An egg a day doesn't hurt your heart, study concludes

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Results from this study suggest that a high-cholesterol diet or frequent egg consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (© iStock.com)
Results from this study suggest that a high-cholesterol diet or frequent egg consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. (© iStock.com)

Related tags: Atherosclerosis

Eating one egg a day or a high intake of dietary cholesterol are not linked with an increased risk of a heart attack, a study has suggested.

The findings dispel the myth about eggs leading to an increased heart attack risk. According to the food-based dietary guidelines compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the European Region, 2-3 eggs per week have been acceptable for countries such as Germany, Greece and Spain.

Results from this study suggest that a high-cholesterol diet or frequent egg consumption do not increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases even in individuals genetically susceptible to a greater effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels.

Nutrition recommendations worldwide no longer set intake of dietary cholesterol. However, in carriers of the protein E type 4 allele (APOE4) - which effects cholesterol metabolism - the impact of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels is more significant.

Unique Finnish population

running_winter_sportsnutrition_istock
In Finland the frequency of the APOE4 allele, which is a hereditary variant, is high and around 33% of the population are carriers. (© iStock.com)

In Finland, where this study takes place, the frequency of the APOE4 allele, which is a hereditary variant, is high and around 33% of the population are carriers.

The study enrolled 1032 men aged 42–60 years old in 1984–1989 as part of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, (KIHD). Dietary intakes were assessed with 4-day food records and these men had no baseline indications of cardiovascular disease.

During a follow-up of 21 years, 230 men had an incident of a heart attack and 32.5% of the study participants were carriers of APOE4.

These results were significant enough to suggest a high intake of dietary cholesterol was not linked to coronary heart disease within the study cohort and those who carried the APOE4 allele.

Critically, the actual consumption of eggs was not associated with a risk of coronary heart disease. The findings were also unable to prove a link between dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with arterial wall thickening.

The study mentioned that in the highest control group, the study participants had an average daily dietary cholesterol intake of 520mg consuming an average of one egg per day. Researchers were thus unable to generalise the findings beyond those conditions found in the study.

“There is little information on the association between cholesterol intake and the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) among those with the ApoE4 phenotype,”​ the researchers said.

“In general populations, the effects of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol concentrations are modest. However, the relation is stronger in those with an ɛ4 allele in the APOE gene.”

More egg studies

egg yoke yellow carotenoid
“There is little information on the association between cholesterol intake and the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) among those with the APOE4 phenotype.” (© iStock.com)

A study​ conducted in 2007, found that consumption of 6 or more eggs per week (average of 1 egg or greater per day) did not increase the risk of stroke and ischemic stroke. However, the researchers believed the increased risk of coronary artery disease associated with higher egg consumption among diabetics warranted further investigations.

Likewise, a study​ of middle-aged Japanese men and women found that eating eggs more frequently, up to almost daily, was not associated with an increase in coronary heart disease incidence.

Individuals who do not have adequate control of their total and LDL cholesterol were recommended to limit their intake of egg yolks. The same was recommended for diabetics in the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up study​. Here, heart disease risk was increased among men and women with diabetes who ate one or more eggs a day.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Published online ahead of print, http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.122317

“Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.”

Authors: J. K. Virtanen, J. Mursu, H. E. Virtanen, M. Fogelholm, J. T. Salonen, T. T. Koskinen, S. Voutilainen, T.-P. Tuomainen.

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2 comments

No link between chloresterol and heart disease

Posted by Rick,

There is no link!
It is a myth of choloresterol levels to heart attacks.

Eating fried foods is a major contributor.
So fried eggs - bad.
Anything fried - bad.
Vegetables stir fried in extra virgin olive oil = bad.
Margarine, crisco - bad.

Poached eggs - good.

http://www.docsopinion.com/2013/09/27/greenland-eskimos-fats-and-heart-disease/

http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/statin-scam-people-with-higher-cholesterol-live-longer-than-people-with-low-cholesterol/

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Accuracy of such studies

Posted by Stella H Howell,

Consumption of eggs from any creature is non compatible with the Human Body and therefore MUST cause disease.

Man commenced eating unnatural dead foods only in the late 18th Century.

Can one find a single Study whereby disclosure of the harmful effects of for instance Genetically Eng. crop is disclosed.

Why pays for these studies?
Why is there such passion to convince people to consume eggs.

Does one ever tell consumers do not drink milk it will change your DNA?

Why sell processed foods?
Why kill heirloom produce?
Why poison water?

This all has a bearing on our food intake.
We cannot segregate and say we are talking about eggs here. It is only by seeing the bigger picture one hopefully understands.

I say these words that you too may have safe food and health.

I wish you too Peace and not Pieces!!!

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