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BACKGROUND AND AIMS - Eggs are a ubiquitous and important source of dietary cholesterol and nutrients, yet their relationship to coronary heart disease (CHD) remains unclear. While some data have suggested a positive association between egg consumption and CHD, especially among diabetic subjects, limited data exist on the influence of egg consumption on subclinical disease. Thus, we sought to examine whether egg consumption is associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries.
METHODS - In a cross-sectional design, we studied 1848 participants of the NHLBI Family Heart Study without known CHD. Egg consumption was assessed by a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire and coronary-artery calcium (CAC) was measured by cardiac CT. We defined prevalent CAC using an Agatston score of at least 100 and fitted generalized estimating equations to calculate prevalence odds ratios of CAC.
RESULTS - Mean age was 56.5 years and 41% were male. Median consumption of eggs was 1/week. There was no association between frequency of egg consumption and prevalent CAC. Odds ratios (95% CI) for CAC were 1.0 (reference), 0.95 (0.66-1.38), 0.94 (0.63-1.40), and 0.90 (0.57-1.42) for egg consumption of almost never, 1-3 times per month, once per week, and 2+ times per week, respectively (p for trend 0.66), adjusting for age, sex, BMI, smoking, alcohol, physical activity, income, field center, total calories, and bacon. Additional control for hypertension and diabetes mellitus, or restricting the analysis to subjects with diabetes mellitus or fasting glucose >126 mg/dL did not alter the findings.
CONCLUSIONS - These data do not provide evidence for an association between egg consumption and prevalent CAC in adult men and women.