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Are you bad for your heart? Experts weigh new findings



CBS NEWS

Research from Northwestern Medicine finds that adults who ate several eggs per week and high levels of dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

The findings suggest it may be time to re-evaluate the current U.S. Pat. cholesterol or eggs, the researchers say.

"The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks," one of the authors, Norrina Allen, Ph. D., associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, said in a statement. "As part of a healthy diet, people need to consume lower amounts of cholesterol. People who consume less cholesterol have a lower risk of heart disease. "

Prior to 201

5, eating less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day.

The new research makes a strong case for bringing that limit

Allen and her team pooled data on nearly 30,000 racially and ethnically diverse adults between 1985 and 2016. Participants were asked about their dietary habits over the last month or year in an extensive questionnaire. By the end of the follow-up period, 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 deaths from any cause.

18 percent higher risk of death.

Eggs were then looked at specifically because they are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol. One large egg contains about 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in the yolk.

The researchers found that eating three to four eggs per week was linked to a 6 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and an 8 percent higher risk of any cause of death , The findings were published today in JAMA.

Compared with previous studies, "this report is far more comprehensive, with enough data to make a strong statement that the cholesterol intake is important in affecting the risk" of heart disease and death, dr. Robert H. Eckel writes in an editorial published along with the study.

Why is there so much conflicting guidance on eggs? healthy choices.

"I totally understand that people would be confused and frustrated." Leslie Cho, a preventive cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, told CBS News.

It's a very large study with a very large number of different types of patients. These are all good things, "she said. "But in general, any dietary study is fraught with difficulty because of the problem of patient recall. Do you remember what you are doing last week? Because I do not. It's the same thing with patients. "

Most dietary studies are so observational, making their findings less reliable. That's because a randomized controlled trial of the safety and efficacy of a drug, it's difficult to randomly control what people eat over a long period of time, especially with a large sample size.

However, although flawed, Cho says these

"In science, the way it works, we do not think of it as a study of the final word," she said.

Bottom line: Moderation is key

It is important to note that no one, including the study authors, is saying you need to

"We want to remind people there is cholesterol in eggs, specifically yolks, and this has a harmful effect," said Allen, who said she would cook scrambled eggs for her children. "Eat them in moderation."

Cho says they never stopped recommending their cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day or they said they could eat as many as they want.

"In addition to dietary cholesterol "There's a cancer risk involved in eating eggs and other animal products," she said.

She recommends sticking to a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in heart-healthy plant-based foods that are low in cholesterol, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.

"Time and time again, it's been shown to improve survival," Cho said. "This is the diet we should be adopting."


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