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HomeDietSwopping eggs for nuts could cut CVD risk – German review

Swopping eggs for nuts could cut CVD risk – German review

Scientists say that what you eat for breakfast could reduce your risk of heart attack and strokes – if, for instance, you swop an egg for a handful of nuts, which their recent research suggested could reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by up to 17%.

Their investigation into “fashionable” plant-based foods, published in the journal BMC Medicine, found that eating one less egg a day and replacing it with nuts could lower the risk of heart disease by 17%, diabetes by 18% and an early death by 15% if replaced with 25g to 28g of nuts.

However, it did not conclude that eggs should be removed from your diet altogether, reports The Independent.

While some experts have long warned that eggs are bad for your heart, the matter has been up for debate as others say more evidence is needed.

Heart disease has long been one of the biggest killers in the UK, with the British Heart Foundation reporting that 460 people die daily, and 48 000 every year, from heart or circulatory disease.

The results shared by the German Centre for Diabetes Research show no benefit of swopping fish and seafood for plant-based options, and no evidence that replacing dairy can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

But replacing it with nuts is linked to a very small reduction in the risk of an early death.

People who replaced 50g of processed meat – the equivalent of a sausage – with an equivalent amount of legumes, lentils, chickpeas or beans were found to have a 23% lower risk of dying from or developing heart disease.

The risk was even lower, at 27%, if they ate 28g to 50g of nuts instead of the processed meat.

The study also found that replacing butter with olive oil could reduce the risk of heart disease

Dr Sabrina Schlesinger, a co-author of the review, said: “Many people start the day with an egg or fried food for breakfast, but the results of this analysis suggests it might be better to replace these with plant-based foods.

“There is also evidence that people could benefit from replacing poultry with plant-based foods, although there was little evidence for replacing dairy.”

Study details

Substitution of animal-based with plant-based foods on cardiometabolic health and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies

Manuela Neuenschwander, Julia Stadelmaier, Sabrina Schlesinger, Lukas Schwingshackl, et al.

Published in BMC Medicine on 16 November 2023


There is growing evidence that substituting animal-based with plant-based foods is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), and all-cause mortality. Our aim was to summarise and evaluate the evidence for the substitution of any animal-based foods with plant-based foods on cardiometabolic health and all-cause mortality in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

We systematically searched MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science to March 2023 for prospective studies investigating the substitution of animal-based with plant-based foods on CVD, T2D, and all-cause mortality. We calculated summary hazard ratios (SHRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) using random-effects meta-analyses. We assessed the certainty of evidence (CoE) using the GRADE approach.

In total, 37 publications based on 24 cohorts were included. There was moderate CoE for a lower risk of CVD when substituting processed meat with nuts [SHR (95% CI): 0.73 (0.59, 0.91), n = 8 cohorts], legumes [0.77 (0.68, 0.87), n = 8], and whole grains [0.64 (0.54, 0.75), n = 7], as well as eggs with nuts [0.83 (0.78, 0.89), n = 8] and butter with olive oil [0.96 (0.95, 0.98), n = 3]. Furthermore, we found moderate CoE for an inverse association with T2D incidence when substituting red meat with whole grains/cereals [0.90 (0.84, 0.96), n = 6] and red meat or processed meat with nuts [0.92 (0.90, 0.94), n = 6 or 0.78 (0.69, 0.88), n = 6], as well as for replacing poultry with whole grains [0.87 (0.83, 0.90), n = 2] and eggs with nuts or whole grains [0.82 (0.79, 0.86), n = 2 or 0.79 (0.76, 0.83), n = 2]. Moreover, replacing red meat for nuts [0.93 (0.91, 0.95), n = 9] and whole grains [0.96 (0.95, 0.98), n = 3], processed meat with nuts [0.79 (0.71, 0.88), n = 9] and legumes [0.91 (0.85, 0.98), n = 9], dairy with nuts [0.94 (0.91, 0.97), n = 3], and eggs with nuts [0.85 (0.82, 0.89), n = 8] and legumes [0.90 (0.89, 0.91), n = 7] was associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality.

Our findings indicate that a shift from animal-based (e.g., red and processed meat, eggs, dairy, poultry, butter) to plant-based (e.g., nuts, legumes, whole grains, olive oil) foods is beneficially associated with cardiometabolic health and all-cause mortality.


BMC Medicine article – Substitution of animal-based with plant-based foods on cardiometabolic health and all-cause mortality (Open access)


The Independent article – Scientists reveal what you should have for breakfast to reduce heart attack risk (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Meat, eggs, milk healthier than plant-based foods – UN agency review


Eating nuts twice a week link to 17% lower CVD risk


ACC review: Plant-based diet with little or no animal products is best


Dairy products may protect against type 2 diabetes – Italian meta-analysis


Daily handful of walnuts modestly lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol — 2-year US study







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