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BEIC comment on PLOS Medicine article

10/02/2021

The British Egg Industry Council has commented on the paper: Egg and cholesterol consumption and mortality from cardiovascular and different causes in the United States: A population-based cohort, published in PLOS Medicine1.

The NHS currently advises that eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet and that there is no limit on how many eggs people should eat, a recommendation which is mirrored by all major UK heart and health advisory bodies. This observational study does not change current advice and, as such, it is inappropriate to over-interpret its findings.

The study itself highlights its own limitations, namely it is observational and reliant on participant self-reporting; the baseline reports of eggs consumed ‘per day, week, month or year’ were recorded from a ‘postal survey' which strongly limits the significance of that baseline data. 

In consideration of the paper’s conclusions, although extensive modelling was carried out, which included adjustment for dietary factors, it is highly likely that there is residual confounding. For instance, at baseline those in the highest egg consumption quartile had: higher BMI; were less physically active; were more likely to smoke; had high (blood) cholesterol level; higher red meat intake; lower intakes of fruit; and a lower healthy eating index score. 

The conclusions should be interpreted with caution and are not an adequate basis for public health advice.

For more expert reaction to the study, visit the Science Media Centre.

[1] https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1003508