Eating Eggs May Increase Risk of Heart Disease and Early Death, Study Finds
Though their production is responsible for an immense amount of suffering, eggs are often considered a lesser evil and are labeled a vegetarian food. Many people also believe that eating eggs is healthy, despite their high cholesterol content—186 milligrams per egg. Now, a new study in The Journal of the American Medical Association states that increased consumption of eggs and other high-cholesterol foods raises risks of heart disease and early death.
The study, which followed over 29,000 people for 17 years, found that consuming an additional 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with a 3.2 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 4.4 percent higher risk of early death. Each additional half an egg on average consumed per day was associated with a 1.1 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 1.9 percent higher risk of early death.
“Considering the negative consequences of egg consumption and dietary cholesterol in the setting of heart-healthy dietary patterns, the importance of limiting intake of cholesterol-rich foods should not be dismissed,” writes Dr. Robert Eckel in a JAMA editorial about the new study. “These results should be considered in the development of dietary guidelines and updates.” Indeed, guidelines could instead recommend a daily serving of a soy-based product like tofu, a cholesterol-free food that packs as much protein as an egg and is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
But reducing or eliminating your consumption of eggs does more than just improve your health; it is one of the best things you can do for animals. Chickens are among the most abused animals on the planet, and the suffering of hens used for eggs is particularly severe.
At hatcheries for egg-laying hens, chicks have their beaks seared off with a hot blade, an extremely painful procedure. And because male chicks will never lay eggs and don’t grow quickly enough to be raised profitably for meat, they’re killed within hours of hatching, often ground up alive in macerators. In short, eggs aren’t really a vegetarian food; countless chickens are killed in the process of producing them.
As several Mercy For Animals investigations have documented, many hens are left to suffer from serious injuries and infections without proper veterinary care. Often kept in extreme confinement, most hens endure lives in barren battery cages, each bird with floor space smaller than the surface of an iPad. In addition to severe mental and social deprivation, forcing a naturally active bird to spend her life cramped in a nearly stationary position causes numerous health problems, including lameness, bone brittleness, and muscle weakness. Many hens have broken bones at the time they are slaughtered, once they can no longer produce enough eggs.
Luckily, you can opt out of this cruel system. If you like the taste of eggs but want to stop eating them, many products on the market can help. Most notably, the new Just Egg (pictured above), sold nationwide, helps make scrambles and omelets with a distinctly eggy taste. Adding black salt to dishes also helps achieve that sulfuric taste. And recipes like these will help you create delicious tofu scrambles and other healthier alternatives to eggs.
Ready to try more plant-based foods? You can get delicious vegan recipes and easy meal ideas by ordering a FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today.