Traditionally, eggs were vilified because of their cholesterol content; however, recent studies alter the way we look at this traditional breakfast food. New research published in May 2018 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition expands upon an earlier study and finds that there was no difference in cardiovascular risk markers at the end of the trial in which two groups of subjects consumed either high-egg or low-egg (12 eggs versus fewer than two eggs per week) diets.

Led by Dr. Nicholas Fuller, currently the research program leader within the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney, the research was conducted by the University of Sydney’s Sydney Medical School and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and focused on the potential weight loss in patients with prediabetes and diabetes who embarked upon a designated dietary change.

The cardiovascular risk markers evaluated included cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, with no significant difference in results between the high and low egg-consumption groups. Although the initial study was limited to 3 months, the expanded study continued to evaluate findings for up 12 months. Additionally, both groups lost roughly the same amount of weight and continued to lose weight beyond the established study period.

Dr. Fuller, who works with the Australian Government and industry to identify and develop cost-effective treatments for the treatment and management of obesity and related physical and mental disorders, was pleased with these findings, noting that “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.” Dr. Fuller added that “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.” For the study, “healthy diets” included monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (such as avocado and olive oil) versus saturated fats (such as butter) in both egg-consumption 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,” he explained.

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