Sunday, February 14, 2021

Step away from the omelette: Eating just half an egg a day increases your risk of DEATH by 7%

This finding is from a very carefully analysed study with good controls.  It even allowed for household income, which is unusual.

The analyses were however of quintiles, with most comparisons being with the lowest quintile.  Quintile analyses are always suspicious.  They suggest that there was no overall significance in the data. What would a simple correlation between egg consumption and lifespan show after partialling out confounders?  We are not told.  My guess that it would be so low as to be of no concern.  Complex statistics can conceal as much as they reveal

Boiled, fried, scrambled or in an omelette, whole eggs pose a threat to health and eating more of them increases your risk of death, a study claims.

Researchers found eating just half a whole egg — which includes the yolk and the white — increases the likelihood of dying by seven per cent.

Risk of death increases by a further seven per cent for every half an egg on top of this, so a person eating one egg a day has at 14 per cent greater chance of death than someone who avoids the food.

Chinese researchers who led the study believe high fat and cholesterol levels in eggs are to blame.

They warned that people should use only the whites or switch to healthier egg substitutes, which lower the risk of dying.

Substituting an equivalent amount of nuts or legumes for half a whole egg reduced death rates by up to a third. Poultry, dish or dairy products had a similar effect.

Researchers gave a questionnaire to more than half a million Americans  between 1995 and 1996 and followed them for 16 years.

Data from this study, published in PLOS ONE, shows 129,328 people who filled out the original form died.

Co-author Professor Yu Zhang, of Zhejiang University said: 'In this study, intakes of eggs and cholesterol were associated with higher all cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.'

Professor Zhang said: 'The increased mortality associated with egg consumption was largely influenced by cholesterol intake.'

The link between eggs and health has been debated for years. They have long been thought of as a healthy dietary addition.

They are included in many country's national dietary guidelines. But the food, specifically the yolk, is high in cholesterol - which is known to be harmful.

Researchers asked the participants about how much cholesterol they had as part of their diet on top of eggs and found an additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day were 19 per cent more likely to die over the next 16 years.

Deaths specifically from cancer and cardiovascular disease rose by 24 and 16 per cent, respectively.

There is no cholesterol in the white of a medium-large chicken egg, and around 186 mg in the yolk.

'Our findings suggest limiting cholesterol intake and replacing whole eggs with egg whites/substitutes or other alternative protein sources for facilitating cardiovascular health and long-term survival,' the authors say.  

The NHS says eggs are a good choice as part of a healthy, balanced diet. As well as being a source of protein, they also contain vitamins and minerals.

It says there is no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat, but advises cooking them without adding salt or fat. Frying can increase their fat content by around 50 per cent.

'This research makes it possible to look at relationships between what people ate in the past and whether that could be related to disease or death in the future,' says Dr Ada Garcia, a senior lecturer in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Glasgow who was not involved in the research, saus.

'The authors took a very careful approach to analysed the data and consider many aspects that could distort the findings.

'The study concluded that retired people who ate more whole eggs seven per cent higher risk to develop cardiovascular disease. The highest consumption of eggs was about half a small egg in 2000 Kcal per day.'

However, she criticises the methodology and conclusions of the Chinese team, saying: 'Being overweight or obese, smoking or consuming too much alcohol and not being physically active are much more important factors to consider for prevention of chronic diseases and related death.

'The conclusions of this study are overblown. Blaming eggs alone for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease is a simplistic and reductionist approach to the concept of diet and disease prevention.'

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