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Are eggs bad for your heart? Experts weigh new findings


A new large study can earn some confusing advice for egg lovers. Research from Northwestern Medicine notes that adults who ate several eggs per week and large amounts of dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

The results indicate that it may be time to re-evaluate the current US dietary guidelines that no longer limit cholesterol or eggs, the researchers say.

"The home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and especially egg yolks," one of the authors, Norrina Allen, Ph. D., a professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 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."

Prior to 201

5, nutritional guidelines were recommended to eat less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day. But that year, based on the available data at that time, the recommendations were changed, eliminating the daily limit on cholesterol and focusing on reducing foods high in saturated fats.

The new research makes a strong case to get that border back.

What the new study shows

Allen and her team collected data on nearly 30,000 furious and ethnically diverse adults between 1985 and 2016. Participants were asked about their dietary habits during the last month or year in a comprehensive questionnaire. At the end of the follow-up period, the group had experienced 5400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 deaths from any cause.

An analysis showed that consuming 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with 17 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 18 percent higher risk of death.

Eggs then looked specifically because they are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol. A large egg contains about 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in the yolk.

The researchers found that eating three to four eggs per week was linked to a 6 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and an 8 percent higher risk of death. The results were published today in JAMA.

Compared to previous studies, "this report is much more comprehensive, with enough data to make a strong claim that eggs and overall dietary cholesterol intake are still important for influencing the risk" for heart disease and death, writes Robert H. Eckel in a editorial published together with the study.

Why is there so much conflicting guidance on eggs?

With so much conflicting evidence, it can be difficult for consumers to keep track of which foods are considered healthy choices.

"I can fully understand that people would be confused and frustrated," Leslie Cho, a preventive cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told CBS News.

She notes that while the JAMA report is scientifically sound and well done, as what study it has its limitations.

"It is a very large study with a large number of different types of patients. These are all good things," she said. "But in general, every diet study is in difficulty due to the problem of patient recall. Do you remember what you ate last week? Because I don't. It's the same with patients. "

Most dietary studies are also observational, making their results less reliable. This is because, unlike a randomized controlled trial that tests the safety and efficacy of a drug, it is difficult to randomly control what people eat during one. long time, especially with a large sample size.

But although Cho says these studies are important for a better understanding of nutrition research,

"Science works how it works, we don't think of it as a study with the last the word ", she said." In science, we look at the overwhelming evidence to see where the field goes. "

Bottom line: Moderation is the key

It is important to note that no one, including the study authors, says you need to cut Eggs completely out of your diet.

"We want to remind people that cholesterol is found in eggs, especially egg yolks, and it has a deleterious effect," Allen said, mentioning that she is still lawful. are scrambled eggs for their children. "Eat them in measure."

Cho says she never stopped recommending her patients to limit their diets to cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day or told patients that they could eat as many eggs as they want .

"In addition to dietary cholesterol, there is a cancer risk of eating eggs and other animal products," she says. "We have always said that you can have egg whites, but you should carefully limit your amount of egg yolk consumption."

She recommends adhering to a Mediterranean diet rich in heart-healthy herbal foods that are also low in cholesterol, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

"It has been proven to improve survival time and time again," said Cho. "This is the diet we should adopt."

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