Boiled, scrambled, or fried, if you’re an egg lover, a better breakfast is hard to beat. But with eggs often associated with high cholesterol, it can be hard to know whether your meal choice is healthy or not.
Now, a new study from the University of South Australia hopes to crack this long-standing conundrum by testing the effects of high- and low-egg diets, and high- and low-saturated fat diets on cholesterol in the body.
The study will compare the effects of three different diets over five weeks:
- High egg diet – high cholesterol + low saturated fat
- Egg-free diet – low cholesterol + high saturated fat
- Control diet – high cholesterol + high saturated fat (which is representative of the typical Australian diet).
Conducted by UniSA’s Alliance in Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity (ARENA), the study will compare blood cholesterol and other blood lipid levels to determine whether eggs help or hinder cardiovascular disease risk.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver and obtained through the diet. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood it can build up in your blood vessels, making it hard for blood to flow through your arteries. Too much of these fatty deposits can lead to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
CVDs are the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. More than four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, with one third of these deaths occurring prematurely.
Lead researcher, Professor Jon Buckley says eggs have received a raw deal when it comes to cholesterol.
“Dietary cholesterol has long been implicated in increasing bad cholesterol in the blood which promotes cardiovascular disease (CVD),” Prof Buckley says.
“Yet foods that are rich in cholesterol are also typically high in saturated fat, and we now think that it is the saturated fat rather than the cholesterol that’s associated with increasing blood levels of bad cholesterol and the risk of CVD.
“Eggs are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat, so we believe that their consumption does not increase bad cholesterol.
“There’s also evidence that a key nutrient in eggs may cross into the brain and make people more physically active. So, it could be that eggs are beneficial for us rather than increasing the risk of heart disease.”
UniSA is now recruiting suitable participants for the study. If you are aged 18-60 years, a non-smoker, and have healthy blood cholesterol as measured at a screening appointment with UniSA you could be eligible to participate.
The study will take place over five sequential weeks where participants will have aspects of their fitness, weight, eating, and sleep measured. Blood pressure and blood samples will also be collected.
To find out more, please scan the QR code below or visit: https://redcap.link/UniSAEggDietStudy
Contact for interview: Prof Jon Buckley E [email protected]
Media contact: Annabel Mansfield M: +61 417 717 504 E: [email protected]