New study unscrambles myths about eggs, heart health and type 2 diabetes

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New research denies a link between higher intakes of eggs, cholesterol imbalance and elevated risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events or type 2 diabetes.
Since the 1970s, due to a one-sided focus on the effects of cholesterol in CVD, dietary guidelines have recommended limiting egg intake to between two and four per week or even less for people with type 2 diabetes or history of CVD.
However, a growing body of research now suggests that dietary cholesterol is not of concern based on the fact that there aren’t any appreciable relationships between cholesterol in the diet and blood cholesterol or CVD.
Many of these earlier studies about the diet-heart hypothesis and cholesterol also formed the basis for meta-analysis on the associations of egg consumption and incidence of type 2 diabetes.
In those, it was highlighted that consuming seven or more eggs per week was tied to a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes and that, among people with type 2 diabetes, frequent consumers of eggs may experience more CVD events.
All of this outdated and possibly incorrect evidence sparked calls for further scrutiny, which is why Dutch researchers from the University of Copenhagen set out to analyse more recent (
Their findings are severalfold. First, they found that there is little or no consistency between egg consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes in studies with follow-ups as long as seven years.
It was also shown that, in healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes, no direct associations exist between egg consumption and coronary artery calcium, a marker for the development of atherosclerosis.
Among people at higher risk for CVD, egg consumption was generally inversely associated with dyslipidemia and, in some cases, those who consumed them had less visible atherosclerotic plaque when they underwent a coronary angiography.
In terms of the impact of eggs on cholesterol levels, a few well-designed studies found no adverse effects of a high (one to three eggs daily) versus low egg consumption for up to one year among healthy adults and those with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
There is sometimes a higher increase of total and LDL cholesterol, but this is almost always accompanied by an increase in protective HDL cholesterol which tends to persist over time while triglycerides stay low and total and LDL cholesterol stop rising.
Overall, recent evidence seems to suggest that up to two eggs per day can be safely consumed in the context of a healthy lifestyle as they have either neutral or slightly positive effects on various risk markers of CVD or type 2 diabetes.
In addition to their health benefits, eggs can increase satiety and constitute healthful alternatives to harmful foods in our modern diet such as processed meat, refined grains and sugars.