The #1 Danger of Eating Eggs Every Day, Say Health Experts
The health benefits associated with eating eggs are almost too many to name, which include bolstering your immune system, helping fuel your weight loss efforts, and even helping you think more clearly and effectively. They're a powerhouse source of vitamins, protein, and healthy fats, and though the yolks are high in cholesterol, studies have shown that the cholesterol you find in eggs doesn't necessarily have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels in the way that other foods can, such as saturated fats. In fact, many argue that the only reason eggs could ever be considered "unhealthy" is because we tend to fry them in butter and pair them with unhealthy foods, such as bacon, sausage, or mayonnaise. Fair point.
But according to the leading health experts at the Mayo Clinic, you can indeed overeat eggs—and there are risks to doing so. "Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week without increasing their risk of heart disease," writes Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic. "If you have diabetes, some research suggests that eating seven eggs a week increases heart disease risk." Lopez-Jimenez notes that competing research hasn't confirmed this, and more research ultimately needs to be done that establishes a link between your favorite breakfast food and diabetes and heart disease.
For what it's worth, there has since been some compelling evidence that links eggs and heightened diabetes risk, if you believe the findings of a massive new study conducted by researchers from the University of South Australia, Qatar University, and the China Medical University. The study, published in The British Journal of Nutrition, focused on nearly 30 years of data (1991 to 2019) for roughly 9,000 adults in China, where diabetes cases have steadily been on the rise. Ultimately, the researchers found that those who ate more than 50 grams per day—or the equivalent of eating one egg per day—"had an increased risk of diabetes by 60%." The study also found that the correlation between daily egg consumption and diabetes was more profound in women than in men.
These aren't the first studies that explore any potential adverse health effects of eating eggs. A massive analysis of multiple studies published last year in JAMA found that eating high levels of dietary cholesterol—and eggs, specifically—may raise the risk for heart disease and death. "Among [American] adults, higher consumption of dietary cholesterol or eggs was significantly associated with higher risk of incident [cardiovascular disease] and all-cause mortality in a dose-response manner," the researchers wrote. "These results should be considered in the development of dietary guidelines and updates."
That study drew on data of nearly 30,000 participants and caught many leading health experts by surprise. "This study takes into account the general quality of the diet and adjusts for it," Norrina B. Allen, MPH, Ph.D., the study's lead author, an associate professor of epidemiology at Northwestern University, explained to The New York Times. "We really were focused on the independent effects of eggs and dietary cholesterol. For example, healthier people tend to eat more eggs because they feel there's a lot of protein in them, but even for healthy people on healthy diets, the harmful effect of eggs and cholesterol was consistent."
As the Mayo Clinic's Lopez-Jimenez noted, more research may need to be done. But if you're committed to keeping your cholesterol levels down and lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes, consider eating fewer than seven eggs per week. And for a list of some common foods that are surprisingly bad for your heart, read on, because we've listed them right here. And for more health advice from the Mayo Clinic, don't miss The Ugly Side Effects of Drinking Coffee Every Day, According to the Mayo Clinic.
A 2020 study conducted by researchers from Cornell University and Northwestern Medicine found that eating processed meats just two servings of cold cuts per week could heighten your risk of heart disease by 3-7%.
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