New questions rise about health risks as eggs make a comeback

Fried Eggs

New questions rise about health risks as eggs make a comeback

One study from past year found that people who ate an egg per day had lower rates of heart disease and bleeding stroke than people who did not eat them, and research from 2016 found that eggs didn't have a strong effect on risk of coronary artery disease.

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 of University of Colorado School of Medicine writes in an editorial published along with the study. According to the researchers, people should keep dietary cholesterol intake low by reducing cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs and red meat in their diet.

Co-corresponding study author Norrina B. Allen Ph.D., an associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern, says that the "take-home message" of the study "is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks".

The bottom line is that many experts say there's no justification to drop eggs from your diet, so you don't need to drop everything immediately.

The evidence for eggs has been mixed.

The authors behind this new paper, published in JAMA, acknowledge the long-standing debate around eggs' benefits and harms. These findings question the status quo, which states that eggs are good for the health and can be consumed daily.

Besides cholesterol, eggs also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

Diet data was collected using food frequency questionnaires or by taking a diet history. But they argue that their study's design and methodology was able to separate the wheat from the chaff and look at the effects of cholesterol and eggs in isolation and in more detail than other attempts.

Frequent drinkers of sugary beverages more likely to die early
While an occasional sugary drink is unlikely to do much harm, Australians consume them at a level high above "occasional". In the current study, the risk associated with sugary drinks rose with higher consumption for men and women.

According to the study, people should maintain a low cholesterol intake by avoiding eating, for example, red meat eggs. But dietary cholesterol also enhances the LDL cholesterol-raising effect of saturated fat.

A recent Chinese study even concluded cholesterol decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Eating 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day links to a 17 percent higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and 18 percent higher risk of all-cause deaths. These yielded details of what each person had eaten either in the previous year or month.

Also, eating three to four eggs per week was associated with 6 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 8 per cent higher risk of any cause of death.

And dietitian Victoria Taylor, of the British Heart Foundation, insists that the way you eat the egg and with what is so important.

That is relatively little, especially given that a half-egg daily is double what the average American eats. For starters, the study only examined participants' self-reported diets at one point in their lives, and people's diets can change greatly over years and decades - not to mention that us humans are notoriously bad at accurately recalling what we've eaten. The study had up to 31 years of follow-up (median: 17.5 years), during which 5400 cardiovascular events and 6132 all-cause deaths were diagnosed. People who eat eggs every day should pay extra attention, since "greater consumption means higher risk", Zhong says.

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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