Industry-funded research has inappropriately downplayed the effects of egg consumption on cholesterol levels, according to a new review published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Researchers with the Physicians Committee examined all research studies published from 1950 to March of 2019 that evaluated the effect of eggs on blood cholesterol levels and examined funding sources and their influence on study findings. Research published prior to 1970 showed no industry influence on cholesterol research. The percentage of industry-funded studies increased over time, from 0 percent in the 1950s to 60 percent in 2010-2019. More than 85 percent of the research studies, regardless of funding sources, showed that eggs have unfavorable effects on blood cholesterol. Industry-funded studies were more likely to downplay these findings: Forty-nine percent of industry-funded publications reported conclusions that conflicted with actual study results, compared with 13 percent of non-industry-funded trials. Previous research published in JAMA found that eating even small amounts of eggs daily significantly raised the risk for both cardiovascular disease and premature death from all causes. The authors caution the scientific community and the public to remain aware of funding sources when interpreting future research.
Barnard ND, Long MB, Ferguson JM, Flores R, Kahleova H. Industry funding and cholesterol research: A systematic review. Am J Lifestyle Med. Published online December 11, 2019.