True or false – are eggs high in cholesterol?
“Old research showed that eggs raise plasma cholesterol levels,” explains Professor Noakes. “So there was some paranoia about eggs. (However) more contemporary research shows the cholesterol in eggs has only a very small effect on cholesterol levels, but that this is due to increases in HDL cholesterol (or “good cholesterol) which is a beneficial effect.
Furthermore, it has been shown that eating eggs every day is not associated with cardiovascular risk as was once presumed. In fact our most recent national Dietary Guidelines support that there are no increased health risks from egg consumption.”
What are the health benefits of eating eggs?
“Eggs are a very economical source of very high quality protein, in addition to eleven vitamins and minerals,” says Professor Noakes. “The high protein content in eggs can be very satisfying and help to control hunger. Interestingly, eggs are good source of omega 3 fats which are also found in fish.
Eggs also contain folic acid, which we generally think comes only from green leafy vegetables. The yolk of the egg also contains the lutein and zeathanthin which are important for eye health.
How many eggs can we safely eat each week?
“Eggs are certainly ok to eat every day as part of a healthy eating pattern and older people in particular could benefit from eating more eggs,” says Professor Noakes.
“Our research shows that Australians are eating on average of 5.8 eggs per week and that those people who ate more eggs had a better quality diet, eating more vegetables and fewer junk foods.”
Do people with type 2 diabetes need to be more cautious when it comes to eating eggs?
“People with type 2 diabetes definitely need to be more cautious about eating a healthy diet but they don't need to fear eating eggs,” assures Professor Noakes. “We conducted a study in people with type 2 diabetes where they followed the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet which contained either two eggs per day or no eggs.
The results showed that in addition to losing weight, the higher egg diet resulted in better lipid profiles, increased plasma folate and lutein levels as well as the expected improvements in blood glucose and blood pressure levels.
Additional research by the University of Sydney showed that in type 2 diabetes, a healthy high egg diet without weight loss can be included safely as part of the dietary management of type 2 diabetes and may provide greater satiety.”