Study finds no link between heart disease and eggs

Eating one egg per day is unlikely to have substantial impact on the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke among healthy men and women.
By John Russo Jr./

VICUS.COM (4 Aug. 2000) — A study conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., examined the link between egg consumption and the risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke and men and women; it found little cause for concern for people who consume one egg per day.

The researchers examined two prospective cohort studies, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-1994) and the Nurses’ health Study (1980-1994) with the main outcome measures of incident nonfatal myocardial infarction, fatal CHD and stroke corresponding to daily egg consumption. Egg consumption was determined based on responses to a questionnaire about food frequency.

A total of 37,851 men, aged 40 to 75 years, and 80,082 women, aged 34 to 59 years, who had no cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or cancer, participated in this study. The objective was to examine the association between egg consumption and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke in healthy men and women.

During the eight years of monitoring the men, there were 866 cases of CHD and 258 cases of stroke. During the 14 years of monitoring the women, there were 939 cases of CHD and 563 cases of stroke. However, after adjusting the findings for age, smoking and other potential CHD risk factors, there was no evidence of an association between eating eggs and the risk of CHD or stroke in either men or women.

Among men and women with diabetes, however, higher egg consumption (more than one egg per day compared with less than one egg per week) was associated with an increased risk of CHD.

The study, “A Prospective Study of Egg Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in Men and Women,” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1999, funded through grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health.


Eating up to one egg per day is unlikely to have substantial impact on the risk of CHD or stroke among healthy men and women. The apparent increased risk of CHD seen with higher egg consumption among diabetic participants warrants further research, the researchers wrote.

John Russo Jr. is senior vice president of medical communications at He is a pharmacist and medical writer with more than 20 years of experience in medical education.

This article was updated on 4 Aug. 2000.


Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999 Apr; 281(15):1387- 94.