What Happens When Adults with Heart Disease Eat Eggs


Two eggs a day for breakfast were neutral with respect to heart health risk factors in adults with coronary artery disease.

Researchers from the Yale University Prevention Research Center investigated the effects of eating eggs for breakfast for 6 weeks among 32 older adults with coronary artery disease (CAD).

Study participants were assigned at random to one of three breakfasts for 6 weeks and then switched to the other breakfasts in random order until they had consumed all three types of breakfasts. The assignments included: breakfast with two eggs, breakfast with yolk-free egg substitutes, and a high-carbohydrate control breakfast. The high-carbohydrate breakfast consisted of the choice of any bagel, waffles, pancakes, or cereal and skim milk.

This study is of particularly high quality given that that each participant received all of the breakfast assignments, which removes chances of there being subject differences between groups. Here is what they found.

  • Compared with high-carbohydrate breakfast, eating eggs with breakfast showed no effect on flow mediated dilation. Flow-mediated dilation is the change in brachial artery diameter and measures endothelial function. Endothelial dysfunction leads to coronary artery disease and worsens the condition.
  • Total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, blood pressure, body weight, and body mass index (BMI) were also unaffected by eggs with breakfast, alone or when compared with a high-carbohydrate breakfast.
  • Also, there were no significant differences between eggs and egg substitute with breakfast intake.

In summary, this study showed that coronary heart risk factors were unaffected by short-term intake of two eggs daily at breakfast for 6 weeks among adults with coronary heart disease who continued taking lipid lowering or blood pressure medicines.



Kristen Arnold    Kristen Arnold, RDN, LD, is a Master’s Student at the Ohio State University, Department of Human Sciences and runs a private practice in personalized nutrition counseling. Kristen was not financially compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Reference Citation: Katz, David L. et al. “Effects of egg ingestion on endothelial function in adults with coronary artery disease: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial” American Heart Journal 2015; 169(1): 162–169.

This study was supported in part by the Egg Nutrition Center.

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