Moderate eggs consumption doesn’t up heart disease risk according to a new Finnish study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The association between high cholesterol foods and heart diseases has long been embedded in our minds. Eggs, particularly egg yolks have been touted as major contributors to the increase of heart disease risk. As a result, dietary guidelines recommend that eggs consumption is reduced to a minimum.
However, the Finnish study led by Jyrki K. Virtanen, professor of epidemiology with the University of Eastern Finland reached a different conclusion. According to Virtanen:
“Moderate intake of cholesterol doesn’t seem to increase the risk of heart disease, even among those people at higher risk”.
The study included 1,032 men aged 42 to 60. At the time of enrollment, all the participants were in good health. Over the average 21-year timeframe of the study, 230 participants were diagnosed with coronary artery disease.
The differentiating trait of approximately one third of the participants was that they were carriers of one gene variant known as ApoE4. This gene variant has been studied for its potential to increase heart disease risk as well as Alzheimer’s disease risk.
The participants filled out verified food questionnaires to assess their cholesterol foods intake. Eggs were a constant item on the dietary plans of each participant.
On average, the participants were found to have a 2,800 milligrams of cholesterol weekly intake. Over one quarter of the cholesterol intake came from eggs. One egg has approximately 180 milligrams of cholesterol. The participants eggs consumption was evaluated at approximately 4 eggs per week.
The research team controlled for education, smoking status, age, diabetes, BMI and hypertension. However, no association between the total cholesterol intake and heart disease could be established. The conclusion holds true for both carriers of the ApoE4 gene variant and for non-carriers. As such, the Finnish study suggests that moderate eggs consumption doesn’t up heart disease risk.
It’s been decades since eggs consumption, as well as other higher cholesterol foods have been associated with ‘heart attacks on a plate’. However, moderate consumption of any of these foods shouldn’t pose major health threats. Nonetheless, as is the case with most food-related health news, this too should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Continuous research into how different food types impact our health will yield different results in time. Moderation remains constant in all debates.
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