By Madelyn Fernstrom

Go ahead, enjoy your omelet.

new study published Friday in JAMA has tossed some major confusion into the egg debate: Are eggs good for you, or are you putting yourself at risk for heart disease?

The researchers were looking for an association between daily cholesterol or eggs consumption with cardiovascular disease. So they combined findings from six different studies, involving 30,000 participants over 17 years, and analyzed the findings. Their conclusion? For each additional 300 milligrams a day of cholesterol in the diet, there was a significant increase of risk of cardiovascular disease and risk of early death from any cause.

You can relax. Eggs remain a nutrient-rich healthful choice, when eaten in moderation.

While this study sounds strong, there are a lot of gaps in information and assumptions that can be both misleading and confusing. And while the main focus is on statistical modeling, it’s most important to take a closer look at where the raw data, the information about what the participants ate, came from that was analyzed.

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The thousands of participants were a result of combining studies where the information was collected differently. The technique of combining studies, called meta-analyses, to provide larger numbers, often minimizes the fact that the data collection is highly variable, and often not comparable.