New Research Cautions of Heart Risk Associated with Consuming Eggs

Nutritionists maintain that eggs continue to be leading source for dietary cholesterol, which is why it is typically recommended as a healthy protein source.  On the other hand, this cholesterol source links eggs to blood cholesterol and heart disease. These figures are confusing, however, because older studies suggest that the link is what actually led to nutrition guidelines—made about ten years ago—which recommend that you should consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day.  And one egg contains more than half this amount. 

A quick look at the numbers show that 300mg of daily cholesterol leads to a 17 percent higher risk of cardiovascular incident as well as 18 percent higher risk of death, overall.  

Newer research, however, questions this correlation. Instead, new studies say that saturated fats contribute more to unhealthy blood cholesterol levels than eggs. This is important because while “good” cholesterol can contribute to heart health, “bad” cholesterol can lead to heart problems. 

The most recent set of US government nutrition guidelines, which were written in 2015, actually removed the once-prevalent daily cholesterol limit.  Of course, it is still advised that people should try to eat as little cholesterol as possible, the new recommendations says that you can include eggs as part of a healthy diet.  

Study co-author Norrina Allen states, “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.”

Indeed, it does not appear that the study is going to force any drastic changes to health eating guidelines, if at all.  This is particularly true if you are eating a well-rounded diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, with limited sugars and processed meats. 

Dr. Bruce Lee, of Johns Hopkins University was not involved in the study, but explains that nutrition studies are often not well supported. This is mostly due to the fact that researchers have to rely on what people can remember about what they ate. 

This leads to somewhat unreliable evidence, he says. This new study, then, provides better—observational—data about dietary choices. That said, he is uncertain that this study can prove (or disprove) that eggs—and their associated cholesterol—certainly cause heart disease.  Still, many agree that—as with most things—moderation is the key to good health, overall.