An egg a day may be too much for some women

July 28, 2004 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Women's Health

An egg a day may be too much for some women

Women who eat eggs on a daily basis may have a higher overall risk of dying than other women their age, study findings from Japan suggest. Researchers found that women who consumed one or more eggs a day were more likely to die during the 14-year study than women who ate one or two eggs a week.

Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption may not raise a person's cholesterol levels or heart disease risk, and eggs are welcome in low-carb eating plans.

However, health experts still recommend limiting egg yolks, as one yolk contains about two-thirds of a healthy adult's suggested daily intake of cholesterol. The American Heart Association says healthy adults can have up to one egg per day, as long as they watch their intake of other cholesterol sources such as meat and dairy products.

The finding that one egg per day might raise women's death risk is at odds with some U.S. studies that have uncovered no such link. According to the Japanese research team, it's possible that the negative health effects of eggs are greater in a population such as the Japanese, who may get a relatively large portion of their dietary cholesterol from eggs.

The researchers studied data on nearly 9,300 men and women who in 1980 completed lifestyle surveys, which included questions on how frequently they ate various foods. Participants' blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other health indicators were measured at the start of the study, and deaths were tracked over the next 14 years.

The researchers found that women who ate an egg a day were 22% more likely to die of any cause compared with those who ate only a couple eggs per week - regardless of factors such as age, smoking habits and body weight. Those that ate two or more eggs a day showed a still higher death risk, but only small number of women fell into that category.

As for men, there was no connection between egg consumption and the risk of death from any cause. The reason is unclear, but the researchers speculate that women may simply have been more accurate than men in reporting their eating habits.

The researchers did not account for some lifestyle factors, such as exercise, that are known to affect death risk and could help explain the connection between an egg-heavy diet and mortality.

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