Researchers believed eggs could be the key to reducing strokes because they contain not only dietary cholesterol, but also high-quality protein, an array of vitamins and bioactive components including phospholipids and carotenoids.
The new findings contradict the latest dietary guidelines for Americans, released in 2015; in them, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that Americans no longer had to worry about keeping their cholesterol intake within a certain limit.
"There's always been a [suggestion in the data] that eggs can raise cholesterol and create cardiovascular harm", said Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of the Cardiovascular Prevention and Wellness program at National Jewish Health hospital in Denver.
The study left egg consumers around the world confused about whether or not eggs are safe for consumption and if yes, then how many eggs should they exactly be consuming on a daily or weekly basis.
Compared with previous studies, "this 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 heart disease and death, Dr. Robert H. Eckel writes in an editorial published along with the study.
Scrambled, poached or over easy: No matter how you take your eggs, there's not really a sunny side to a new study that links egg consumption with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. "As part of a healthy diet, people need to consume lower amounts of cholesterol".
The researchers found that eating just three to four eggs per week was tied to a 6 percent higher risk of heart disease, and an 8 percent risk of dying from any cause, according to HealthDay.More news: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal sail into quarters at Indian Wells
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The researchers calculated that those who ate 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily - about 1 ½ eggs - were 17 percent more likely to develop heart disease than whose who didn't eat eggs. Risks were found with eggs and cholesterol in general; a separate analysis was not done for every cholesterol-rich food.
The researchers said their study looked at almost 30,000 racially and ethnically diverse United States adults from six separate studies with as much as 31 years of followup.
"This study does a good job of parsing the data and identifying dietary cholesterol as an individual and independent component of diet" that's linked with heart disease and mortality, said Dana Hunnes, a senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Whether or not dietary cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke has been debated for decades.
Some people think '"I can eat as many eggs as I want'" but the results suggest moderation is a better approach, she said. Even the researchers who worked on the study aren't happy about it. Nutrition experts say the new study is unlikely to change that advice.
She recommends sticking to a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in heart-healthy plant-based foods that are also low in cholesterol, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
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