Egg Yolk Cholesterol Not Linked to Heart Disease, But Is It Fine to Eat Eggs Daily?

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Feb 21, 2016 06:00 AM EST

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 05: In this photo illustration an egg yolk and its shell are pictured on January 5, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. German authorities across the country are on high alert following the disclosure that the animal feeds company Harles and Jentsch GmbH sold large quantities of dioxin-tainted animal feed to poultry and hog farmers. Authorites in Lower Saxony have halted eggs and meats shipments from 1,000 farms as a precaution, and consumer groups have warned the public against eating eggs for the time being. (Photo : Andreas Rentz/Getty Image)

For years, eggs have always had this polarizing persona in terms of how people perceive them health-wise, much like their fellow morning staple, the coffee. While some approve of their health benefits, others express their criticisms, primarily because of the cholesterol content of the egg yolk.

One study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adds a vote of confidence to the benefits of eggs. The findings suggest that dietary cholesterol, including that from eating eggs, does not have anything to do with increased heart disease risk.

The Long-Term Finnish Study

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki took into account health records from more than 1,000 men aged between 42 and 60 years old from 1984 to 1989, which was part of the prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.

The study's population also included 32.5 percent of the group, or about 1 in 3 men, who are the carrier of the ApoE4 phenotype, a type of gene linked to heart problems.

The participants' diet contained about 2,800 milligrams of cholesterol per week, on average, including that from consuming about four eggs weekly. They were monitored for about 21 years, wherein 230 cases of coronary artery disease were recorded.

The Findings Indicate No Significant Link

After taking some factors into consideration, such as age, education, smoking and body mass index, the authors of the study found that egg or cholesterol intake is not associated with the increased risk of coronary artery disease. The findings apply to those with the APOE gene who are more susceptible to heart problems.

Furthermore, the data also showed that egg or cholesterol intake has no link to an increase in the common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CCA-IMT), or the thickness of the inner two layers of the major arteries.

So, Is It OK to Eat One Egg a Day?

According to Jyrki Viranen from the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Eastern Finland, the inclusion of an egg in one's daily diet is safe for healthy individuals.

This was the same finding from a 2003 study published in the British Medical Journal that evaluated 115,000 adults over 14 years. The American Heart Association also recommends one egg per day or seven in a week, at most.

"Moderate intake of cholesterol doesn't seem to increase the risk of heart disease, even among those people at higher risk," said Viranen, who is also one of the co-authors of the study.

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