New study indicates no association between egg and cholesterol intake and heart disease risk in Finnish men


A recently published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who consumed moderate amounts of eggs and moderate-to-large quantities of cholesterol did not exhibit greater coronary artery disease (CAD) rates or greater coronary artery intima-media thickness over a 20 year period than did men who ate fewer eggs or less cholesterol. The lack of a relationship between egg and cholesterol intake and CAD rates persisted in men with an ApoE4 phenotype that makes them more susceptible to heart disease.

The findings of this study corroborate a growing number of studies indicating little or no association between dietary cholesterol intake and the risk of CVD.  Further, they take recent meta analyses such as those by Rong et al (BMJ, 2013; 346:e8539) and Shin et al (AJCN, 2013;98:146-159) one step further. These analyses found no association between egg intake and higher risk of CVD in healthy populations; the Finnish study indicated that men with a higher genetic predisposition of developing CVD were not at greater risk even after long term egg and/or cholesterol intake.

With an eye towards dietary guidance, the researchers concluded that they

“…did not find any indications of a relation of moderate egg consumption (up to 1 egg/d) or moderate-to-high dietary cholesterol intake with increased CVD risk, even in highly susceptible individuals. Hence although our results are based on a rather small population, the findings suggest that removal of the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol intake (including egg consumption) does not involve a marked risk for population health.”

Data from this trial were gleaned from the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, an ongoing prospective study designed to investigate risk factors for CVD, atherosclerosis, and related outcomes in men from Eastern Finland.

For more details on the study, check (here).


Reference Citation

Virtanen JK, Mursu J, Virtanen HEK, Fogelholm M, Salonen JT, Koskinen TT, Voutilainen S, Tomi-Pekka T. “Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intimia-media thickness and risk of incident coronary artery disease according to apolipoprotein E phenotype in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study” Am J Clin Nutr 2016 [E-pub ahead of print].

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