Poor old eggs are no longer flavour of the morning
Eating as few as three a week raises risk of heart disease, study suggests, although the Chinese beg to differ
Eating as few as three eggs a week raises your risk of cardiovascular disease which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, new research has found.
Eggs have enjoyed a rehabilitation in recent years after being branded unhealthy and artery-clogging.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) dropped advice to limit egg consumption to three a week in 2007, while the UK National Health Service (NHS) has no recommended guidelines for the number people should eat.
But a new study by Northwestern Medicine in the US found that people who ate more eggs and dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.
Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of cholesterol, with one large British egg supplying about 265mg of cholesterol.
The new study, which looked at nearly 30,000 people over 31 years, found that eating 300mg of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with a 17% higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and an 18% higher risk of all-cause deaths.
Eating three to four eggs per week was associated with a 6% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and an 8% higher risk of any cause of death.
For an average, non-smoking, 55-year-old man it would result in an additional three cases of heart disease for every 1,000 people.
“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,” said study author Norrina Allen, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
“The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks.
“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.”
The study looked at 29,615 adults from six prospective cohort studies for up to 31 years of follow up.
To date, the evidence about eggs has been mixed. In 2018, a Chinese study suggested that a daily egg may reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.
But the study findings mean the current dietary recommendations for dietary cholesterol and eggs may need to be re-evaluated, the authors said.
“We want to remind people there is cholesterol in eggs, specifically yolks, and this has a harmful effect,” added Dr Allen. “Eat them in moderation.”
However, Tom Sanders, professor emeritus of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said many studies had shown that eggs were safe to eat.
“A previous meta-analysis on over three million adults published in the BMJ also found a null effect of egg consumption on cardiovascular disease risk. “More recently, a study of 0.5 million people in China found that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Eggs in moderation – around three to four per week – is fine.”
The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
– © Telegraph Media Group