A low or high consumption of eggs is found to be safe in generally healthy or diabetic persons. Scientists found that dietary cholesterol in eggs has little effect in the overall bad cholesterol levels in the blood. (Photo : Alfredo Estrella | AFP/Getty Images)

Researchers at the University of Sydney have cleared up a continuing belief that eating eggs could increase cardiovascular risk for pre-diabetic and diabetic persons.

A new study published May 7 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating up to 12 eggs a week for a year does not increase cholesterol levels.

Participants of the initial clinical trial were asked to maintain their weight while on a high-egg and low-egg diets for three months. Researchers defined that the high-egg diet entails eating 12 eggs per week while participants on low-egg diet shall consume less than two eggs per week.

For an additional three months, the same participants were asked to undergo a weight loss program while maintaining the same high-egg and low-egg diets. They were followed up for a total of 12 months

Overall, researchers did not observe adverse changes in cardiovascular risk markers for both groups. The participants also achieved significant weight loss despite their egg consumptions.

“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 lead author Dr. Nick Fuller, from the University’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders.

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Fuller said the results of the study benefits people in the general as well as in the pre-diabetic and diabetic populations.

“People with prediabetes or T2D who consumed a 3-mo high-egg weight-loss diet with a 6-mo follow-up exhibited no adverse changes in cardiometabolic markers compared with those who consumed a low-egg weight-loss diet. A healthy diet based on population guidelines and including more eggs than currently recommended by some countries may be safely consumed,” the researchers said.

Health Benefits Of Eggs

Eggs are among the richest sources of dietary cholesterol. While this is the case, it also presents a wide range of nutritional benefits like proteins and micronutrients attributed to good heart health.

Compared to common breakfast options like cereals, pancakes, or bagels, eggs are found to be a healthier choice. Eggs are rich sources of biotin, vitamin A, and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

In deciding whether eggs are beneficial or not, experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health advised looking at the context of the entire diet.

Previous studies showed that moderate consumption of eggs, up to one egg per day, did not pose cardiovascular risks in healthy individuals. Additionally, the cholesterol found in eggs has little effect on the LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Overall, nutrition experts said it is best to maintain a moderate to low egg-based diet with an emphasis on plant-based proteins.

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