MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: There is a disparity in research findings between epidemiological studies and randomised controlled trials in those with type 2 diabetes mellitus. A lot of the research showing that a high egg consumption (6 or more eggs per week) is detrimental to a person’s health was conducted at a time when we were told to avoid eggs. People that were eating a high egg diet during that time were also likely to have other poor eating habits, such as one high in saturated fat and low in wholegrain carbohydrates. These studies did not control for such confounding factors.
As a result of this disparity in findings between epidemiological and controlled studies this has resulted in differing guidelines for recommended egg intake between countries.
To address a lack of randomised controlled trials in this field we conducted a large study over 12-months to assess the effect of a high egg consumption (12 eggs per week) on heart disease and diabetes risk factors in a group of people at high risk of cardiovascular heart disease – diagnosed with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus. 140 people were randomised to a high egg diet (12 eggs per week) or a low egg diet (less than 2 eggs per week) and advised on the principles of a healthy diet. For example, including plenty of wholegrain and low glycemic index carbohydrate sources and swapping sources of saturated fat (e.g. butter) for sources of poly and mono-unsaturated fat (e.g. avocado or olive oil). They followed their respective high or low egg diet for 12 months and over the time we measured a comprehensive list of risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Both the low and high egg groups had the same improvements in the health at the end of the 12 months and the high egg diet did not result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Our findings suggest that it is safe for people with type 2 diabetes to include eggs in their daily eating plan and at a level of 12 eggs per week. But this must be in conjunction with a healthy diet – one that is low in saturated fat and high in mono and polyunsaturated fat.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Our research looked at cardiovascular risk factors but not actual risk of cardiovascular events or cardiovascular outcomes. Future research could also look at post-prandial lipid concentrations to assess the effects of an acute high cholesterol load.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: The research was supported with a grant from Australian Eggs but they had no role in the research design, conduct, analyses or writing of the manuscript. In the modern-day environment these important questions that need to be answered can only be done with industry funding. The Australian Government’s National Health & Medical Research Council do not fund such required research.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Nicholas R Fuller, Amanda Sainsbury, Ian D Caterson, Gareth Denyer, Mackenzie Fong, James Gerofi, Chloris Leung, Namson S Lau, Kathryn H Williams, Andrzej S Januszewski, Alicia J Jenkins, Tania P Markovic. 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, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy048
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