Can Eggs Prevent Diabetes?
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April 12, 2015
By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by Registered Nurses, Certified
fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial Board]




Eggs may just be the secret weapon against diabetes. A
surprising new study has found that people who eat 4 eggs  a
week have a 33% lower risk for diabetes.

Eggs have had a mixed health review in the past. Full of
cholesterol and bad? Packed with protein and good?
Eggs are hugely popular in the US and egg production is high –
in 2014, 256 eggs were produced for each member of the
population, according to the American Egg Board.

So are eggs the new diabetes superfood? Is there other
evidence that eggs help you avoid diabetes?

What’s in an Egg?

Certain nutrients in eggs have caused researchers to be
particularly interested in their link with diabetes and heart
disease.

Eggs contain relatively high levels of dietary cholesterol
(200mg per egg) and saturated fat (1.5g per egg) which are
linked to an increased risk of diabetes.  

But ---and it's a big "but"---they also contain nutrients that are
associated with a reduced risk of diabetes like polyunsaturated
fat (0.7g per egg).

Eggs also contain vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin D,
vitamin E, biotin, choline, folic acid, iodine, iron, lutein,
phosphorous, and selenium. Eggs are one of the best sources
of protein you can find – around 12 percent of the egg is made
up of protein.

All these nutrients do indeed bring health benefits but can eggs
help directly prevent diabetes?

The need to cut the incidence of diabetes is high, seeing as
29.1 million people or 9.3 percent of the population already
suffers from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (2014). We looked at the studies in
question to find out.

It's True ---Eating Eggs Prevents Diabetes
























Men who eat four eggs a week have a 37 percent lower risk of
Type 2 diabetes than men who only eat one egg a week,
according to the results of a 2015 study by the University of
Eastern Finland.

Researchers looked at the eating habits of 2,332 men between
the ages of 42 and 60. They found that consumption of eggs
was also linked to
lower blood sugar levels .

So, you might be thinking that perhaps these men had lower
rates of diabetes because they also were more active or
perhaps because they were leaner.  No, the researchers found
that the 37% lower rates of diabetes held true, even after
taking into account different activity levels, body mass indexes,
and smoking.

Researchers say that nutrients in eggs may affect glucose
metabolism and prevent low-level inflammation.

But, before you decide to gorge on eggs, here's a word of
caution.  Eating
more than four eggs did not bring any
additional benefits, however.

This study's results have been echoed in research from other
universities.

In another 2015 study by the Lund University in Sweden,
eating full-fat dairy products was found to decrease the risk of
Type 2 diabetes. People eating high fat dairy had a 23 percent
lower chance of developing diabetes.

And the omega-3 fatty acids in enriched eggs have been
associated with a lower risk of diabetes according to a 2007
study from the University of Colorado and the University of
Florida. This study looked at 1,800 children at risk for Type 1
diabetes and discovered that increased consumption of omega-
3s in the diet, including from enriched eggs, appeared to
reduce the risk of this disease developing.

Even if You Already Have Diabetes --Eggs Can Help Diabetes
Management

For people with diabetes, eggs are a useful food for managing
the condition, according to experts. Previous research has
shown that people with diabetes should steer clear of eggs as
the cholesterol and fat eggs contain are risk factors for an
already high risk of heart disease.

But a 2015 study from The University of Sydney, Australia
showed that a high-egg diet can be included safely as part of
the dietary management of Type 2 diabetes. Why? Eggs are
more satisfying, a factor which scientists call "satiety".  Because
eggs have greater satiety, they help your appetite control and
weight management.

What is the satiety index value for eggs? The most talked about
study on the satiety of food is a 1995 study led by Dr. Susanna
Holt of the University of Sydney in Australia.  The 1995 study
actually pioneered the concept of a "satiety index".  The study
assigned a satiety index value of "150" to eggs, meaning eggs
are 50% more satisfying than white bread.

However, the 1995 study has been greatly criticized for its
methods --- it tested satiety of 38 foods every 15 minutes. And
who eats every 15 minutes?

A more recent study led by Dr. J.S. Vander Wal of the
University of St. Louis is focused more specifically on eggs.
That study found that women who ate a breakfast consisting of
an egg --as opposed to a bagel --ate fewer calories 3.5 hours
later. In fact, they ate 686 fewer calories on average.  
Moreover, they continued to eat less throughout the day and
for 36 hours after they ate the egg.

Are There Any Diabetes Dangers from Eating Eggs?

Before you conclude that eggs are the way forward for beating
diabetes in the US, take note of other studies that appear to
show the contrary. For example, a 2009 study from Brigham
and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston actually
shows that "high levels of egg consumption (daily) are
associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes in men and
women."

A 2013 study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill also noted that egg consumption was associated with an
increased risk of type 2 diabetes. And according to a 2012
study by the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, eating
more than three eggs a week resulted in a twofold increased
diabetes risk – five eggs a week increased the risk threefold.

What should we believe? Eggs have always been controversial
in terms of health benefit and risk but it appears that, as part of
a balanced, healthy diet, they can be beneficial.

Whether eggs alone can prevent diabetes is debatable, as it is
hard to take egg consumption on its own as a piece of data
without it being affected by other variables like physical
activity, smoking, and the availability of other food items in the
diet. The Finland study is a good start. But we need many more
studies to verify these results before we can recommend that
eating 4 eggs will make you bullet-proof to diabetes even if you
also remain sedentary and eat nothing but cakes and steaks all
day.

The verdict? Enjoy your scrambled eggs knowing that they
bring important nutritional benefits -- they certainly deserve to
be a
part of an ideal diabetes prevention breakfast -- but don’t
rely solely on eating eggs to prevent diabetes.

[The author thanks her colleague Susan Callahan for her
contributions to this article.]

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Looking for a simple way to control blood sugar?  Eating your
vegetables before you eat your carbs can be an easy way to control
blood sugar.  
Read more.
Try using paprika on eggs instead of salt.