Last month, a study reported that consuming as few as three eggs a week could increase a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death. But an April 22, 2019 New York Times article suggests that people consider the study in context before giving eggs up.
Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study, said that the new study contradicts previous research, most of which suggests that moderate egg consumption is not associated with a significant increase in cardiovascular risk. He said that eating three or four eggs a week doesn’t appear to have a major effect on blood cholesterol for people who don’t already have high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes.
One reason for the study’s contradictory findings may be its design, Hu said. Because it only looked at egg consumption—and not on the overall diets of participants—it’s hard to know if eggs are truly the culprit behind the apparent increase in disease risk. Hu said that the foods people ate with their eggs, or instead of eggs, makes a difference. If those who ate fewer eggs were instead eating low-fat yogurt with fruit, nuts, or whole grains, they would likely demonstrate good health, Hu said. And people who eat more eggs may also be loading up on foods like sausage, bacon, and buttered white toast, which could negatively affect their health.
Contradictory findings are a normal part of the scientific process, Hu said, noting, “In forming guidelines, you have to look at the totality of evidence rather than overreact to a single new study.”