The case against eggs was cracked wide open.
A new Northwestern Medicine report found that adults who consumed more eggs and cholesterol were at a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.
The findings, which were released Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, suggested that the United States’ current dietary guideline recommendations for the two groups “may need to be re-evaluated.”
For adults, eating 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with 17 percent higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and 18 percent higher risk of all-cause deaths. The study also reported that eating three to four eggs per week was associated with 6 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 8 percent higher risk of any cause of death.
The milligrams of cholesterol and number of eggs listed in the study were the average amount an adult in the U.S. consumes per day.
“The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks,” co-corresponding study author Norrina Allen said in a statement. “As part of a healthy diet, people need to consume lower amounts of cholesterol. People who consume less cholesterol have a lower risk of heart disease.”
While the authors did not recommend cutting out eggs altogether, they did suggest limiting one’s intake of cholesterol-rich foods.
Previous studies found that eggs did not raise the risk of cardiovascular disease, but Allen said those studies generally had a less diverse sample, shorter follow-up time and limited ability to adjust for other parts of the diet.
The new study looked at data from 29,615 adults from six prospective cohort studies for up to 31 years.
During that time, there were 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 all-cause deaths. The authors noted that a major limitation of the study was the participants’ long-term eating patterns weren’t assessed.
“We have one snapshot of what their eating pattern looked like,” Allen said. “But we think they represent an estimate of a person’s dietary intake. Still, people may have changed their diet, and we can’t account for that.”
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