Higher cholesterol, egg consumption linked to heart disease

Healthy or not

"What we found in this study was that if you consumed two eggs per day, there was a 27 percent increased risk of developing heart disease", says researcher Norrina Allen, an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University.

It's worth mentioning that the new study is an observational study, meaning it doesn't prove that cholesterol caused the increased risk of heart disease that researchers have documented.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines say "eggs are an alternative to meat, a relatively affordable source of protein, and are versatile foods", without prescribing an upper or lower limit - implying you can have a nutritious diet without ever eating one.

The message is about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and especially yolks, and as a part of healthy diet, people need to reduce their daily intake of cholesterol.

The evidence for eggs has been mixed.

Just when you thought it was safe to eat eggs, a fresh nutrition study has scrambled the matter again.

But don't completely banish eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods from meals, Zhong said, because eggs and red meat are good sources of important nutrients such as essential amino acids, iron and choline.

The statistical methods used were robust, and the pooled data from six studies represents the ethnic diversity of the U.S. population and the diets of ordinary Americans.

Reacting to the report, Dr Anoop Mishra old Live Mint that many studies show that one egg per day will do no harm and in fact be good for Indians who take less than required protein.

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In other words, if your risk of heart disease in the next 31 years was five per cent (hypothetically), eating that much cholesterol would raise it to around eight per cent.

"We found cholesterol, regardless of the source, was associated with an increased risk of heart disease", she said.

The authors of the study, from Northwestern University, said there had been conflicting information from recent studies, and USA health guidelines recommend people eat eggs regularly. People who love to eat eggs, for instance, might also love eating unhealthier foods like bacon in general. They asked each participant a long list of what they'd eaten for the previous year or month. But since eating three to four eggs per week is typical for many Americans, according to the paper's dietary data, it's a risk worth considering. Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in association with Duke University, University of MA and University and Mississippi Medical Center studied the associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incident cardiovascular disease and mortality.

Dr. Bruce Lee of Johns Hopkins University said nutrition studies are often weak because they rely on people remembering what they ate. Researchers collected the data during a single visit.

A major limitation of the study was that its participants' long-term eating patterns weren't assessed. By the end of the follow-up period, the group had experienced 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 deaths from any cause.

The scientists looked at eating patterns.

The link between egg consumption and poorer health went away after accounting for a person's cholesterol intake, suggesting their high cholesterol content was the principle reason behind the increased risk.

Allen and her team don't think consumers should ban eggs from their diets, but they should take these findings into consideration and limit their intake moving forward.

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