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Heart Disease Health Center

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Too Many Eggs Risky?

Study Shows Higher Death Rate Among Men Who Eat 7 or More Eggs per Week; Egg Advocates Unconvinced

Egg Advocate Responds

Donald McNamara, PhD, is the executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center, which is backed by the American Egg Board and the United Egg Producers. He raises three key points about the study.

"First off is that we don't know what they died of," McNamara says. "We know it wasn't related to cardiovascular disease or strokes. But we don't have any information about what it really was related to."

"I can't imagine that eating more than 6 eggs a week is going to cause you to drive off a bridge or speed," McNamara says. "It doesn't have a rational biological mechanism at this point that I can really put my finger on."

Second, McNamara says the study doesn't include enough information on what else the men were eating. For instance, he notes that in a 1999 study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, eggs weren't related to men's heart disease risk after adjusting for bacon consumption.

Third, McNamara criticizes the researchers' analysis of other risk factors. He says that the study doesn't consider interaction between risk factors and contradicts previous research.

"I think one, it needs to be reproduced. Two, I'd like to know what they died of and three, I'd like to know what other things are in their diets that might be related to increased risk," McNamara concludes.

Nutritionist's View

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, is WebMD's director of nutrition.

"I'm a huge fan of eggs," says Zelman, who questions whether the study dug deeply enough into the men's diets and lifestyles.

As for the higher death rate among men who ate seven or more eggs per week, "to pin it on eggs would be short-sighted," Zelman says.

Her advice: If you want to have more than one egg on a given day, "have them less often or try adding more egg whites and fewer egg yolks." Anyone with a chronic condition such as diabetes "needs to be more careful about dietary choices and would benefit from a consultation with a registered dietitian," she says.

"By and large, eggs are super nutritious, good-for-you foods. You just need to make sure you don't overdo it," Zelman says.

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