Full disclosure, I hate egg whites. Eggs need that nice yellow bit in the middle, the tasty part. So, I am very happy to say that University of Sydney researchers1 may have cleared up the contradictory advice around egg consumption, namely that eating up to 12 eggs per week for a year did not increase cardiovascular risk factors. The research was done on people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes who are more prone to have higher levels of the bad cholesterol.
In the initial trial, participants aimed to maintain their weight while embarking on a high-egg (12 eggs per week) or low-egg (less than two eggs per week) diet, with no difference in cardiovascular risk markers identified at the end of three months. The same participants then embarked on a weight loss diet for an additional three months, while continuing their high or low egg consumption. For a further six months (up to 12 months in total) participants were followed up by researchers and continued their high or low egg intake.
According to the researchers, at all stages, both groups showed no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk markers and achieved equivalent weight loss—regardless of their level of egg consumption.
“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,” said Dr. Nick Fuller from the University’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise, and Eating Disorders at the Charles Perkins Centre.
“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),” he added.
The extended study tracked a broad range of cardiovascular risk factors including cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, with no significant difference in results between the high egg and low egg groups.
“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,” Dr. Fuller explained.
Dr. Fuller said the findings of the study were important due to the potential health benefits of eggs for people with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as the general population (that’s where I come in with my in-home omelet bar).
“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.”
The different egg diets also appeared to have no impact on weight, Dr. Fuller said.
“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 months intended weight loss phase had ended,” he said.
I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear this because I spent a lot of time on my own in a small apartment living off of scrambled eggs and toast because that was all I could afford. Never lost that habit.
1. Nicholas R Fuller, Amanda Sainsbury, Ian D Caterson, Gareth Denyer, Mackenzie Fong, James Gerofi, Chloris Leung, Namson S Lau, Kathryn H Williams, Andrzej S Januszewski, Alicia J Jenkins, Tania P Markovic. Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018.