Eggs are a major source of dietary cholesterol and their consumption has been sometimes discouraged. A relationship between egg consumption and the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been suggested to be present exclusively among patients with type2 diabetes.
To assess the association between egg consumption and CVD in a large Mediterranean cohort where approximately 50% of participants had type 2 diabetes.
We prospectively followed 7216 participants (55-80 years old) at high cardiovascular risk from the PREDIMED (PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea) study for a mean of 5.8 years. All participants were initially free of CVD. Yearly repeated measurements of dietary information with a validated 137-item food-frequency questionnaire were used to assess egg consumption and other dietary exposures. The endpoint was the rate of major cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke or death from cardiovascular causes).
A major cardiovascular event occurred in 342 participants. Baseline egg consumption was not significantly associated with cardiovascular events in the total population. Non-diabetic participants who ate on average >4 eggs/week had a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.96 (95% confidence interval, 0.33-2.76) in the fully adjusted multivariable model when compared with non-diabetic participants who reported the lowest egg consumption (<2 eggs/week). Among diabetic participants, the HR was 1.33 (0.72-2.46). There was no evidence of interaction by diabetic status. HRs per 500 eggs of cumulative consumption during follow-up were 0.94 (0.66-1.33) in non-diabetics and 1.18 (0.90-1.55) in diabetics.
Low to moderated egg consumption was not associated with an increased CVD risk in diabetic or non-diabetic individuals at high cardiovascular risk. This trial was registered at controlled-trials.com as ISRCTN35739639.