Egg sector shuns new research renewing health risk

The NHS currently advises that eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet
The NHS currently advises that eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet

Egg industry leaders have responded to new research that seems to renew links between egg consumption and the risk of heart problems.

For many years organisations like the British Heart Foundation and other bodies involved in promoting a healthy heart recommended that consumers should restrict the number of eggs they ate.

It was believed that cholesterol in eggs could lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.

But recommended restrictions were largely abandoned following numerous scientific studies that showed that eggs could be safely eaten without restriction.

Eggs are now seen as a superfood, with some research even suggesting that eating an egg a day can reduce the risk of heart disease.

However, a recent piece of research has again brought to attention the alleged connection between eating eggs and heart issues.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, reported that egg consumption increased the risk of death from both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer.

The work was carried out by scientists at the University of Iowa in the United States and looked at just over 100,000 post-menopausal women.

The scientists said in their research paper: "For specific major proteins sources, processed red meat was associated with higher risk of all-cause and dementia mortality; poultry was associated with lower risk of dementia mortality; eggs were associated with higher risk of all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality and lower risk of dementia mortality; and unprocessed red meat and dairy products were associated with higher risk of CVD mortality.

"Substitution of red meat, eggs, dairy products, or legumes with nuts was associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality.”

The British Egg Industry Council (BEIC) has responded to the research, saying the study did not tell readers about the impact of eggs on health because 'it was not designed to do so'.

"The survey did not focus on egg consumption nor control for other important factors which can impact on health," the body said.

"The statistical associations discovered for eggs were very weak and cannot be translated into real-life risk."

The survey conflicts with several other studies which show no relationships between egg consumption and risk of illness or death.

For example, a study of more than 215,000 adults published last year in the British Medical Journal found that people who ate seven eggs a week were no more likely to develop coronary heart disease or stroke compared with people who did not eat eggs.

"Another study of more than 400,000 adults in nine European countries found that eggs were not linked with heart disease," BEIC explained.

“Public health bodies are clear that eating eggs in a healthy, balanced diet does not increase the risk to heart disease, stroke or cancer.

"Eggs are rich in protein and other nutrients essential for good health.”

The NHS currently advises that eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet and that there is no limit on how many eggs people should eat.

In 2015, the British Heart Foundation said that eating eggs should no longer be seen as a heath risk.