General Medicine

Eggs Protect You from Stroke and Heart Disease

By Charles Li MD

January 18, 2019

  • A new massive study of nearly half a million people found that egg consumption is associated with protection from heart disease and stroke

  • The more often the patients ate eggs, the lower their odds of a heart attack.

  • Eating egg also led to a very steep drop in their risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Eggs and heart disease risk

Doctors and scientists has been debating for decades about the virtues of egg consumption.

You may have heard people say that too many eggs are bad for your health. For many years, doctors have asked their patients to limit their egg consumption because of the cholesterol content in eggs. However, new research has shown that consumption of cholesterol is not necessarily dangerous.

To this end, the Dietary Guidelines For Americans has removed their recommendation for cholesterol limits.

Consistent with our ever improving understanding of the human body, new research has shown that eggs are not as bad as we had thought. In fact, they're pretty darn good for you!

Eggs and Heart Disease

We hear a lot about cancer and terrorism on the news, but in fact heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the CDC, it kills 635,260 Americans every year, compared to 598,038 for cancer and 142,142 for stroke.

Fortunately, as shown above, eggs have a strong protective effect on your heart.

A study of half a million people found that the more eggs people ate, the lower the risk of heart disease. Patients who ate eggs every day had an approximately 11% lower risk of heart disease compared to patients who did not eat eggs.

Eggs and Heart Disease Mortality

Data on Eggs and heart disease mortality

This reduction in heart disease also led to a reduction in the risk of death from heart disease. Heart disease mortality is measured separately from heart disease because many patients who get heart disease don't pass away from it. In fact, it is possible to live a long life with heart disease with the right treatments and lifestyle changes.

In this study, the effect of eggs on heart disease was similarly mirrored in the number of deaths from heart disease.

Eggs and Stroke Risk

Data on Eggs and stroke risk

This effect was even more striking when it came to hemorrhagic stroke. If you've ever heard stories of sudden deaths from brain aneurysms, that's hemorraghic stroke.

This was one of several diseases studied by the researchers, and they unexpectedly found that egg consumption was associated with an especially high reduction of risk in hemorraghic stroke. Patients who ate eggs every day had a 26% lower risk of hemorraghic stroke than patient who didn't eat eggs.

Recommendations on Eggs

how many eggs should you eat

What is the takeaway from all this data?

If you're a healthy adult, without diabetes or heart disease, there is no reason to believe that eggs are bad for you. In fact, eating more eggs and fewer sugary foods is probably going to be pretty good for you. As with anything, don't overdo it and watch your calories. Unlike celery or lettuce, eggs are calorie dense.

If you have diabetes, it becomes a little more complicated. This study excluded individuals with diabetes and heart disease therefore this awesome data may not apply to you.

The data that does exist for diabetics is conflicting, one study showed that it's associated with worse health outcomes. A second study found that it does not increase your risk of heart disease or worsened health if you eat eggs as part of a balanced diet.

If you do have diabetes or heart disease and wish to eat eggs, be sure to do so as part of a balanced diet.

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