For several years they have been pointed out as the cause of many cardiovascular diseases, but in recent times, science has rehabilitated them. We are talking about eggs, a very versatile food that lends itself to make nutritious and satiating breakfasts, to enrich salads and delicious side dishes. Eggs, in fact, provide antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and unsaturated fatty acids capable of counteracting the metabolic syndrome, reducing body weight and increasing good HDL cholesterol. This is what emerges from the research we are talking about today and which was published a few weeks ago in the journal Nutrients by a group of American researchers from the University of Connecticut (Thomas et al, Nutrients, 2022).
Metabolic syndrome, what it is
The metabolic syndrome is a combination of several pathologies. In fact, metabolic syndrome is characterized by insulin resistance, hypertension, abdominal obesity and dyslipidemia that, together, increase the levels of chronic inflammation and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or neurological complications. According to the American Heart Association, one in six Americans has metabolic syndrome. From here we can understand the importance of the role of science in understanding what lifestyle can be adopted to cope with this condition. A vegetarian-type diet high in fruit, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and dried fruit has been shown to be protective. But a diet of this type proves even more protective when associated with the intake of eggs, as shown by the research we are talking about today.
Eggs reverse metabolic syndrome, the study
The researchers started with the results of their previous study, which showed that taking two whole eggs every day for 4 weeks reduced body mass index and increased, at the same time, the good HDL cholesterol. Scientists thus continued their research to investigate the possible beneficial effect of eggs in the case of metabolic syndrome. Twenty-four adults were recruited, all with a diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. For the first two weeks, all participants were asked to follow only a vegetarian-type diet, limiting the intake of red meat, white meat and fish. After this period, half of the study participants were asked to add two eggs consumed in the form of omelette with spinach for breakfast every day for 4 weeks. The other participants had to consume egg white omelettes instead. Then, another three weeks of a vegetarian diet followed in which volunteers were asked not to add eggs to their daily diet. What emerged was that, during the program, the number of people with metabolic syndrome decreased, with the largest reduction observed during the 4 weeks of consuming two whole eggs a day for breakfast. In fact, at the beginning of the study there were 24 cases of metabolic syndrome, as was the number of participants. After the first two weeks of a vegetarian diet, there were 21 cases, after the treatment that involved two whole eggs a day the cases had reduced to 13, and then went back to 17 after the interruption of egg consumption and adherence to the vegetarian diet only.
Eggs, therefore, if eaten in moderation and within a healthy diet, rich in fiber and antioxidants, can become allies for health, able to control body weight, cholesterol and, in some cases, to reverse the process that leads to the metabolic syndrome. This effect is due to the nutrients contained in eggs, such as vitamins A, D and E, the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin and the omega 3 fatty acids. It should be noted, however, that research has studied the effects of eggs consumed in the morning and not during other times of the day and always in the form of omelettes and not hard-boiled or cooked with other cooking methods. In addition, it would also be interesting to try to understand the effects of a lower consumption of eggs, but always regular so as not to overdo it with a single food. Therefore, while waiting for the research to continue, it is certainly useful to include eggs in your healthy and balanced diet, but without excesses and preferring quality eggs.