High Egg Intake Increases Heart Disease & All-Cause Deaths Risks

  • Researchers conducted a large-scale study on more than 29,000 people to test the health-related effects of dietary cholesterol.
  • People who ate 3 to 4 eggs every week had a 6% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and 8% higher risk of death from any cause.
  • The type and amount of fat in the diet did not alter the interconnection between dietary cholesterol and heart disease and death risk.

Is consuming dietary cholesterol or eggs affects your heart? Well, scientists have been trying to find the exact answer for decades. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an American adult consumes an average of 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day and eats 4 eggs per week.

The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans removed a daily limit for dietary cholesterol (was previously set to less than 300 milligrams per day) and included weekly consumption of egg as part of a healthy diet.

Now, a new study conducted by Northwestern University shows that the current dietary guidelines for eggs and cholesterol need to be reevaluated. As per reports, people who ate more dietary cholesterol and eggs had higher chances of developing cardiovascular disease and dying from any cause.

How It’s Different From Previous Studies?

For a healthy diet, people need to intake lower amounts of cholesterol. Like processed meat, red meat and high-fat dairy products, eggs contain enormous amounts of dietary cholesterol.

The yolk of a large egg contains 186 milligrams of cholesterol. Consuming such high-cholesterol foods on a daily basis can actually raise the risk of heart disease and early death.

Reference: JAMA Network | doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1572 | Northwestern University

So far, the evidence of effects of eggs has remained quite confusing. Previous researches showed that eating eggs has nothing to with heart disease. However, those researches were based on a less diverse sample and shorter follow-up duration.

The new study, on the other hand, analyzed data of 29,615 ethnically and racially diverse adults in the United States from 6 prospective cohort reports for up to 31 years of follow up.

The research team discovered two majors things:

  1. Consumption of 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol every day was linked with a 17% higher risk of heart disease and 18% higher risk of deaths from any cause.
  2. Consumption of 3-4 eggs every week was linked with a 6% higher risk of heart disease and 8% higher risk of death from any cause.

High Egg Intake Increases Heart Disease

The quantity and type of fat in the diet did not alter the interconnection between dietary cholesterol and heart disease and death risk. On average, the research had 17.5 years of follow up, during which a total of 11,532 events were diagnosed (5,400 heart disease events and 6,132 all-cause deaths).

One of the major limitations of the study is it didn’t consider the long-term eating patterns of candidates, but researchers have a snapshot of what this pattern looked like.

Read: Google Develops AI That Predicts Heart Disease By Scanning Your Eyes

Should You Stop Eating Eggs?

There is absolutely no need to entirely banish eggs or other high-cholesterol-rich because they are a good source of crucial ingredients, including choline, iron and amino acids. However, you should reduce or change the way of consuming such foods, for example, you can eat egg white instead of whole eggs.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is an experienced science and technology journalist interested in machines, AI, and space exploration. He received M.tech degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out what his latest project is, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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