Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia found consuming up to a dozen eggs a week did not increase the risk of heart problems in diabetics, contradicting previous claims of adverse effects. The findings emerged from an extended study conducted at the Sydney Medical School and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, following a previous trial with similar results.
The paper titled "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" was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on May 7.
While eggs are considered an excellent source of protein and antioxidants, they also contain high levels of dietary cholesterol ranging between 141 to 234 milligrams per egg. Since people with type-2 diabetes have higher levels of LDL cholesterol (a risk factor for heart disease), some have recommended they avoid including eggs in their diet. But researchers of the new study rejected this advice, stating consuming up to a dozen eggs a week may be safe.
"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 lead author Dr. Nicholas Fuller, research program leader from the Charles Perkins Centre.
For the study, 128 participants who had type-2 diabetes went on either a high-egg diet or a low-egg diet, which respectively comprised of 12 eggs per week or less than two eggs per week. While they focused on maintaining their weight for the first three months, the rest of the 12-month study period was focused on weight loss.
Dr. Fuller explained that both groups achieved equivalent weight loss and did not experience adverse changes in cardiovascular risk factors at any stage of the study.
"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," he said. Based on the results, the consumption of eggs appeared to have a minimal effect on the levels of cholesterol in the blood of the participants.
Eggs are noted as a superfood, with even a single boiled egg containing healthy amounts of calcium, zinc, protein, and vitamins A, B5, B12, D, K, E, etc. For a pre-workout snack, eggs are highly recommended as they supply the body with adequate energy. They also provide antioxidants and a feeling of fullness, which could explain how they support weight loss efforts, as noted in the study.
"A healthy diet based on population guidelines and including more eggs than currently recommended by some countries may be safely consumed," the study stated, in conclusion.