Recently the Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study entitled, 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 study purports to show that eating a dozen eggs a week doesn’t effect cardiovascular disease risk.
Now before you go cracking open a case of chicken menses and pouring them down your pie-hole, you might be interested in knowing this study was funded by a grant from the Australian Egg Corporation, a producer-owned corporation, representing approximately 400 commercial egg producers and is based in Sydney. And one of the authors is an advisory member to the Egg Nutrition Council, who reports directly to the Australian Egg Corporation. Might this influence the study design? Let us find out.
It turns out that they never bothered to include a “no egg” or “no dietary cholesterol” control group. The two groups they chose to compare were obese diabetics, one group of which was told to eat less than two eggs a week compared to the other group that was told to eat 12 or more eggs a week. Further, the less than 2 eggs a week group was told to make up for the lack of eggs in their diet by eating more “protein” like steak or chicken.
So what exactly did this study actually prove? It proves that two group of obese diabetics eating a high cholesterol and high saturated fat diet had no difference in cardiovascular disease risk. It did not in anyway prove that eating eggs didn’t increase the risk of heart disease in someone who eats a low cholesterol and low saturated fat diet. In fact, if you look at the study design, it flat-out assumes that HDL, LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides are all great indicators of heart disease risk, since that’s what they are basing their heart disease risk metric on.
And while the DIABEGG study only looked at 128 diabetics over 12 months, recently another egg study was published that looked at over 9,000 people over a 7 year period. Published in Nature, this study found that, among those who contracted diabetes, those who ate a high egg diet had nearly three times the risk of cardiovascular disease. Of course, this one didn’t make the front page of the international press for some reason. I guess people only like to hear good news about their bad habits.