Don’t be afraid of eggs! Research shows that eating eggs as part of a low-carbohydrate diet can help you lose fat, improve cholesterol, and decrease inflammation.
Having high cholesterol is not as simple as eating a low cholesterol or low fat diet. It ends up, eating a high-carbohydrate diet causes inflammation and elevates triglyceride levels that lead to bad LDL cholesterol build up. This is especially true when you eat a lot of easily digested carbs, which elevate blood sugar.
For example, researchers write that “carbohydrates, rather than fat, play a critical role in activating pro-inflammatory processes through their effect on the fatty acid composition of lipids and membranes.”
A study in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism provides further information. Researchers compared the effect of two carbohydrate restricted diets in overweight men—both diets included 18 percent carbs, 26 percent protein, and 56 percent fat, but one group ate three eggs a day.
After 12 weeks, the group that ate eggs lost slightly more total body fat (nearly 5 kg total) and decreased levels of inflammation much more than the group that didn’t eat eggs. The egg group also increased their “good” HDL cholesterol level from an average of 47 mg/dL to 57 mg/dL and maintained total cholesterol levels at 194 mg/dL. The group that didn’t eat eggs had no change in cholesterol at all. Plasma triglycerides, which when elevated lead to elevated cholesterol levels, were decreased in both groups by an average of 45 percent.
The group that ate eggs also experienced better insulin sensitivity and higher levels of adiponectin, which is a hormone involved in fat burning that has an anti-inflammatory effect. The study authors think that the cholesterol profile was most improved in the group that ate eggs for a variety of reasons.
First, the higher adiponectin had a greater influence on something called reverse cholesterol transport in which HDL production is increased in the liver, and it also acts to decrease circulating triglycerides. Second, the eggs provide lutein that is a powerful antioxidant, which can help decrease inflammation. Third, the combination of higher adiponectin, lutein, and lower insulin led to less oxidative stress and a shift to an anti-inflammatory state.
Take away the understanding that eggs are an excellent protein source that can be included in low-carb, high-protein diet for optimal body composition and health. The key is to restrict unhealthy, refined carbohydrates, eat high-quality whole protein, and avoid processed or isolated fats.