In March, I talked about the potential benefits of omega-3 eggs. Ironically, shortly before that episode was released, a new study came out that was widely covered in the media, finding that people who ate more than a few eggs a week had an increased risk of heart disease and death.
This headline wouldn’t have raised any eyebrows 20 years ago, when we firmly (but falsely) believed that eating foods that contained cholesterol would contribute to high blood cholesterol and heart disease risk.
But in 2016, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans officially removed cholesterol from the list of nutrients that we need to worry about limiting. This was based on an accumulating stack of epidemiological evidence finding no clear link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk.
In addition to these observational studies, there have also been controlled diet studies which are able to provide more reliable information about cause and effect. Most of these found that diets containing more cholesterol did not increase heart disease risk factors compared to similar diets that were lower in cholesterol.
All of this evidence ultimately led the USDA to take cholesterol off the list of nutrients of concern. This decision was not an impulsive one. In fact, many in the health and nutrition community felt that it took the USDA 10 or 20 years longer than it should have to let eggs and cholesterol off the hook.
When this latest study hit the newswire, dozens of concerned Nutrition Diva listeners reached out to me for comment. And I totally sympathize with those of you who feel jerked around. First eggs are bad. Then they’re fine. Now they’re bad again. So let me try to put this latest headline in perspective.