Consuming eggs and other high-cholesterol foods does not increase the risk of heart attack. Furthermore, there is no association between those with the APOE4 phenotype and a high-cholesterol diet.
Dietary cholesterol only affects serum cholesterol. A minor and limited research has found a link between dietary cholesterol and an increase in cardiovascular disease. Worldwide, there are minimal limitations on consuming high-cholesterol foods, but in those with APOE4, which largely impacts cholesterol metabolism, dietary cholesterol can have a greater effect. In Finland particularly, APOE4 is quite common with one-third of the population being a carrier of the gene variant, and so it’s important to know if dietary cholesterol affects this population’s risk of heart attack.
Dietary habits of 1,032 men were followed. None of the men had cardiovascular disease at baseline. During a 21-year follow-up, 230 men developed myocardial infarction and 32.5 percent of the men were carriers of APOE4.
The researchers found that high consumption of dietary cholesterol was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in either the general population, or the APOE4 carriers. Additionally, the daily consumption of eggs – a high-cholesterol food – did not increase the risk of coronary heart disease either. Lastly, the study did not find a link between thickening of the carotid artery walls and a high-cholesterol diet that included daily consumption of eggs.
Limitations to the study are that consumption of cholesterol foods did not exceed 520 mg or more than one egg a day, and thus they cannot establish whether higher amounts are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.