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Are eggs good or bad for you? New research revives debate

LOS ANGELES – The latest US research on eggs is not going to be easy for those who can not eat breakfast without them.

Adults eating about 1½ eggs a day had a slightly higher risk of heart disease than those who did not eat eggs. The study showed that the more eggs, the greater the risk. The chances of dying early were also increased.

Researchers say the culprit is cholesterol found in egg yolks and other foods, including shellfish, dairy and red meat. The study focused on eggs as they are among the most commonly consumed high cholesterol foods. They can still be part of a healthy diet, but in smaller amounts than many Americans have got used to, the researchers say.

US. Dietary guidelines that lowered cholesterol thresholds have helped eggs make a comeback.

The study has limitations and contradicts recent research, but is likely to revive the long-standing debate about eggs.

The new results have been published online The Journal of American Medical Association.

Researchers from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and elsewhere gathered data from six previous studies and analyzed data from nearly 30,000 adults in the US who reported diet daily. The participants were observed on average for about 1

7 years.

The researchers calculated that those who ate 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily – about 1 ½ eggs – had a 17 percent chance of developing heart disease than those who did not eat eggs.

The researchers based their conclusions on what the participants had eaten at the beginning of each study. They took into account high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and other features that can contribute to heart problems. Risks were generally found with eggs and cholesterol; A separate analysis was not performed for any high-cholesterol diet.

Dr. Bruce Lee of Johns Hopkins University said nutrition studies are often weak because they rely on people remembering what they ate.

"We know that food recall can be awful," Lee said. The new study contains only observational data, but does not show that eggs and cholesterol caused heart disease and deaths, said Lee, who was not involved in the research.

Norrina Allen, a specialist in preventive medicine, noted that the study lacks information about whether participants ate hard-boiled, poached, fried or buttered eggs, which could be detrimental to health risks.

Some people say, "I can eat as many eggs as I want," but the results suggest that moderation is a better approach, she said.

Eggs are a leading source of dietary cholesterol, which was previously thought to be highly correlated with blood cholesterol and heart disease. Older studies indicate that this relationship led to dietary guidelines almost a decade ago, which recommended that people consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. An egg contains about 186 milligrams.

Recent research questioned this relationship and found that saturated fats contribute more to unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart problems.

The latest US dietary guidelines of 2015 broke the strict daily cholesterol limit. Although it is advisable to eat as little cholesterol as possible, it is recommended to consider eggs as a healthy protein source alongside lean meats, poultry, beans and nuts as part of a healthy diet. Nutrition experts say the new study will not change this advice.

Dr. Harvard University's Frank Hu noted that most previous studies have shown that eating a few eggs a week is not associated with risks for heart disease in generally healthy people.

"I do not think this study would change the general guidelines for healthy eating." That emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans, as well as limiting processed meat and sugar, Hu said. Eggs, for many a breakfast food, may be included, but other options should be considered, such as wholemeal bread with nut butters, fresh fruit and yoghurt, Hu said.

Dr. Rosalind Coleman, a professor of nutrition and pediatrics at the University of North Carolina, offered broader advice.

"The main message for the public is not to choose a single type of food as" bad "or" good ", but to evaluate your overall diet in terms of variety and quantity.

"I'm sorry if it seems like a boring recommendation," she added, but for most people, the most important diet recommendation should be "to maintain a healthy weight" to exercise and get enough sleep.


Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @ LindseyTanner .

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