To have eggs or not is the question! There have been endless debates on whether having eggs regularly could raise the risk of heart disease. In a study in 2017, eggs were deemed safe for the heart. Now a new study shows that having at least three eggs per week can raise the risk of early deaths. The results of the study were published in the latest issue of the JAMA.
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The study comes from Northwestern University researchers from the department of Preventive Medicine and finds that consuming 300 milligrams or more of cholesterol a day or three eggs per week can raise the risk of deaths. Victor Zhong, the study’s lead author explains that a single large egg contains around 186 milligrams of cholesterol.
The team of researchers looked at over 29000 participants and followed them up for an average of 17 years. Over the duration of the study there were 5,400 cardiovascular events which included 1,302 strokes, 1,897 cases of heart failure and 113 deaths due to heart disease. In addition 6132 participants also died of other causes.
Statistical analysis revealed that taking in an extra 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day could be associated with a 3.2 percent raised risk of getting heart disease and a 4.4 percent greater risk of dying early due to any cause. Dr. Norrina Allen, Associate Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, one of the researchers on the team said in a statement, “…we want to remind people there is cholesterol in eggs, specifically yolks, and this has a harmful effect. 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.” Zhong said other food items rich in dietary cholesterol include high fat dairy products such as butter, whipped cream etc. and processed and red meats.
Associate professor Norrina Allen explained that taking two eggs a day can raise the risk of heart disease by 27 percent. She added as a caveat that this was an observational study and there could be other factors responsible that may have led to the raised risk of deaths among the participants. All the factors, she explained, including age, sex, ethnicity, alcohol and tobacco use, levels of exercise and dietary patterns were self-reported by the participants. “The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks,” said Allen.