More than 1 egg a day could increase risk for heart disease

Study shows eating more eggs tied to heart disease

The study can not prove cause and effect and is unlikely to be the last word on the matter, but experts said moderation was probably the safest course, advising no more than three or four eggs a week. One large egg yolk has 186 milligrams of cholesterol.

But the Northwestern researchers said their study suggests those guidelines may have to be looked at yet again. The risk of increased dietary cholesterol consumption causing heart disease was higher if subjects were thin, female, and had higher LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

Researchers believed eggs could be the key to reducing strokes because they contain not only dietary cholesterol, but also high-quality protein, an array of vitamins and bioactive components including phospholipids and carotenoids.

A potential reason for inconsistent results in the past was the fact that other studies did not take into account that egg consumption may be related to other unhealthy behaviors, such as low physical activity, smoking and an unhealthy diet.

Research results from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that adults who eat more eggs and dietary cholesterol have a significantly higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause.

"A more appropriate recommendation would be eating egg whites instead of whole eggs or eating whole eggs in moderation, for the objective of reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and death", he said.

"There's always been a [suggestion in the data] that eggs can raise cholesterol and create cardiovascular harm", said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Wellness program at National Jewish Health hospital in Denver.

Consuming 300 mg dietary cholesterol per day was associated with a 3.2% higher risk of heart disease and a 4.4% higher risk of early death, Zhong's analysis of the data showed.

"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", Allen said.

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"No one food is just cholesterol".

Senior author Norrina Allen, a preventive medicine specialist, noted that the study lacks information on whether participants ate eggs hard-boiled, poached, fried, or scrambled in butter, which she said could affect health risks.

"We know that dietary recall can be awful", said Lee. On average, the study participants consumed 241 milligrams of cholesterol per day.

Dr. Bruce Lee of Johns Hopkins University, said nutrition studies are often weak because they rely on people remembering what they ate.

Whether or not dietary cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke has been debated for decades. "Eat them in moderation". Of course, cheeseburgers have many other dietary problems, including saturated fat and sodium.

The new findings could call for a reevaluation of these recommendations, the authors said. Even the researchers who worked on the study aren't happy about it.

She recommends sticking to a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in heart-healthy plant-based foods that are also low in cholesterol, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

As heart disease kills around 610,000 Americans each year, accounting for one in four deaths, understanding the role played by food such as eggs is important.

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