Eggs linked to increased cholesterol, risk of heart disease in new study

16 March, 2019, 15:43 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • Eggs linked to increased cholesterol, risk of heart disease in new study

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine say a large new study has found that adults who ate more eggs and cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and elsewhere pooled results from six previous studies, analyzing data on nearly 30,000 US adults who self-reported daily food intake.

They also found that eating three or four eggs a week was associated with a 6 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease incidents and 8 percent higher risk of death generally. On the one hand, the guidelines say that "cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption;" but on the other hand, the guidelines say that "individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern". A large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol.

"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. "People who consume less cholesterol have a lower risk of heart disease".

The study has limitations and contradicts recent research, but is likely to rekindle the long-standing debate about eggs. The study focused on eggs because they're among the most commonly eaten cholesterol-rich foods.

According to the study, the average adult consumes about 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and eats about three to four eggs every week. "Whether dietary cholesterol or egg consumption is associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality remains controversial". "Bad" cholesterol-often found in animal products such as eggs, meat, and dairy products-has been linked to coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure. Participants were asked about their dietary habits over the last month or year in an extensive questionnaire.

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In addition to the new findings on eggs, the latest study found a link between dietary cholesterol consumption and heart disease, strokes, and death from any cause. "But in general, any dietary study is fraught with difficulty because of the problem of patient recall".

Some people think '"I can eat as many eggs as I want'" but the results suggest moderation is a better approach, she said.

Some of the confusion around cholesterol in the diet stems from two seemingly contradictory statements that appear in the 2015 dietary guidelines.

But the Northwestern researchers said their study suggests those guidelines may have to be looked at yet again.

"A more appropriate recommendation would be eating egg whites instead of whole eggs or eating whole eggs in moderation, for the goal of reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and death", he said. As Americans have embraced low-carb diets, many have turned to eggs as a reliable protein source. 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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