The argument about whether eggs are bad for the heart, is about as old as the chicken and egg dilemma itself. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition aimed to find out about eggs and heart health, not whether the chicken or the egg came first.
Some nutritional experts recommend that people with type 2 diabetes refrain from eating too many eggs and limit consumption of other foods with cholesterol. In recent diet and health news, a study, was conducted at the University of Sydney, in Australia, to find out whether eating eggs is linked to higher risk for heart disease in people with diabetes.
The study participants involved people with pre-diabetes (early signs that diabetes may be impending), and type 2 diabetes (the type that is caused by diet and lack of exercise). The participants ate up to a dozen eggs per week for an entire year, without any increase in cardiovascular (heart) disease risk. The control group ate fewer than 2 eggs per week, and the results were tracked and recorded.
In a previously published 3-month study, researchers discovered that a high egg diet, compared with a low egg diet, did NOT have an adverse effect on cardiovascular risk markers in those with type 2 diabetes. The most current study, published in May of 2018, was a longer term, follow up to the 3-month long egg study.
The lead study author was Dr Nick Fuller at the University’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders Center. Fuller conducted the study with the Sydney Medical School, and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia.
The follow up egg study was aimed at evaluating a wide range of various risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
Participants with prediabetes were given a daily energy restriction diet. One group included a high-egg diet (over 12 eggs per week), the other included a low-egg diet (less than 2 eggs per week). Researchers taught the participants which specific types and quantities of foods to eat. According to Dr. Fuller “A healthy diet as prescribed in this study emphasized replacing saturated fats (such as butter) with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as avocado and olive oil).”
The participants were evaluated at the end of 9 months, then again after a year.
The weight loss was similar from 3 to 12 months, in the high egg, compared with the low egg diet. Blood sugar levels, serum lipids (cholesterol), markers for inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as other factors indicating a high cardiovascular disease risk, were the same in both groups.
People with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes who consumed a high-egg weight-loss diet exhibited no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk markers, compared with those who consumed a low-egg weight-loss diet. “While eggs themselves are high in dietary cholesterol — and people with type 2 diabetes tend to have higher levels of the ‘bad’ low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — this study supports existing research that shows consumption of eggs has little effect on the levels of cholesterol in the blood of the people eating them,” said Dr Fuller.
Researchers report that the study findings indicate that more eggs than are currently recommended may be safe to eat for people with type 2 diabetes.
“Despite differing advice around safe levels of egg consumption for people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, our research indicates people do not need to hold back from eating eggs if this is part of a healthy diet,” Dr Fuller said.
As with any diet suggestion please check with your health advisor before changing your diet.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.