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Egg, Cholesterol Intake Linked to Higher Mortality

THURSDAY, March 4, 2021 -- Intakes of eggs and cholesterol are associated with higher all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer mortality, according to a study published online Feb. 9 in PLOS Medicine.

Pan Zhuang, from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, and colleagues examined the associations between egg and cholesterol intakes with mortality from all causes, CVD, and other causes. The analysis included 521,120 participants (aged 50 to 71 years; mean age, 62.2 years; 41.2 percent women; 91.8 percent non-Hispanic White) recruited from six states and two additional cities in the United States between 1995 and 1996, with follow-up through 2011.

The researchers found that whole egg and cholesterol intakes were both positively associated with all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality. For intake of an additional half of a whole egg per day, there was an increased risk for all-cause mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.07), CVD mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.07), and cancer mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.07). The associated risk for each intake of an additional 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day was 19 percent for all-cause mortality, 16 percent for CVD mortality, and 24 percent for cancer mortality. According to a mediation analysis, 63.2 percent of all-cause mortality, 62.3 percent of CVD mortality, and 49.6 percent of cancer mortality associated with whole egg consumption was influenced by cholesterol intake. Consumers of egg white or egg substitute had lower all-cause mortality and mortality from stroke, cancer, respiratory disease, and Alzheimer disease versus nonconsumers.

"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 write.

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