Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Linked to Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Victor Wenze Zhong, Ph.D.Postdoctoral fellowDepartment of Preventive MedicineFeinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern University 680 N Lake Shore Dr, Suite 1400Chicago, IL 60611

Dr. Zhong

Victor Wenze Zhong, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral fellow
Department of Preventive Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
Chicago, IL 60611 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Dietary cholesterol is a common nutrient in human diet. Eggs, specially egg yolks, are the single richest source of dietary cholesterol among all commonly consumed foods. The associations between dietary cholesterol consumption and cardiovascular disease and mortality remain controversial despite decades of research. Eating less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day was the guideline recommendation before 2015. However, the most recent 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer include a daily consumption limit for dietary cholesterol and recommend weekly egg consumption as part of the healthy US-style eating pattern. Whether these recommendations are appropriate have been intensely debated.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We identified dose-response associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Greater consumption means higher risk.

  • US adults who ate more dietary cholesterol had higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.
  • US adults who ate more eggs had higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. This positive association appeared to be driven by the high dietary cholesterol content of eggs. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Contrary to the recommendation from the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, our study suggests that dietary cholesterol is still a nutrient of concern for overconsumption. Any level of egg consumption is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality, because we found a dose-response association. For reducing risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death, limiting consumption of cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs (specially egg yolks), processed meat, unprocessed red meat is important. This recommendation is appropriate even for those who consume a healthy eating pattern.   

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future studies are needed to understand the mechanisms underlying the positive associations of dietary cholesterol or egg consumption with incident cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Our study has limitations. This is an observational study that cannot prove that dietary cholesterol or egg intake can cause cardiovascular disease or death. Also, we cannot rule out residual confounding.​ 

Citation:

Zhong VW, Van Horn L, Cornelis MC, et al. Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality. JAMA. 2019;321(11):1081–1095. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1572

Apr 2, 2019 @ 1:31 am 

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2 thoughts on “Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Linked to Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality

  1. I have read Dr Zhong’s article in JAMA March 19,2019 entitled : “Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality”. I found the article interesting. I have a question about the older adults in their 70’s and older if he found any morbidity and or mortality associated with increase Cholesterol intake. In other words as a person ages is cholesterol in a person over 70 a great concern for increase morbidity and mortality versus those under 70.
    Thank you
    Gordon Rafool,MD
    Geritrician in Winter Haven, Florida
    gjraf@aol.com

  2. We break down the latest research here as well and explain why eggs can still be part of a healthy diet: ttps://www.qunol.com/blogs/blog/are-eggs-healthy-or-not?utm_source=respond&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=eggs-research

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