Eggs, High Cholesterol Diet do not Increase Risk of Heart Attack

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Feb 12, 2016 05:00 AM EST

A new study from researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reveals how a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol, or consuming one egg per day, do not contribute to a higher risk of heart attack, Eurekalert reports.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are several factors that increase the risk for high cholesterol, such as a poor diet, obesity, large waist circumference, lack of exercise, smoking, and diabetes.  

For the study, researchers analyzed the dietary habits of 1,032 men with ages 42 to 60, all of which do not have baseline diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. These participants were assessed at the onset of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, in 1984-1989 at the University of Eastern Finland. After 21 years, a follow up was conducted and researchers found that 230 men had a myocardial infraction, while 32.5% of the participants were carriers of APOE4.

APOE4 or apolipoprotein E type 4 allele is a hereditary variant that affects cholesterol metabolism. The effect of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol among those who have APOE4 is greater.

Medical Xpress reports that researchers also found that a high intake of dietary cholesterol had nothing to do with the risk of incident coronary heart disease, whether one was a carrier of APOE4 or not. In fact, consuming eggs, which is a significant source of dietary cholesterol, did not affect one's risk for incident coronary heart disease.

News Medical reports that the study participants had an average daily dietary cholesterol intake of 520 mg and had eaten an average of one egg per day. The findings of the study did not generalize cholesterol intake of beyond 520 mg per day.

"There is a very weak connection between the LDL cholesterol we measure and dietary cholesterol," Dr. Ronald M. Krauss, director of the department of atherosclerosis research at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, told Men's Health. "It is now acknowledged that the original studies purporting to show a linear relation between cholesterol intake and coronary heart disease may have contained fundamental study design flaws."

Men's Health also reports that back in 2008, Americans spent $14 million billion was spent on LDL-lowering medications. However, health authorities say that a large part of the public are still misled when it comes to cholesterol and heart disease, largely due to the generalizations made by previous studies. Nonetheless, the best way to maintain good health is to take foods in moderation and make sure to get moderate, regular exercise.

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