Yolk Gotta Be Kidding Me: More Than 3 Eggs A Week Could Lead To Early Death And Increase Risk Of Heart Disease

Yolk Gotta Be Kidding Me: More Than 3 Eggs A Week Could Lead To Early Death And Increase Risk Of Heart Disease

A recent study suggests that eating three or more eggs can result in heart diseases and an early death. What an eggressive idea.

Up until now, eggs have always been considered the best source of protein. Most non-vegetarian people across the world eat at least six or seven eggs in a week. In fact, eggs are part of a staple breakfast in some cultures. They are often considered to be really healthy because they are rich in protein. Especially among people who hit the gym. Boiled eggs are part of athletes' daily diet. Some people even eat around four or five eggs on a daily basis. However, a recent study showed that people who eat an added three or four eggs a week or 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day. People consuming so much cholesterol in a week are at a higher risk of both heart disease and early death as compared to those people who eat fewer eggs. The study was published on Friday in the medical journal JAMA.

Eggs, especially the yolk, are a major source of dietary cholesterol, wrote Victor Zhong, lead study author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The research team found that a single large egg contains around 186 milligrams of cholesterol. The researchers examined data from six U.S. study groups including more than 29,000 people followed for 17½ years on average. 

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Over the follow-up period, the research showed that a total of 5,400 cardiovascular events occurred, including 1,302 fatal and nonfatal strokes, 1,897 incidents of fatal and non-fatal heart failure and 113 other heart disease deaths. An additional 6,132 participants died of other causes. According to the study, consuming over 300 milligrams of cholesterol in a single day increases the chances of heart disease by 3.2% and also shows a 4.4% higher risk of death at an early stage in life. The data analysis further showed that an additional half egg a day is associated with a 1.1% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 1.9% higher risk of early death due to any cause.

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The results found in earlier studies on the same topic were regularly inconsistent. The reason behind this inconsistency in the past was the fact that other studies generally disregarded the fact that high consumption of eggs could be directly related to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, low physical activity, and an unhealthy diet. Additionally, foods that contain cholesterol usually contain high amounts of saturated fat and animal protein. In contrast, the current study included comprehensive assessment of these factors, Zhong and his co-authors wrote.


In an editorial published alongside the study, Dr. Robert H. Eckel of the University of Colorado School of Medicine wrote that this topic is important to doctors, patients and the public at large. This is so because 'the association of egg consumption and dietary cholesterol with [cardiovascular disease], although debated for decades, has more recently been thought to be less important', wrote Eckel, who was not involved in the recent research conducted. The new research is supposed to be a lot more accurate as compared to any of them that were done in the past.

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Eckel wrote that in comparison with previously published analysis, the new report is 'far more comprehensive, with enough data to make a strong statement that eggs and overall dietary cholesterol intake remain important in affecting the risk of [cardiovascular disease], and more so the risk of all-cause mortality'. However, the relationship between eggs and the increased risk of heart disease and early death is said to be only 'modest', according to Eckel. The new research has tried to take every factor that could possibly alter the findings into account.


According to Eckel, since higher consumption than the average of either cholesterol or eggs is related to an increase in cardiovascular disease incidents like stroke and early death, the new finding is significant when considering the population at large. 'Considering the negative consequences of egg consumption and dietary cholesterol in the setting of heart-healthy dietary patterns, the importance of limiting intake of cholesterol-rich foods should not be dismissed', he concluded.


Zhong and his co-authors similarly concluded, "These results should be considered in the development of dietary guidelines and updates." As reported by CNN, Victoria Taylor, a senior dietitian with the British Heart Foundation said, "This type of study can only show an association, rather than cause and effect, and more research is needed for us to understand the reasons behind this link. Eggs are a nutritious food and, while this study focuses on the amount we're eating, it's just as important to pay attention to how the eggs are cooked and to the trimmings that come with them." Taylor, who was not involved in the research, also said, "Eating healthily is all about balance."


Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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