Eating eggs can raise risk of heart disease, research finds

A new US study is an important addition to the old debate about eggsMore

Research results from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that adults who eat more eggs and dietary cholesterol have a significantly higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause.

A new study threatens to once again reverse the conventional wisdom about eggs and their place in a healthy diet, finding that people who consume more of the beloved breakfast food had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. The study results were drawn after looking at data from 29,615 adults pooled from 6 prospective cohort studies in the United States, over a time period of 17.5 years.

An analysis found that consuming 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with 17 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 18 percent higher risk of death.

The findings suggest it may be time to re-evaluate the current USA dietary guidelines that no longer limit cholesterol or eggs, the researchers say.

"The fact that studies outside the USA appear to show favorable relationships with egg intake and cardiovascular risk may speak to the importance of what other foods are consumed with eggs as part of the overall diet pattern, as recent research has demonstrated the importance of separating eggs from other foods to understand their independent impact on health outcomes", Rubin said in a statement. "We found cholesterol, regardless of the source, was associated with an increased risk of heart disease". One Chinese study even found that having an egg a day might lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

After analyzing 30,000 Americans from six separate studies, researchers concluded that eating an extra half-egg a day increased the risk of cardiovascular disease (six per cent) and premature death (eight per cent) over the study period. In a study published Friday in the medical journal JAMA, he and his colleagues noted that a single large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol.

The latest US government nutrition guidelines, from 2015, removed the strict daily cholesterol limit.

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However, she told Newsweek, "Factoring dietary cholesterol together with egg consumption was somewhat "stacking the deck" statistically speaking", but added that the study was still "very well-designed". "In general, foods that are higher in dietary cholesterol, such as fatty meats and high-fat dairy products, are also higher in saturated fats".

Zhong, however, emphasized that the study was observational and couldn't prove dietary cholesterol or egg intake could cause cardiovascular disease or death.

However, though flawed, Cho says these studies are important for a better understanding of nutrition research.

It's been debated for years: Are eggs good or bad for you?

But more recent dietary guidelines have loosened the reins on dietary cholesterol. You're getting a lot of protein, though you can get that from egg whites, too.

"The present study finds that there is an association between moderate level of egg consumption (up to one egg/day) and a lower cardiac event rate", the research authors said in a statement. Eggs, a breakfast staple for many, can be included but other options should also be considered, "like whole grain toast with nut butter, fresh fruits, and yogurt", Hu said.

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