PEOPLE should not hold off from eating eggs in fear of developing heart disease, says a nutrition expert.
A randomised control trial, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on Monday, found eating up to 12 eggs a week does not increase cardiovascular risk factors, even for people with type 2 diabetes.
In the past there has been debate about egg consumption over concern eggs raise blood cholesterol levels.
In Australia the National Heart Foundation recommends a maximum of six eggs per week for people with type 2 diabetes, who are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
But Dr Nick Fuller from the University’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders at the Charles Perkins Centre, says the recommendation is based on outdated science and should be changed.
“In the past it has been reported that people that were on high egg diets were more likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes but a lot of those didn’t explain for different factors like what else was in the diet,” he said.
Dr Fuller says it’s more likely the foods high in saturated fat that are often served with eggs, such as butter or bacon, that are harmful.
“People can be having many more eggs than what we are currently being told in Australia,” he said.
For the trial, participants at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital were put on either a high-egg (12 eggs per week) or low-egg (less than two eggs per week) diet for 12 months.
After the first three months of the trial, participants were put on a weight loss program where they were educated on swapping foods high in saturated fats with good fats, for example swapping butter with olive oil or avocado.
Researchers tracked a broad range of cardiovascular risk factors including cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
At the end of the trial, both groups of participants showed no adverse changes in cardiovascular risk markers, Dr Fuller said.
“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.
The research, which was supported with a grant from Australian Eggs, also showed the different egg diets had no impact on weight loss.
“Eggs are a nutritious food and having up to 12 eggs a week will not have an adverse effect on your cardiovascular risk profile or diabetes risk,” Dr Fuller said.