17th Mar 2019
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Higher egg consumption hikes heart disease risk
Author: Ben Hocking
Bad news for egg lovers

Cancel the cheese omelette. There is sobering news for egg lovers who have been happily following Heart Foundation guidelines suggesting you can safely consume six or seven eggs each week.

A large, new Northwestern Medicine study reports that adults who ate more eggs and dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease. 

“The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and, specifically, yolks,” said co-author Norrina Allen, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University.

“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.”

Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol among all commonly consumed foods. One large egg has 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in the yolk.

Other animal products such as red meat, processed meat and high-fat dairy products (butter or whipped cream) also have high cholesterol content, said lead author Wenze Zhong.

The great egg debate
Whether eating dietary cholesterol or eggs is linked to cardiovascular disease and death has been debated for decades.

The evidence for eggs has been mixed. 

Previous studies found eating eggs did not raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. But those studies generally had a less diverse sample, shorter follow-up time and limited ability to adjust for other parts of the diet, Assoc. Prof. Allen said.

“Our study showed if two people had the exact same diet and the only difference in diet was eggs, then you could directly measure the effect of the egg consumption on heart disease,” she said.

“We found cholesterol, regardless of the source, was associated with an increased risk of heart disease.”

Exercise, overall diet quality and the amount and type of fat in the diet didn’t change the association between the dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease and death risk.

The study found:

  • Eating 300mg of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with a 17 per cent higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease. The cholesterol was the driving factor independent of saturated fat consumption and other dietary fat.
  • Eating three to four eggs per week was associated with a six per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Based on the study, people should keep dietary cholesterol intake low by reducing cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs and red meat in their diet.

The authors, however, caution against banishing eggs and red meat completely, as they are still good sources of important nutrients such as essential amino acids, iron and choline. Instead, choose egg whites instead of whole eggs or eat whole eggs in moderation.

How many eggs do you eat per week? Do you believe previous advice that eating eggs is good for your health or are you convinced by this latest study?

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    COMMENTS

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    maelcolium
    19th Mar 2019
    9:57am
    Not convinced. Eating too much of one food has poor health outcomes. A balanced diet and exercise are the keys to reaching one's health potential.
    danielboonjp
    19th Mar 2019
    10:26am
    Your Life, you have two conflicting story lines ... one bagging eggs and the othershowing many eggs about to be cooked
    pedro the swift
    19th Mar 2019
    10:50am
    Best plan! Eat nothing and live a long and healthy life!
    Bushbaby
    19th Mar 2019
    10:54am
    The arguments for and against eating eggs has been raging back and forth for years. I agree that a balanced diet with no excess of any particular item plus reasonable amounts of exercise is healthier. I'm not going to throw my yolks away! I like them.
    Sen.Cit.90
    19th Mar 2019
    1:36pm
    I'm with you 'Bushbaby' I have two Microwaved poached eggs on two slices of buttered wholemeal bread practically every morning for breakfast.
    I have had many medical problems including by-pass surgery and a pacemaker fitted.
    Still, I scored 90 on Sunday 3/3 a couple of weeks ago.
    Hence my change from Sen.Cit 89 to Sen.Cit 90 :-)
    jackie
    19th Mar 2019
    11:04am
    I am sick of being told what to eat and what not to eat. The point is we are all going to die in the end no matter what we do or don't do.
    Sen.Cit.90
    19th Mar 2019
    1:37pm
    Spot on Jackie:-)
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    2:46pm
    No one is telling you what to eat, they are just pointing out if you want to reduce your risk of heart disease then you may need to change your diet, cutting back on animal proteins is the quickest way to reduce your risk it has been proven. Whether you die earlier or not is your choice but heart disease is a huge burden on society.
    Allenmack
    24th Mar 2019
    12:12pm
    Die! That's the last thing I'd do.
    Crowboy
    19th Mar 2019
    11:24am
    Eat well, Stay fit.....die anyway!
    Troubadour
    19th Mar 2019
    11:43am
    You got it nailed Crowboy!!
    trood
    19th Mar 2019
    11:35am
    Sick and tired of these studies that contradict themselves
    Abby
    19th Mar 2019
    12:00pm
    Agree trood
    In many instances the results of many researches depend on who happens to fund them and their agenda.
    Everything in moderation is my motto.
    BERRYUPSET
    19th Mar 2019
    2:10pm
    me too troody ...visit nutrition facts.com that`ll really blow your mind on the EGG debate
    its egg sasperating....:-)))))
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    2:48pm
    You have always got studies that contradict but the evidence proven by people themselves on low fat (low protein) plant based diets are there, they reverse heart disease and diabetes etc. See forksoverknives.com and yes Berryupset nutritionfacts.org is amazing too.
    Mikko
    19th Mar 2019
    11:55am
    So we've been told there is "good" cholesterol (HDL) and "bad" cholesterol (LDL) so which one do eggs contain. Just saying cholesterol explains nothing. In the past we were told avocados and prawns were "bad", then they became "good". Wait for the next study to tell us something else again or continue to enjoy a few eggs a week?
    koshka
    19th Mar 2019
    11:58am
    I don't eat eggs at all, I´m vegan and since then my cholesterol has gone down considerable...every if I do eat some saturated fat from some ingredients in my diet. Veganism is good for my health...good for the animals...good for the planet and good for my pocket. By de way I do eat more than just lettuce...hahahaha!!! uts...seeds...grains...beans...gosh you name it.
    ChristineS
    19th Mar 2019
    2:22pm
    I am about to become vegetarian (vegan when I can) for my health, and the health of the planet. Well done Koshka, good to hear your cholesterol has come down. You are right - there are a wide range of delicious foods and recipes free from animal products out there :-)
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    2:52pm
    Me too koshka and the more people that go plant based the better, even if most people just cut back on animal proteins there would be a big improvement on health and the environment.
    Christine S check out forksoverknives.com and onegreenplanet.org for inspirations. Cutting back slowly is better so as not to shock your system, and by introducing more fresh wholefoods and lots of fruit and veggies especially green leafy ones will make you feel amazing and the desire for animal products will diminish as time goes on. Start your day with lemon juice and/or a celery juice to give your health a boost.
    Realist
    19th Mar 2019
    4:06pm
    Great eating Plan - Whole food plant based is so tasty and soooo healthy.
    Colours
    19th Mar 2019
    10:32pm
    Well said, Koshka!
    KSS
    19th Mar 2019
    12:27pm
    More selective reporting by YLC! From the same report:

    "Nutrition experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conclude that dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood are only weakly related. But Allen says that "we don't know as much as we'd like to about how the cholesterol you consume in your diet is translated into the blood."

    The new study is an observational study, so it doesn't prove that cholesterol caused the increased risk of heart disease that the researchers documented. "These new findings provide one piece of evidence," Allen says. But it's possible that other lifestyle or dietary habits may be responsible for the increased risk.

    One shortcoming of the study is that participants were asked only one time about their diets. So, this one snapshot may not have accurately captured their eating habits over time. "We hope that in future studies we can look at how changes in diet over the long term may be impacting this risk for heart disease," Allen says. Future studies could also explore how the risks linked to dietary cholesterol may vary from person to person."

    So business as usual, eat your eggs if you want to.
    Agnomen
    19th Mar 2019
    12:34pm
    Read the link to the actual study. They assessed people’s diet once up to 31 years ago and then looked at their cause of death. The study assumes that what they at way back then is what they continued to eat over their lifetime. Seems a tenuous extrapolation to me.
    NGE
    19th Mar 2019
    1:24pm
    Who do you believe? Watch this Doctors You Tube. He is strongly in favour of the Keto Diet.
    Very interesting

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_ccNIPcFbc&t=400s
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    2:54pm
    Geez the Keto diet is one of the most unhealthy trends around (and very dangerous), this doctor on you tube is cashing in on lies. The evidence for low fat plant based diet kills all the others hands down. Don't trust what you always see on you tube.
    Harrie
    19th Mar 2019
    1:53pm
    Heart Foundation AU. "The cholesterol in eggs has almost no effect on your blood cholesterol levels. Your cholesterol levels are more influenced by the saturated and trans fat you eat."
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    2:55pm
    The Heart foundation is only interested in making money, they most likely get funded by the egg and meat industries to spin their lies. Saturated fat and rich proteins including eggs do contribute to thickening of the arteries and more heart disease.
    Mandy
    7th Apr 2019
    3:07pm
    What musicveg says is true. The body makes cholesterol and you can build up cholesterol in your system without consuming any cholesterol at all.
    musicveg
    7th Apr 2019
    3:14pm
    Yes I found this out just recently in an old health book so the information has been around for a long time but is suppressed. So getting enough cholesterol is easy but what is hard is your body does not know what to do with the excess, so therefore your arteries accumulate cholesterol until you have a heart attack, no matter how fit you are too.
    musicveg
    7th Apr 2019
    3:16pm
    I might just add I looked for more information about what I read in the old health book to confirm it, so don't tell me it is outdated because it is still current information, available if you look in the right places.
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    2:44pm
    Yes, it is only the egg industry who is saying they are healthy based on no evidence. High protein is usually high cholesterol, those who don't believe this are risking their health. All animal protein is high and does not contain fiber, most people eat too much protein even vegans and vegetarians. The optimum diet to reduce your cholesterol is low fat (low protein) plant based diet. Lots of research, testimonials and recipes can be found at forksoverknives.com and nutritionfacts.org
    Farside
    19th Mar 2019
    3:11pm
    not enough information here to make any firm conclusions and the fact the studies rely upon memory and do not mention the sponsors is more cause for caution before embracing any recommendations.

    A link to an explanation of how best to interpret these results by the lead study author Norrina Bai Allen, Ph.D.is below. She explains "people who ate 300 mg of cholesterol per day had a 17 percent higher risk of getting heart disease. ... She also notes that only 3.21 percent of people in her study actually got heart disease at all."

    In other words "a very small amount of people in this study developed heart disease, but of those that did, it appears that dietary cholesterol (and that from eggs, in particular) played a role.", as no doubt do diet choices, lifestyle, health, age and genetics in explaining difference between 2.74% and 3.21%. If one thing don't kill you another will.

    https://www.inverse.com/article/54088-eggs-cholesterol-levels-heart-disease
    old frt
    19th Mar 2019
    3:23pm
    Most vegetarians / vegans are located at Rookwood cemetery . How many elderly vegans do you know , not many . Most vegetarians you see look like death warmed up . The teeth we have are designed to eat meat not graze on rabbit food.
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    4:00pm
    Your comment is not justified. There are many people who have lived long lives as vegetarians, vegans have not been studied enough so how can you know. My mum has been vegetarian for years and is 82 and much healthier than her friends. It is not always about how long you live but how healthy you live.
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    5:17pm
    And no we do not have teeth to rip meat to shreds, we have grinding teeth for chewing plant food, nuts and seeds.
    Realist
    19th Mar 2019
    4:04pm
    I don't eat Chicken menstruation, cow menstruation, human menstruation, in fact ANY menstruation from ANY animal.

    Source: https://www.peta2.com/news/eating-chicken-period/
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    5:15pm
    Yes Realist, one of the most cruel industries, full of bacteria, diseases, drugs,and more, chickens are not like they use to be and the eggs are even worse, bred so fast, like machines just for humans consumption. Mass producing animals is where a lot of the problems have come from, not everyone can have land to grow animals, and not everyone can access proper free range grass fed natural meat either, so much easier to just give it a miss and be healthier for it too.
    Chris B T
    19th Mar 2019
    4:04pm
    What type of Chock is the Egg from.
    Caged, pen, free range or home garden chock.
    These variables taken inconsideration or is it Generalising again.
    Just off the shelf type egg in Supermarket.
    Not very convincing study, did human the test sample had preexisting or genetic Heart Problems.
    At 60 plus years a balanced feed of any nutritious food that can be tolerated is a plus.
    To restrict food type now is a bit of a folly.
    Realist
    19th Mar 2019
    4:47pm
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-cholesterol-patently-false-and-misleading-claims/

    Watch ONLY if your "mindset" is NOT "set in cement"
    Foxy
    19th Mar 2019
    5:08pm
    .... give all unwanted eggs to "Egg Boy" - he will find use for them! lololololol ........(sorry - couldn't help myself) :-)
    Sally
    19th Mar 2019
    5:55pm
    Here we go again!
    Oldtroll
    19th Mar 2019
    6:08pm
    Here we go again! Give an egg a bad name game by the looks of it. When will the so called experts decide to get it right? We are aware of the red meat problem and yes we are aware of the processed meats. It would be more useful if the powers that be looked into fast food outlets and the plethora of refined poisons on the supermarket shelves. Let us have an article that has good truthful advise and advise that will never be subject to any king of change or re thought, please!
    musicveg
    19th Mar 2019
    8:01pm
    Yes fast food and processed foods do contribute to a lot of disease, people eat too much packaged dead food. But eggs are in everything too, and they do feed pathogens and bacteria and are hard on the liver.
    Lilo Lil’s Mum
    19th Mar 2019
    7:31pm
    Eggs.....why eat them when there’s plenty of politicians you could throw them at......
    Oldtroll
    20th Mar 2019
    2:03pm
    Like your style Lilo Lil's mum. I really do think this egg thing is a load of.......
    Anyhoo, I am in my seventies a country boy ear alleast two plus eggs a day. Due to being old yes I have what they call a slight elevation in my LDLS,. So I should I have been about for quite some time and will continue to be about.
    Waterbabe
    20th Mar 2019
    12:25pm
    So this old chestnut is rearing it's head again. I have yet to see a fat chicken. But I do see a lot of animal fat in foods we eat. Just as an example of egg consumption, I have been eating them for 50 years on a daily basis, and have no heart artery problems - in fact, an angio-graph a few years ago pronounced my arteries as 'clear as a bell'. I don't think you have to look any further than animal fat as the culprit. Incidentally, my consumption of animal fat is negligible - so I'm going to go on eating eggs to my heart's content!
    musicveg
    20th Mar 2019
    1:40pm
    If you eat a low fat diet and lots of veggies and fruit this may be counteracting the eggs you eat, especially if you get enough exercise. But for a lot of people eggs can contribute to more heart disease. I hope you are getting free range., Chickens are skinny because they do not live a normal life anymore, fast breeding and killed very young or die young because of the stress they endure.
    Farside
    20th Mar 2019
    2:38pm
    notwithstanding the difficulties surrounding the study, it calculated an increase in risk from of heart disease from 2.7% to 3.2% and noted "that when they adjusted for overall cholesterol in someone’s diet, the relationship between eggs and heart disease wasn’t statistically significant."
    Lynda
    20th Mar 2019
    12:54pm
    1.6 grams of saturated fat per egg yolk this increases levels of cholesterol in the blood
    KSS
    22nd Mar 2019
    10:36am
    Actually no it doesn't. The body makes its own cholesterol. When you eat it the body makes less. This is why the egg has been put back on the menu after years in the wilderness.
    musicveg
    22nd Mar 2019
    1:33pm
    I read this from a book: "The liver manufactures all the cholesterol that the body needs. Cholesterol eaten simply adds to the overall cholesterol level. Scientists have know for 100 years that cholesterol can accumulate in coronary arteries, reducing the flow of blood to the heart and eventually narrowing the passage so severely that a heart attack occurs. Factors contributing to increased cholesterol levels are smoking, high blood pressure, lack of exercise and poor diet. It is important to note that cholesterol can only come from animal sources." And this explains why as you get older your chances of heart disease increases if you continue to eat large amounts of animal protein despite how fit or healthy you think you are. It is an accumulation and the only way to reverse your accumulation is by not having animal products or very little. See forksoverknives.com for more information regarding people that have reversed their diseases, tips and recipes. No pill is going to save you only a change of diet can give you hope.
    Farside
    23rd Mar 2019
    9:06pm
    don't know about applicability of your anecdotes Musicveg. One of my grandmothers drank a raw egg every day until she dropped off the perch at age 94, the other lived on a dairy farm until her 70s and ate bread, lamb, silverbeet, taters, dairy and eggs most days until she dropped off the perch at 96 – seems dairy and eggs did not hurt them as they both experienced good health throughout their lives until the last weeks

    Some sources say the body can provide enough cholesterol (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/cholesterol) while others suggest this is not the case for good health (https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/how-its-made-cholesterol-production-in-your-body)
    musicveg
    23rd Mar 2019
    9:21pm
    There are always exceptions to the rule Farside, they may have lived to 120 if they did not consume eggs, but maybe their farm fresh eggs in those days were a lot healthier too, better than what they sell on the supermarket shelves these days. You can go ahead and eat eggs all you like but optimum health is without them and those who are already sick are making things worse by continuing with a high animal protein diet.
    Oldtroll
    20th Mar 2019
    2:09pm
    Unfortunately this is not the whole story. There is nothing bad about eating eggs. There was a survey done not so long age that cleared eggs as being a culprit of bad cholesterol. So who is this new "down with eggs" expert. Because he or she knows very little.
    musicveg
    20th Mar 2019
    2:14pm
    The survey done not so long ago was funded by the egg industry, it is always been known that eggs are high in fat and cholesterol, nothing changed there. All animal protein is very rich and should not be eaten or if you do choose to eat it, eat very little compared with fresh fruit and vegetable, but most people eat too much and that is why heart disease is the number one killer. Worse still is the combination of fats and processed foods.
    MD
    20th Mar 2019
    5:40pm
    Eggs-actly, eggs-ceptionally eggs-trapolated findings! Don't be mistaken, don't be misled or you'll end up like Anning, with egg on yer 'ed. These findings have probably been scrambled (by egg-sperts) and amount to a rather poultry (sic) contribution.

    Cluck no?
    Realist
    20th Mar 2019
    5:56pm
    Gee @MD must have been eating eggs - he's "addled" his brain :-)
    MD
    21st Mar 2019
    3:49pm
    Very good Realist, that's the spirit, good to see someone else can enjoy a yolk.
    musicveg
    21st Mar 2019
    4:08pm
    Warning to egg eaters, salmonella outbreak this week!

    https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/egg-recall-over-salmonella-outbreak/news-story/267d1d18d7b075de59c3eb2dfef5fd23

    Another reason not to eat eggs, too risky for harmful bacteria's.


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