The foods we eat every day affect our bodies in myriad ways, known and unknown to scientists. They can raise our risk of dangerous health conditions or help protect us from them.
Now, new research finds that eating too many eggs each day could be raising your risk of dying from cancer.
In the study, published May 27, 2022, in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, researchers from around the world looked at previous cohort studies (studies of a group of people over a long period of time) concerning how egg consumption and dietary cholesterol intake relates to people’s risk of dying from any cause, their risk of dying from heart disease, and their risk of dying from cancer.
Through a systematic review (a methodical look at existing literature on the subject) and a meta-analysis (a statistical analysis of the results of prior research) on 55 studies, with data from nearly 2.8 million people all told, they found that each extra egg eaten in a given day was linked with a 7% higher risk of death from any cause and a 13% higher risk of death from cancer. They found no association between egg consumption and death from heart disease.
For people who only eat eggs a couple of times a week, there was very little added danger, if any. Researchers found “little evidence for elevated risks” for those who ate less than half an egg per day on average.
Plus, while this study found a correlation, it doesn’t mean you need to completely rethink your breakfast routine. Julie Lanford, MPH, RDN, CSO, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of Cancer Dietitian, tells Eat This, Not That! that there are many different factors that influence a person’s cancer risk over the course of their life, and no single minor lifestyle modification is going to be the deciding factor.
“No one food will make or break someone’s diet or lifestyle. A person’s overall dietary pattern is more important than any individual foods,” she says. “My advice is to eat a variety of colorful plants, pay attention to hunger and fullness cues, and incorporate physical activity and other self-care activities into their week. I don’t think [you] need to spend time worrying about how many eggs [you] do or don’t eat.”
Plus, there are actually a lot of benefits associated with eating eggs. In fact, they can provide a boost to your immune system, your energy levels, and even your skin and hair. Plus, eggs can increase your HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind), and they contain a nutrient that’s great for memory and cognition, according to experts.