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Minor Impact of Potentially Deleterious Article on Egg Consumption

04/07/2019

An article suggesting that egg consumption may be deleterious to cardiovascular health, led to the American Egg Board commissioning a survey of consumers. YouGov conducted the survey with a nationally representative sample of 1,199 U.S. residents from March 20th to 21st. It was possible to compare results with an earlier survey in April 2018 prior to release of the article.

Approximately 27 percent of those surveyed were aware of the news and 82 percent recognized that the press releases related to nutrition and health. A total of 56 percent of respondents stated that the article had no impact on their perception of eggs. A minority of 27 percent believed that publicity following the article had a positive impact (if they actually read and absorbed journalists’ interpretations) and only 17 percent claimed a negative impact. It is believed that this cohort infrequently consumes eggs if at all.

The number of respondents that believe that eggs are safe to eat attained 82 percent of the sample, slightly higher from the April 2018 survey and 77 percent of the respondents are not limiting consumption of eggs because of presumed health effects. Approximately one quarter of consumers believe that eating eggs can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease with 31 percent disagreeing and 42 percent were neutral representing the bulk of responses.

Overwhelmingly respondents accept that eggs are a good source of protein and are otherwise nutritious and are easy to prepare.

The prompt response of the AEB and various authors pointing out technical defects in the meta- study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association diffused the issue and the stone cast into the pond by the article had little ripple effect. It is understandable that only 27 percent of those responding were aware of the publicity following the publication of the article. This is probably because concurrently there was concern over both political and international events that certainly dominated visual news media that along with the internet are now the major sources of information for consumers.

There was concern that the article would resurrect the cholesterol-myth. In the event, positive publicity again sponsored by the AEB from reputable university researchers and dietitians stressed the value of eggs in diets and diverted concern over consumption of eggs to the deleterious effects of sugar, salt and saturated fat.