Smashing The Exaggerated Health Benefits Of Eggs

A recent study shows that eggs may lower stroke risk - but what's the story behind the headline?
Eating eggs: not great for humans, worse for chickens

A new study from China suggests that some people who eat an egg a day may have a lower risk of stroke and heart disease than those not eating eggs. 

So, predictably, the UK newspapers are telling us that eggs are back on the menu. But, before scurrying off to the local café for a big fry-up, consider this - a large number of studies show that even moderate egg consumption can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. 

Take this news story with a pinch of salt - you are better off scrambling some healthy tofu for breakfast! 


The study found that those who ate up to one egg a day had a lower risk of stroke, heart disease and death from cardiovascular disease than those who never, or hardly ever, ate eggs. 

Compared with those who never or rarely consumed eggs, daily consumers were more likely to have a higher level of education and household income, to have a new affluence dietary pattern (including a larger fruit intake) and to take multivitamin supplements. They were also less likely to have high blood pressure.

It's not very clear from the study what the people who hardly ever ate eggs were eating instead but if it was lots of meat (eg pork) then it might stand to reason that eggs could be a slightly healthier option. Of course, tofu or beans would be best.

The health benefits of eggs have been exaggerated


Eggs have more cholesterol than practically any other food - far more than than a Big Mac. While the link between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in our arteries has been questioned, it is not a required part of the diet and many scientists still think it is problematic.

One medium-sized egg contains over 200 milligrams of cholesterol, over five grams of fat (over a third of which is saturated) most of the remaining unsaturated fat is the omega-6 type, linked to inflammation - so not health-promoting fats.

Eggs contain a substance called choline - they are by far the richest dietary source. Too much choline has been linked to ovarian and prostate cancer as well as heart disease.  

Many studies have linked eggs to heart disease and diabetes. They clearly show, the more eggs you eat, the higher your risk.

There is no need for eggs in the diet. You can replace eggs with a wide variety of plant-based foods and still make delicious cakes, pancakes, scrambled tofu, vegan omelette and even egg-free meringue. See Viva!'s Egg Replacer wallchart for ideas. 

You can find out more about eggs on Viva! Health's website - check out the charity's Cracked guide and Egg on Your Face fact sheet.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself. 

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Dr. Butler graduated from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology and a BSc First Class (hons) in Biochemistry from UWE before joining Viva! in 2005. She currently researches, writes and campaigns for Viva!Health.

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