SYDNEY — Eggs have long been a source of debate when it comes to health risks because of the amount of cholesterol they contain. Despite previous studies suggesting the opposite, new research now claims eggs do not appear to be linked to heart disease after all.
The recent study by researchers at the University of Sydney found that eating up to a dozen eggs in a week doesn’t pose a more serious risk of cardiovascular disease in people with type-2 diabetes and pre-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,” says Dr. Nick Fuller of the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, in a school release. “A healthy diet as prescribed in this study emphasised replacing saturated fats (such as butter) with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as avocado and olive oil).”
The study was conducted in three stages. The first stage had participants try to maintain their weight while eating 12 eggs per week or two eggs per week for three months. The participants then tried to lower their weight while maintaining their high- or low-egg diet for another three months. The researchers then followed up with the participants, who maintained their egg diets, over the following six months.
At all three stages, the researchers found no difference in cardiovascular risk markers in both groups. These risk factors covered a broad range of symptoms and measurements, including cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
“Interestingly, people on both the high egg and low egg diets lost an equivalent amount of weight – and continued to lose weight after the three month intended weight loss phase had ended,” adds Dr. Fuller. “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.”
Fuller points to the numerous health benefits of consuming eggs, showing that ultimately, the good outweighs the bad when eaten as part of a healthy diet.
“Eggs are a source of protein and micronutrients that could support a range of health and dietary factors including helping to regulate the intake of fat and carbohydrate, eye and heart health, healthy blood vessels and healthy pregnancies,” he says.
It’s important to note the research was funded by a grant from Australian Eggs, however they did not have a role in any aspect of the research design and process, nor the writeup of the study
The full study was published May 7, 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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