- A new study published in JAMA reignites the debate about whether or not eggs are healthy. The findings report the more eggs and dietary cholesterol you eat, the higher your risk of heart disease and premature death.
- Many experts say this study does not show the whole picture and point to previous research which has suggest the opposite – that eggs are not linked to increased risks of heart disease or stroke.
- We should treat this study with caution and eggs are still safe to eat, says Sydney-based GP Dr Ginni Mansberg
There’s probably no other food so debated as the humble egg. On the one hand they contain 11 different vitamins and minerals and are a great source of protein. On the other, eggs also contain of saturated fat, which has been linked to high cholesterol and heart attacks.
Twenty years ago, the advice was not to eat more than two eggs a week. Then they came back in favour as research showed that most of the cholesterol in our body is made by our liver, and doesn’t come from cholesterol we eat. The Heart Foundation currently advises that you can safely eat up to six or seven eggs each week.
Eggs hit the spotlight again this week after a new study published in Jama found that eating just three to four eggs per week was associated with 6 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 8 percent higher risk of any cause of death.
But the study is not all it’s cracked up to be, says Sydney-based General Practitioner Dr Ginni Mansberg, who urges caution in how the study findings should be interpreted by Australian consumers. “While the research published in JAMA showed a link between egg consumption and a small absolute increase in likelihood of cardiovascular disease event risk (1.1%) in adults in the United States, it is important to note that the study was observational only.”
“This means the researchers are looking for certain patterns in the study population, but can’t demonstrate specific cause and effect. As such, no clear conclusions can be drawn from looking at this single piece of research in isolation,” Dr Mansberg says.
Australia’s peak health bodies, including the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Heart Foundation of Australia, have confirmed that eating eggs daily is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
“Eggs are a nutrient dense whole food and should be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet, that is consistent with the recommendations outlined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines,” says Dr Mansberg.