A Harvard study published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Dr. Luc Djousse has shown that consuming more than six eggs a week seems to raise the risk of dying from all causes and diabetics seem to face an even higher mortality risk. Diabetics might somehow convert dietary cholesterol more readily into blood cholesterol than people without diabetes.

They studied more than 21,000 men ranging 40-86 years for twenty years who had participated in a Physician’s Health Study and found that more eggs diabetic men consumed, the more they increased their risk for death.

In the study eating seven or more eggs a week among healthy study participants was linked to a 23 percent higher risk of death.  The mortality risk was much higher among those doctors with diabetes. Consuming seven or more eggs a week doubled their risk of death from all causes, compared with diabetic doctors who ate just one egg each week.

Advocators of eggs say that eggs are a source of minerals, folate, B vitamins, protein and monounsaturated fats — all of which have the potential to lower overall risk. Also the small adverse effect of an egg on “bad” cholesterol is counterbalanced by potential beneficial effects on “good” cholesterol, and by other nutrients including antioxidants, folate, and unsaturated fat. Good, or high-density, cholesterol protects blood vessels against plaque deposits. They also speculate that eating eggs instead of carbohydrate-rich foods may decrease harmful blood sugar and insulin responses.

American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association advise most people to avoid more than an egg or two a week. However one can consume the white of an egg on a daily basis as it is a good source of first class proteins.

About the author: Dr K K Aggarwal is Padmashri and Dr B C Roy National Awardee, President Heart Care Foundation of India, Dean Board of Medical Education Moolchand Medcity, Sr. Physician & Cardiologist, Chairman Ethics Committee Delhi Medical Council, Visiting professor Clinical Research DIPSAR, Past President Delhi Medical Association and Past Academic and Research Wing Heads IMA.