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Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Jul;80(1):58-63.

Egg consumption, serum cholesterol, and cause-specific and all-cause mortality: the National Integrated Project for Prospective Observation of Non-communicable Disease and Its Trends in the Aged, 1980 (NIPPON DATA80).

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Shiga University of Medical Science, Shiga, Japan.



Because egg yolk has a high cholesterol concentration, limited egg consumption is often suggested to help prevent ischemic heart disease (IHD).


We epidemiologically examined the validity of this recommendation.


We analyzed the relations of egg consumption to serum cholesterol and cause-specific and all-cause mortality by using the NIPPON DATA80 (National Integrated Project for Prospective Observation of Non-communicable Disease And its Trends in the Aged, 1980) database. At the baseline examination in 1980, a nutritional survey was performed by using the food-frequency method in Japanese subjects aged > or =30 y. We followed 5186 women and 4077 men for 14 y.


The subjects were categorized into 5 egg consumption groups on the basis of their responses to a questionnaire (> or =2/d, 1/d, 1/2 d, 1-2/wk, and seldom). There were 69, 1396, 1667, 1742, and 315 women in each of the 5 groups, respectively. Age-adjusted total cholesterol (5.21, 5.04, 4.95, 4.91, and 4.92 mmol/L in the 5 egg consumption categories, respectively) was related to egg consumption (P < 0.0001, analysis of covariance). In women, unadjusted IHD mortality and all-cause mortality differed significantly between the groups [IHD mortality: 1.1, 0.5, 0.4, 0.5, and 2.0 per 1000 person-years, respectively (P = 0.008, chi-square test); all-cause mortality: 14.8, 8.0, 7.5, 7.5, and 14.5 per 1000 person-years, respectively (P < 0.0001, chi-square test)]. In men, egg consumption was not related to age-adjusted total cholesterol. Cox analysis found that, in women, all-cause mortality in the 1-2-eggs/wk group was significantly lower than that in the 1-egg/d group, whereas no such relations were noted in men.


Limiting egg consumption may have some health benefits, at least in women in geographic areas where egg consumption makes a relatively large contribution to total dietary cholesterol intake.

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