterol intake. Am J Epidemiol. 2011;173:649-658.
J M Iscovich, K A L’Abbé, R Castelleto, A Calzona, A Bernedo, N A Chopita, A C Jmelnitzsky, J Kaldor. Colon cancer in Argentina. I: Risk from intake of dietary items. PMID: 1639534 DOI: 10.1002/ijc.2910510603
Richman EL, Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, Giovannucci EL, Chan JM. Egg, red meat, and poultry intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer in the prostate specific antigen-era: incidence and survival. Cancer Prev Res. Published ahead of print September 19, 2011; DOI:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0354.