Academic researchers have found that plant-based diets work better for health and are more nutritious when supplemented with 2 daily eggs.
Scientists from the University of Connecticut and Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Centre, US, carried out randomised control trials comparing fully plant-based diets with the same diets plus 2 daily eggs.
In the first study, published in the Journal of the American Nutrition Association, 35 adults followed the different diets for 6 weeks each. In the middle, they went back to their usual diets for a 4-week ‘washout’ period.
The results found that overall nutrition quality declined when people switched from their usual diets to a plant-based diet. However, nutrition quality was restored when 2 eggs were added into the plant-based diet each day, particularly for protein quality and healthy fats.
The second study, published in the journal, Nutrients, got 24 adults with metabolic syndrome (raised cholesterol and blood pressure) to follow a plant-based diet plus egg substitute for 4 weeks before swapping over to the same diet plus 2 eggs a day. They followed a similar washout of 3 weeks between the different diets to keep their effects separate. The scientists found that the egg-containing diet significantly lowered body weight and boosted good HDL cholesterol.
Commenting on the study, dietician Dr Carrie Ruxton said: “As more people switch to plant-based diets, it’s vital to remain alert to the nutrients missed by taking meat out of the diet. Eggs have one of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of all animal foods – even lower than rice or soya milk – and are a simple way to add those nutrients back while still enjoying a meat-free diet. Eggs are rich in high-quality proteins, B vitamins for energy, and selenium and vitamin D for immune function, making them a powerhouse of health-giving nutrients.”