A single medium-sized egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol, or about 62 percent of the recommended daily intake, while a large one contains 213 mg of cholesterol.
Because of their cholesterol content, eggs have gotten a bad reputation and many people fear that frequent consumption would elevate their cholesterol in the blood, which could contribute to heart disease.
Findings of a new study, however, debunk the idea that eating eggs regularly is bad for the health. It also supports the dietary guidelines of the American Heart Association (AHA) that green-lights healthy adults to consume eggs.
Researchers have found that a relatively high intake of dietary cholesterol or consuming one egg daily is not linked with increased risk of incident coronary heart disease.
For the new study, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Feb.10, Jyrki Virtanen, from the University of Eastern Finland, and colleagues looked at the dietary habits of more than 1,000 men.
The participants were not diagnosed of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study but over a span of 21 years, 230 of them had a heart attack.
By assessing the participants' diet, the researchers have found that high consumption of dietary cholesterol was not linked with increased odds for incident coronary heart disease.
The study likewise has showed that consumption of eggs is not linked with incident of coronary heart disease risk nor with the thickening of the carotid artery walls. Participants in the highest control group consumed an average of 520 mg of dietary cholesterol and ate about one egg per day.
What makes the findings more interesting is that no increased risk for heart disease was observed even in those who have ApoE4 phenotype, which affects cholesterol metabolism. Of the participants, 32.5 percent were carriers of ApoE4 phenotype.
Carriers of APOE4 are genetically predisposed to experience more impact of dietary cholesterol on their serum cholesterol levels so while the effects of dietary cholesterol on general populations are modest, the effect is stronger in those with APOE4.
"Egg or cholesterol intakes were not associated with increased CAD risk, even in ApoE4 carriers (i.e., in highly susceptible individuals)," the researchers wrote in their study.
The findings give good reason not to be afraid of eating eggs.