The risk can be reduced by as much as 37 per cent, but that appears to be the ceiling. Eating more than four eggs a week doesn't seem to reduce the risk any further.
The findings are based on a study of 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60, whose heart health was assessed at the beginning the study and who were then followed for around 19 years. During that time, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the 'lifestyle' disease that is often the precursor for cardiovascular disease.
Eating eggs seemed to have a protective effect even after other factors such as smoking, inactivity, weight and eating healthy foods were taken into account. Those eating four eggs a week were 37 per cent less likely to develop diabetes compared to someone who ate one egg or less. Not only did egg-eating have a protective effect, it also lowered blood glucose levels.
On the face of it, the results fly in the face of current thinking. Eggs increase our cholesterol levels, and this supposedly raises our risk for heart disease. But this view is simplistic, say the researchers from the University of East Finland, who carried out the study. The overall health effects of foods are difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient such as cholesterol.
(Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online, April 2, 2015)