A new report on the coronary effects of high-cholesterol diets and regular consumption of eggs — which are high in cholesterol compared to other foods — challenges a widely held belief that too many eggs per week can increase one’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
The egg’s rep was especially hurt by groups like the American Heart Association, which recommended during the 1970s that the public limit its cholesterol-rich yolk consumption.
Since then, generations of Americans have come to recognize the egg-white omelette as a sign of a healthy heart, but updated research suggests that one egg per day — which contains approximately 187 milligrams of cholesterol, according to the USDA — does not increase one’s risk of coronary heart disease, even in high-risk individuals who were carriers of APOE4, an allele that negatively affects cholesterol metabolism.
The study, which measured the dietary intakes of 1032 middle-aged men with no known indications of cardiovascular disease, followed up with the subjects two decades later to find that only 230 men had experienced a heart attack (approximately 22 percent), while 32.5 percent of the total subjects were carriers of APOE4.
During the study, the highest control group consumed an average of one egg per day and had an average daily cholesterol intake of 520 milligrams, while the recommended USDA allotment is 300 milligrams. These findings suggest that regular egg consumption and a high level of dietary cholesterol does not independently increase an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease.