In a new study, researchers found that a person’s intake of whole eggs and cholesterol was linked to a higher risk of death, while intake of egg whites or egg substitutes was linked to lower death.
The research was conducted by a team at Zhejiang University.
Whether consumption of egg and cholesterol is detrimental to heart health and longevity is highly debated, and data from large studies are scarce.
In the study, the team analyzed data from 521,120 participants from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.
Participants were aged 50-71 years old, 41.2% women, 91.8% non-Hispanic white, and were recruited from 6 states and 2 cities in the US between 1995 and 1996.
During a mean follow-up of 16 years, 129,328 people died.
The team found whole egg consumption, as reported in a food questionnaire, was strongly linked to higher all-cause mortality.
Every intake of an additional 300 mg dietary cholesterol intake per day was linked to a 19% higher death risk and each additional half a whole egg per day was linked to a 7% higher death risk.
In contrast, egg whites/substitutes consumption was strongly linked to lower death risk.
Replacing half a whole egg with an equivalent amount of egg whites/substitutes was linked to a reduction of 3% in heart disease mortality.
The findings suggest that people should limit cholesterol intake and replace whole eggs with egg whites/substitutes or other alternative protein sources to improve their heart health and longevity.
One author of the study is Yu Zhang.
The study is published in PLOS Medicine.