Egg Consumption, Cardiovascular Disease and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors: The Interaction with Saturated Fatty Acids. Results from the ATTICA Cohort Study (2002-2012)

To examine the association of egg intake with 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other cardiometabolic risk factors in a sample of individuals of Mediterranean origin.

Methods: In 2001-2002, n = 1514 men and n = 1528 women (>18 years old) from the greater Athens area, Greece, were enrolled. Information on any egg intake, eaten as a whole, partly or in recipes was assessed via a validated semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Follow-up for CVD evaluation (2011-2012) was achieved in n = 2020 participants (n = 317 CVD cases).

Results: Ranking from lowest (<1 serving/week) to intermediate (1-4 servings/week) and high (4-7 servings/week) egg consumption tertiles, lower CVD incidence was observed (18%, 9% and 8%, respectively, p-for-trend = 0.004). Unadjusted analysis revealed that 1-3 eggs/week and 4-7 eggs/week were associated with a 60% and 75%, respectively, lower risk of developing CVD compared with the reference group (<1 egg/week). When adjusting for sociodemographic, lifestyle and clinical factors, significance was retained only for 1-3 eggs/week (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.53, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) = 0.28, 1.00). When total saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake was taken into account, this inverse association was non-significant. Multi-adjusted analysis revealed that in participants of low SFA intake, 1 serving/day increase in egg intake resulted in 45% lower risk of developing CVD. In the case of higher SFA consumption, only 1-3 eggs/week seemed to protect against CVD (HR = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.07, 0.86). In the case of intermediate cardiometabolic disorders, no significant trend was observed.

Conclusions: Overall dietary habits principally in terms of SFA intake may be detrimental to define the role of eggs in cardiac health.

Keywords: dietary cholesterol; heart disease; metabolic syndrome; nutrition; saturated fatty acids.

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