Eggs Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

New findings suggest that people who consume three or more eggs a week have a higher risk of heart disease and early death in comparison to those who eat fewer eggs. The study was published in JAMA. Victor Zhong is the lead study author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

According to Zhong, the yolk of the eggs is a major source of dietary cholesterol, and cholesterol-containing foods are usually rich in saturated fat and animal protein. The study shows that eating an additional 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day was linked with a 3.2% higher risk of heart disease and a 4.4% greater risk of early death.

Zhong and his team noted that one large egg contains over 180 milligrams of cholesterol. They inspected data from six US study groups including nearly 30,000 people, followed for more than 17 years. A major reason why this particular issue has never come up before is because egg consumption has never been considered “unhealthy” unless used in extreme quantities.

Zhong and his team wrote that a potential reason for inconsistent results in the past was the fact that other studies did not consider that egg consumption may be related to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking and an unhealthy diet. But this particular study included a complete assessment of these elements.

Dr. Robert H. Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine believes that this finding is very significant. Eckel wrote, “The connection of egg consumption and cardiovascular disease has been debated for a long time. However, in comparison with previous analysis, the new study is more comprehensive with detailed data to make a conclusive statement that an increase in consumption of eggs is a significant factor affecting the risk of heart disease and therefore the risk of death.”

Based on these findings, it is safe to conclude that people should limit their daily intake of cholesterol-rich foods. Another senior dietician with the British Heart Foundation Victoria Taylor also said the same and emphasized that these findings reveal an association between egg consumption and heart disease, which needs to be taken seriously. However, more research is needed to understand the reasons behind this link.

These findings do not suggest that people should give up eggs altogether. Eggs are an important source of nutrition. However, more research is needed regarding the optimum consumption of eggs and what levels can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.