The researchers followed almost 30,000 adults over three decades and found that eating three or four eggs a week was tied to a 6 percent higher risk of heart disease and an 8 percent risk of dying from any cause.
In a finding sure to crack the heart of egg-lovers everywhere, a new study says the breakfast staple is a high source of dietary cholesterol, which is linked to increased risk of heart disease and premature death.
Still, it offers 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", physician Robert Eckel, of the University of Colorado, wrote in an editorial in JAMA.
"Individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern", the guidelines state.
A potential reason for inconsistent results in the past was the fact that other studies did not take into account that egg consumption may be related to other unhealthy behaviors, such as low physical activity, smoking and an unhealthy diet.
A recent Chinese study even concluded cholesterol decreased the risk of cardiovascular disease.
"The more cholesterol you consume, the higher your risk of heart disease and dying", said study senior author Norrina Allen, an associate professor of preventive medicine from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The study focused on eggs because they're among the most commonly eaten cholesterol-rich foods.
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. "In general, foods that are higher in dietary cholesterol, such as fatty meats and high-fat dairy products, are also higher in saturated fats". It's not specifically the eggs, but the cholesterol in eggs that seems to be the problem, according to a new study. According to industry data, the average American will eat more eggs in 2019 than any time for the past 20 years. By the end of the follow-up period, the group had experienced 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 deaths from any cause.
"We want to remind people there is cholesterol in eggs, specifically yolks, and this has a harmful effect", Allen said.
The researchers based their conclusions on what participants said they ate at the start of each study.
In France, national nutrition guidelines refute the idea that you should not eat more than two eggs a week: "You can eat them regularly".
"The main message for the public is not to select a single type of food as "bad" or "good" but to evaluate your total diet in terms of variety and amount".
Dr. Terrence Sacchi, chief of cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital in New York City and was not involved in the research, said this study is a "wake-up call not to overdo high-cholesterol foods". "We've always said you can have egg whites but you should probably limit your amount of egg yolk consumption". "For example, poached eggs on whole-grain toast is a much healthier meal than a traditional fry up".