Eating Too Many Eggs Could Bring Early Death

Eating seven or more eggs a week could increase a person’s risk of death, researchers reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Wednesday.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School noted that while eggs can be a good source of other nutrients, overconsumption could produce an early death. Their results add to the ongoing debate over how safe eggs are to eat.

“Whereas egg consumption of up to six eggs a week was not associated with the risk of all-cause mortality, consumption of (seven or more) eggs a week was associated with a 23 percent greater risk of death,” they wrote.

Overall, 21,327 men participated in the Physicians’ Health Study. Over 20 years, 1,550 of the men had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes, and more than 5,000 died.

Men without diabetes could eat up to six eggs a week with no added risk of death.

“However, among male physicians with diabetes, any egg consumption is associated with a greater risk of all-cause mortality, and there was suggestive evidence for a greater risk of MI (heart attack) and stroke.”

Eggs are known to be high in artery-clogging cholesterol, which increases risk of heart attack and stroke.

However, researchers added that egg consumption was not directly associated with heart attack or stroke.

“More egg on our faces? It’s really hard to say at this point, but it still seems, if you’re a middle-aged male physician and enjoy eggs more than once a day, that having some of the egg left on your face may be better than having it go down your gullet,” said Dr. Robert Eckel of the University of Colorado and a former president of the American Heart Association.

“But, remember: eggs are like all other foods — they are neither ‘good’ nor ‘bad,’ and they can be part of an overall heart-healthy diet,” Eckel wrote.

Men who ate seven or more eggs a week were 23 percent more likely to have died during the 20-year period, researchers said.

Diabetic men who ate any eggs at all were twice as likely to die in the 20 years.

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American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Harvard Medical School