Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Eggs: good or bad?

  • Bruce A. Griffin (a1)
Abstract

Eggs have one of the lowest energy to nutrient density ratios of any food, and contain a quality of protein that is superior to beef steak and similar to dairy. From a nutritional perspective, this must qualify eggs as ‘good’. The greater burden of proof has been to establish that eggs are not ‘bad’, by increasing awareness of the difference between dietary and blood cholesterol, and accumulating sufficient evidence to exonerate eggs from their associations with CVD and diabetes. After 60 years of research, a general consensus has now been reached that dietary cholesterol, chiefly from eggs, exerts a relatively small effect on serum LDL-cholesterol and CVD risk, in comparison with other diet and lifestyle factors. While dietary guidelines have been revised worldwide to reflect this view, associations between egg intake and the incidence of diabetes, and increased CVD risk in diabetes, prevail. These associations may be explained, in part, by residual confounding produced by other dietary components. The strength of evidence that links egg intake to increased CVD risk in diabetes is also complicated by variation in the response of serum LDL-cholesterol to eggs and dietary cholesterol in types 1 and 2 diabetes. On balance, the answer to the question as to whether eggs are ‘bad’, is probably ‘no’, but we do need to gain a better understanding of the effects of dietary cholesterol and its association with CVD risk in diabetes.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Eggs: good or bad?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Eggs: good or bad?
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Eggs: good or bad?
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
Corresponding author: B. A. Griffin, email b.griffin@surrey.ac.uk
References
Hide All
1. Benelam, B, Roe, M, Pinchen, H et al. (2012) New data on the composition of UK hens’ eggs. Br Nutr Found Nutr Bull 37, 344349.
2. Qureshi, AI, Suri, FK, Ahmed, S et al. (2007) Regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Med Sci Monit 13, CR1CR8.
3. Barraj, L, Tran, N & Mink, P (2009) A comparison of egg consumption with other modifiable coronary heart disease lifestyle risk factors: a relative risk apportionment study. Risk Anal 29, 401415.
4. Scrafford, CG, Tran, NL, Barraj, LM et al. (2011) Egg consumption and CHD and stroke mortality: a prospective study of US adults. Public Health Nutr 14, 261270.
5. Hu, FB, Stampfer, MJ, Rimm, EB et al. (1999) A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA 281, 13871394.
6. Kritchevsky, SB & Kritchevsky, D (2000) Egg consumption and coronary heart disease: an epidemiologic overview. J Am Coll Nutr 19, S549S555.
7. Shin, JY, Xun, P, Nakamura, Y et al. (2013) Egg consumption in relation to risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 98, 146159.
8. Rong, Y, Chen, L, Zhu, T et al. (2013) Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Br Med J 346, e8539.
9. Gray, J & Griffin, BA (2009) Eggs and dietary cholesterol – dispelling the myth. Br Nutr Found Nutr Bull 34, 6670.
10. Millen, BE, Wolongevicz, DM, de Jesus, JM et al. (2014) 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: practice opportunities for registered dietitian nutritionists. J Acad Nutr Diet 114, 17231729.
11. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2015) Advisory Report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture. Department of Health and Human Services & US Department of Agriculture.
12. Tanasescu, M, Cho, E, Manson, JE et al. (2004) Dietary fat and cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease among women with type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 79, 9991005.
13. Shi, Z, Yuan, B, Zhang, C et al. (2011) Egg consumption and the risk of diabetes in adults, Jiangsu, China. Nutrition 27, 194198.
14. Radzeviciene, L & Ostrauskas, R (2012) Egg consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a case-control study. Pub Health Nutr 15, 14371441.
15. Li, Y, Zhou, C, Zhou, X et al. (2013) Egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes: a meta-analysis. Atherosclerosis 229, 524530.
16. Djoussé, L, Khawaja, OA & Gaziano, JM (2016) Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr 102, 474480.
17. Zazpe, I, Beunza, JJ, Bes-Rastrollo, M et al. (2013) SUN project investigators. Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in a Mediterranean cohort; the sun project. Nutr Hosp 28, 105111.
18. Kurotani, K, Nanri, A, Goto, A et al. (2014) Cholesterol and egg intakes and the risk of type 2 diabetes: the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study. Br J Nutr 112, 16361643.
19. Virtanen, JK, Mursu, J, Tuomainen, TP et al. (2015) Egg consumption and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr 101, 10881096.
20. Djoussé, L, Petrone, AB, Hickson, DA et al. (2015) Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes among African Americans: the Jackson Heart Study. Clin Nutr S0261S5614.
21. Schaafsma, G (2000) The protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score. J Nutr 130, 1865S1867S.
22. Van der Wal, JS, Marth, JM, Khosla, P et al. (2005) Short term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects. J Am Coll Nutr 24, 510515.
23. Fallaize, R, Wilson, L, Gray, J et al. (2012) Variation in the effects of three different breakfast meals on subjective satiety and subsequent intake of energy at lunch and evening meal. Eur J Nutr 52, 13531359.
24. Van der Wal, JS, Gupta, A, Khosla, P et al. (2008) Egg breakfast enhances weight loss. Int J Obes 32, 15451551.
25. Food Standards Agency (2002) McCance and Widdowson's The Composition of Foods, 6th Summary ed. Cambridge: Royal Society.
26. Isherwood, C, Wong, M, Jones, WS et al. (2010) Lack of effect of cold water prawns on plasma cholesterol and lipoproteins in normo-lipidaemic men. Cell Mol Biol 56, 5258.
27. Keys, A (1952) Nutrition for the later years of life. Public Health Rep 67, 484–448.
28. Clarke, R, Frost, C, Collins, R et al. (1997) Dietary lipids and blood cholesterol: quantitative meta-analysis of metabolic ward studies. Br Med J 314, 112117.
29. Gofman, JW & Lindgren, F (1950) The role of lipids and lipoproteins in atherosclerosis. Science 111, 166171.
30. Griffin, BA & Cunnane, SC (2009) Nutrition and metabolism of lipids. In Introduction to Human Nutrition, 2nd ed., pp. 86121 [Gibney, MJ, Lanham-New, S, Cassidy, A and Vorster, HH]. UK: Wiley–Blackwell.
31. Hjerpsted, J, Leedo, E & Tholstrup, T (2011) Cheese intake in large amounts lowers LDL-cholesterol concentrations compared with butter intake of equal fat content. Am J Clin Nutr 94, 14791484.
32. Soerensen, KV, Thorning, TK, Astrup, A et al. (2014) Effect of dairy calcium from cheese and milk on fecal fat excretion, blood lipids, and appetite in young men. Am J Clin Nutr 99, 984991.
33. Edington, J, Geekie, M, Carter, R et al. (1987) Effects of dietary cholesterol on plasma cholesterol concentration in subjects following a reduced fat diet, high fibre diet. Br Med J 294, 333336.
34. Hopkins, PN (1992) Effects of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol: a meta-analysis and review. Am J Clin Nutr 55, 10601070.
35. Ginsberg, HN, Karmally, W, Siddiqui, M et al. (1994) A dose–response study of the effects of dietary cholesterol on fasting and postprandiallipid and lipoprotein metabolism in healthy young men. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 14, 576586.
36. Ginsberg, HN, Karmally, W, Siddiqui, M et al. (1995) Increases in dietary cholesterol are associated with modest increases in both LDL and HDL cholesterol in healthy young women. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 15, 169178.
37. Knopp, RH, Retzlaff, BM, Walden, CE et al. (1997) A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of the effects of two eggs per day in moderately hypercholesterolemic and combined hyperlipidemic subjects taught the NCEP step I diet. J Am Coll Nutr 16, 551561.
38. Griffin, JD & Lichtenstein, AH (2013) Dietary cholesterol and plasma lipoprotein profiles: randomized-controlled trials. Curr Nutr Rep 2, 274282.
39. American Diabetes Association (2011) Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diab Care 34, S62S69.
40. Tran, NL, Barraj, LM, Heilman, JM et al. (2014) Egg consumption and cardiovascular disease among diabetic individuals: a systematic review of the literature. Diab Metab Syndr Obes 7, 121137.
41. Nicklas, TA, O'Neil, CE & Fulgoni, VL (2015) Differing statistical approaches affect the relation between egg consumption, adiposity and cardiovascular risk factors in adults. J Nutr 145, 170S176S.
42. Romano, G, Tilly-Kiesi, MK, Patti, L et al. (1998) Effects of dietary cholesterol on plasma lipoproteins and their subclasses in IDDM patients. Diabetologia 4, 193200.
43. Pearce, KL, Clifton, PM & Noakes, M (2011) Egg consumption as part of an energy-restricted high-protein diet improves blood lipid and blood glucose profiles in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Br J Nutr 105, 584592.
44. Fuller, NR, Caterson, ID, Sainsbury, A et al. (2015) The effect of a high egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the diabetes and egg (DIABEGG) Study – a 3-mo randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 101, 705713.
45. Andersen, CJ, Blesso, CN, Lee, J et al. (2013) Egg consumption modulates HDL lipid composition and increases the cholesterol-accepting capacity of serum in metabolic syndrome. Lipids 48, 557567.
46. Mutungi, G, Waters, D, Ratliff, J et al. (2010) Eggs distinctly modulate plasma carotenoid and lipoprotein subclasses in adult men following a carbohydrate-restricted diet. J Nutr Biochem 21, 261267.
47. Blesso, CN, Andersen, CJ, Barona, J et al. (2013) Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism 62, 400410.
48. Eckel, RH (2015) Eggs and beyond: is dietary cholesterol no longer important? Am J Clin Nutr 102, 235236.
49. Berger, S, Raman, G, Vishwanathan, R et al. (2015) Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 102, 276294.
50. Lally, S, Tan, CY, Owens, D et al. (2006) Messenger RNA levels of genes involved in dysregulation of postprandial lipoproteins in type 2 diabetes: the role of Niemann-Pick C1-like 1, ATP-binding cassette, transporters G5 and G8, and of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein. Diabetologia 49, 10081016.
51. Gylling, H & Miettinen, TA (1997) Cholesterol absorption, synthesis, and LDL metabolism in NIDDM. Diab Care 20, 9095.
52. Ostlund, RE, Bosner, MS & Stenson, WF (1999) Cholesterol absorption efficiency declines at moderate dietary doses in normal human subjects. J Lipid Res 40, 14531458.
53. Sehayek, EC, Heinemann, NT, McGee, M et al. (1998) U-shape relationship between change in dietary cholesterol absorption and plasma lipoprotein responsiveness and evidence for extreme inter-individual variation in dietary cholesterol absorption in humans. J Lipid Res 39, 24152422.
54. Telford, DE, Sutherland, BG, Edwards, JY et al. (2007) The molecular mechanisms underlying the reduction of LDL apoB-100 by ezetimibe plus simvastatin. J Lipid Res 48, 699708.
55. Gylling, H, Hallikainen, M, Pihlajamäki, J et al. (2010) Insulin sensitivity regulates cholesterol metabolism to a greater extent than obesity: lessons from the METSIM Study. J Lipid Res 51, 24222427.
56. Knopp, RH, Retzlaff, B, Fish, B et al. (2003) Effects of insulin resistance and obesity on lipoproteins and sensitivity to egg feeding. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 23, 14371443.
57. Horton, F, Wright, J, Smith, L et al. (2014) Increased intestinal permeability to oral chromium (51 Cr)-EDTA in human Type 2 diabetes. Diab Med 31, 559563.
58. Werth, B, Meyer-Wyss, B, Spinas, GA et al. (1992) Non-invasive assessment of gastrointestinal motility disorders in diabetic patients with and without cardiovascular signs of autonomic neuropathy. Gut 33, 11991203.
59. Wegener, M, Börsch, G, Schaffstein, J et al. (1990) Gastrointestinal transit disorders in patients with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus. Dig Dis 8, 2336.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score