For decades, doctors have been telling people that eggs can increase cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Medical experts advised limiting or completely avoiding the consumption of eggs (especially yolks), because dietary cholesterol could potentially raise blood cholesterol levels, therefore increasing the risk of heart problems.
For 12 weeks, researchers observed 37 men and women aged 30–70 as they consumed a moderately carbohydrate-restricted diet. Each day the participants consumed either three whole eggs or the equivalent amount (about 1/2 cup) of yolk-free egg substitute. Each daily serving of whole eggs contained 534mg cholesterol, 0g carbs, 16g protein, 12g fat, and about 186 calories. In contrast, the daily serving of egg substitute contained about 2g carbs, 14g protein, and about 60 calories. After 12 weeks, both groups on the low-carb diet had experienced a 4% weight loss. The results are really interesting: Both groups eating the low-carb diet had a decrease in cardiovascular risks. The subjects also experienced decreased triglycerides and increased HDL cholesterol, as well as increased LDL particle size. However, those eating the whole eggs ended up with greater increases in HDL. The researchers concluded that whole-egg consumption, along with a moderately carbohydrate-restricted diet, resulted in improved cardiovascular profiles in participants with insulin resistance.
And there’s more. According to a recent addition of the Journal of Food and Function, eggs can also boost carotenoid levels in the body. Carotenoids are found in natural foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and have been found to lower mortality from a number of chronic illnesses. The researchers had participants consume three whole eggs per day or the equivalent amount of yolk-free egg substitute as part of a carbohydrate-restricted diet for 12 weeks. By the end of the study, the whole-egg group had significant increases in plasma carotenoid levels (lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene), while the egg-substitute group had increases in plasma beta-carotene only. Daily intake of three whole eggs, as part of a calorie-restricted diet, increased both plasma and lipoprotein lutein and zeaxanthin. Bottom line: Egg yolk could be useful for improving plasma carotenoid status in a population at high risk for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.