Does Eating a Dozen Eggs a Week Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease?
Title: 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
Author: Fuller et al
Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2018)
Objective: To assess the effects of the high-egg compared with the low-egg diets as part of a 3-mo weight-loss period, followed by a 6-mo follow-up period for a total duration of 12 mo.
Egg intake has been controversial for decades. This is mostly related to the high fat and cholesterol content of a single egg and the historical belief that dietary fat was bad for you. Specifically, one egg has 5g of fat, of which 1.5g are saturated, 0.7g are polyunsaturated and 2g are monounsaturated. They also have 185 mg of cholesterol, which is nearly ⅔ of your recommended daily value.
However, newer research is casting doubt on several nutritional myths. The first is that saturated fat is bad for you. The second is that dietary cholesterol does not equal serum cholesterol or the cholesterol level you get on a lab test.
Studies have shown little to no association between egg intake and cardiovascular disease or mortality in the general population. Despite this, controversy exists. In some smaller studies, egg intake may even have a protective effect on the risk of cardiovascular disease, meaning strokes and heart attacks.
The authors of this study completed a 12 month trial of pre-diabetic patients with specific diet instructions to emphasis mono- and polyunsaturated fats to assess the relationship of egg intake in pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics with cardiovascular disease.
There were 128 participants in this prospective, randomized, controlled, parallel-arm study
Participants were instructed to restrict their calorie intake to 2,100 calories per day.
They were instructed to replace saturated fats with mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
They measured vital signs, serum markers of cardiovascular disease, anthropometric measures, nutritional analysis of food diary and food questionnaire at 3, 6 and 12 months.
Both the high and low-egg consumers had similar weight loss of 3.1 kg at 12 months. (p = 0.48)
There were no differences between low and high egg consumers regarding serum glucose, hemoglobin A1c (a marker of diabetes), serum lipids, markers of inflammation (CRP, IL-6, E-selectin, F2-isoprostane), and adiponectin from 0 to 12 months.
The high egg consumers had similar serum markers of cardiovascular disease, inflammation and similar weight loss as the low egg consumers measured over 1 year.
In other words, at all stages of the study, there were no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk markers regardless of egg consumption.
This is a good study. Hopefully it helps clarify some of the confusion regarding eggs consumption in healthy folks as well as individuals with diabetes.
So go ahead and eat eggs! They are good for you!
Fuller, N. R., Sainsbury, A., & Caterson, I. D. (2018). 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. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy048