How many chicken eggs should one eat for a healthy diet? The latest research based on a long-term and large-scale investigation in China recommends three to six eggs per week for adult Chinese.
The current Chinese dietary guidelines recommend weekly consumption of five to seven eggs for adults. But the guidelines were mainly based on studies conducted in the United States and Japan, where disease constitution and dietary patterns are quite different from those in China.
In order to explore the associations of egg consumption and risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among Chinese, researchers from China's National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases and several Chinese research institutes analyzed the data from the project of Prediction for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk in China.
The project includes 102,136 participants from 15 provinces across the country, and some research subjects were followed up to 17 years. When they enrolled, the subjects had no chronic diseases like CVD, tumors or kidney diseases.
Researchers reported in the online version of SCIENCE CHINA Life Sciences that they found U-shaped relationships between egg consumption and the risk of having CVD and death among adults.
People who have a moderate egg consumption of three to six eggs per week have the lowest risk of having CVD and death. Both low and high consumption of eggs are associated with increased risks.
People who eat less than one egg per week have 22 percent more risk for having CVD and 29 percent higher risk for death than people who eat three to six eggs.
People who eat more than 10 eggs per week have a 39 percent higher risk of having CVD and 13 percent more risk for death.
Meanwhile, the researchers also found that among Chinese, higher consumption of eggs was significantly associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke, in which the arteries of the heart cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart and the brain tissue can not get enough blood flow.
An elevated risk of hemorrhagic stroke which is caused by a rupture in a blood vessel was only found among participants with lower consumption of eggs.
The researchers said their study provides evidence to update the dietary guideline for Chinese and probably other populations with similar characteristics.
Chicken eggs are an affordable source of protein and other nutrients. Some studies have found a link between eating eggs and heart disease as they are also naturally high in cholesterol