Eggs are bad again? New study raises cholesterol questions

Eating as few as three eggs a week raises risk of heart disease, study suggests

Older studies suggesting that link led to nutrition guidelines nearly a decade ago that recommended consuming no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily; one egg contains about 186 milligrams. However, one bothering question continues to hunt us, and it is not which comes first "the egg or the chicken" but the disconcerting thought whether eggs are healthy for you.

The analysis also found that for each additional half an egg eaten per day, the likelihood of a cardiovascular event went up by 1.11% and the likelihood of death increased by 1.93%.

Researchers at Northwestern University analyzed 30,000 USA adults over three decades and found that eating just three to four eggs per week was tied to increased cholesterol and a 6 percent higher risk of heart disease.

"The fact that studies outside the US 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.

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.

Compared with previous studies, "this report is far more comprehensive, with enough data to make a strong statement that eggs and overall dietary cholesterol intake remain important in affecting the risk" of heart disease and death, Dr. Robert H. Eckel writes in an editorial published along with the study. For example, a chopped-up hard-boiled egg in your salad is probably fine, because the rest of the food is low in cholesterol.

When they analyzed the data, the researchers found an association between egg consumption as reported at the start of the study and participants' risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Participants were asked about their dietary habits over the last month or year in an extensive questionnaire.

The study will be published March 15 in JAMA.

Cho says she never stopped recommending her patients limit their dietary cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day or told patients they could eat as many eggs as they want.

The new findings could call for a reevaluation of these recommendations, the authors said. In fact, a government panel of nutrition experts said in 2015 that the effects of dietary cholesterol are overstated.

This study, done by researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, looked at a group of 29,615 adults from six ongoing studies in the US.

Moreover, Andersen said, the study is observational, which means it can only show there's an association between egg consumption and heart disease but it can't prove eggs are the culprit.

"The old advice still stands, eggs in moderation are absolutely fine as a useful source of protein". Instead, choose egg whites instead of whole eggs or eat whole eggs in moderation. Part of the researchers' goal is to remind people that eating large amount of egg has a harmful effect.

Wright praised the researchers for using a large sample of people, and taking into account unhealthy risk factors, such as saturated fat intake, when assessing the data.

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