Egg Nutrition Center Blog

Do Eggs Affect Cardiovascular Risk Factors Among Those With Type 2 Diabetes?


The role of eggs in diets of persons living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) is an area of active debate and may depend on the overall diet pattern.

 An Australian research team (Fuller, 2015) recently evaluated whether people with T2D might benefit from egg consumption citing eggs as,

 “a nutritious and convenient way of improving protein and micronutrient contents of the diet, which have importance for satiety and weight management.”

They randomly assigned 140 adult Australian men and women with pre-diabetes or T2D to one of 2 weight maintenance diets as part of a 3-month study. Both groups were instructed to consume specific types and quantities of food such that they would increase polyunsaturated (PUFA) and monounsaturated (MUFA) fat, in place of saturated fat.

One group was advised to eat 2 eggs/day six days a week (i.e., 12 eggs/wk) and the other was advised to eat less than 2 eggs/week, consuming other sources of lean protein to equilibrate protein between the two groups. Both groups kept their diabetes and cholesterol medications constant, with a few exceptions, throughout the study.

At 3 months, both high and low egg groups significantly reduced saturated fat and increased MUFA and PUFA content of their diets.   The low egg group also increased fiber intake. The high egg group increased both cholesterol and total fat, but decreased carbohydrate intake more than the low egg group. The high egg group achieved a diet containing 11.8 eggs/week on average, while the low egg group ate an average of 1 egg/week.

HDL-cholesterol, the primary outcome of this study, remained unchanged over the three-month diet for both diets relative to baseline. Furthermore, there were no differences between the high egg and low egg groups for HDL-cholesterol or a wide-range of secondary measures, including LDL-cholesterol, total-cholesterol, triglycerides, and others. The only difference noted was lower Hb A1c at 3 months versus baseline among the low egg group (p<0.05).

Participants were asked a wide range of questions about acceptability of the diets, appetite, and satiety.

“Both groups reported an increase in overall satisfaction of the diet they were allocated compared with baseline dietary habits with results favoring the high-egg group… [particularly] enjoyment of the foods they were eating and being less bored with food choices.”

“A trend toward more satisfied with the high-egg diet compared with low-egg diet was also evident.”

In translating what these results mean, the authors concluded that

“[A] high-egg diet can be incorporated into the dietary management of people with T2D in conjunction with an increase in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats without adversely affecting blood lipid profiles.”

It is important to emphasize that the overall diet pattern was one in which saturated fat was reduced and PUFA and MUFA increased. This suggests that eggs can be incorporated into a high unsaturated fat, healthy eating pattern for those living with T2D without adversely affecting cardiovascular risk factors.


Reference Citations

Fuller, NR, ID Caterson, A Sainsbury, G Denyer, M Fong, J Gerofi, K Baqleh, KH Williams, NS Lau, and TP Markovic. “The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: The Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study – a 3-mo randomized controlled trial.” Am J Clin Nutr 2015:101(4);705-713. This study was funded by grants from the Australian Egg Corporation.

Accompanying editorial in the Am J Clin Nutr by Peter M Clifton entitled:  “Does dietary cholesterol influence cardiovascular disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes.”

Stock media provided by [4@NissaKornNeera]/

Author: Tia Rains, Ph.D.