Dear Confused Client,
Let me begin by saying thank you for reaching out and seeking my advice on this topic. Please know you are not the only one confused, the latest study about eggs and their impact on heart health has left many people asking: “Are eggs good or bad for me?” I hope my response helps you understand how to apply the study findings to your own life.
On March 15, 2019, the journal JAMA released a study, Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality. This study found that eating three to four eggs per week was linked to a 6 percent increase in a person's risk of developing heart disease and an 8 percent increase in their risk of dying from any cause during the study period, compared with not eating eggs.
The initial shock that consumers (along with health and nutrition experts) felt is understandable. Since 2016, when the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released and the recommendation on limiting eggs because of cholesterol was dropped, we (as a society) have been on an egg-cellent egg cooking, egg consuming journey. (*Note, when I reference the term “we” I am referring to our general society and how “we” have perceived nutrition information or misinformation.)
However, before the 2016 report was released, there was a general consensus among consumers and many health experts that consuming too many eggs or other foods high in cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Nutrition and health experts recommended limiting egg consumption to 3 - 4 egg yolks a week.
With the surge in diet trends such as low carb, paleo and keto - along with the new “green light” to eat more eggs, we did what we do best - we assumed that if there is no limit on eggs, then more must be better! We stopped eating eggs in moderation and instead began to eat eggs for breakfast, at lunch and dinner. New food trends emerged serving fried eggs on salad, burger, pizzas and more. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans are now consuming 280 eggs per person per year, which is significantly more than consumed a decade ago.
I am sharing this to say I don’t believe eggs are bad or need to be avoided, as they do provide a variety of nutrients such as protein, essential amino acids, iron, and choline. However, this also doesn’t mean they should be consumed in unlimited quantities. There has been a lot of research published on this topic and the general consensus finds that low to moderate egg consumption (about 3 - 4 yolks per week) is not associated with an increase in heart attack or stroke.
At the end of the day, the full spectrum of your nutrition and lifestyle habits matter and will impact long-term health and disease. Eat more plant-based foods, limit animal products, eat more fiber-rich foods (from plant-based sources) reduce added sugars in the diet, if you drink alcohol, drink in moderation and participate in regular physical activity.
Please remember we can also set up an appointment to discuss in further detail and customize a nutrition plan to maximize your health.