Eggs and diabetes: Are they good or bad?
Could eggs help thwart type 2 diabetes? Researchers from Finland suggest eating whole foods such as eggs might indeed help prevent the disease. Scientists found lower blood sugar levels and lower risk of type 2 diabetes among men studied who ate four eggs a week, compared to those who consumed just one egg a week.
The study that was carried out as part of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, at the University of Eastern Finland in 1984 to 1989 found a thirty-seven percent lower chance that men who consumed four eggs a week would develop type 2 diabetes.
Egg nutrients might quell inflammation associated with diabetes
For the study researchers followed 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60 years. Eating eggs was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes even when other factors such as physical activity, smoking, body mass index and fruit and vegetable consumption were taken into account.
According to the researchers past studies have been conflicting. Some studies suggest eggs might contribute to diabetes risk because of high cholesterol while others suggest nutrients in eggs might stabilize metabolism.
The finding is the first population study to link egg consumption to lower type 2 diabetes risk and is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
What past studies say about eggs and diabetes
A 2014 study found eating eggs have no harmful effect on people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes - a finding that busted the myth that cholesterol in eggs could raise the risk of heart disease for diabetics.
In contrast, a 2009 study that used data from the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) I and the Women's Health Study (WHS), showed the opposite. Eating eggs daily was associated with higher risk of the disease.
Given conflicting information you might wonder if you should eat eggs if you have diabetes or even pre-diabetes. The simple answer for now is to discuss your diet with your health care provider. The researchers for the newest study have no explanation as to why men in Finland had a lower chance of type 2 diabetes when they reported eating four eggs a week, with no added benefit found for those who consumed more than 4 weekly.
The researchers suggest that though eggs are known to be high in cholesterol there may be other nutrients that help stabilize glucose metabolism and help quell inflammation to lower type 2 diabetes risk.
The suggestion from the study authors is that focusing on one nutrient in foods - cholesterol in this case - might not be the best approach. Studies should continue to look at the effect of whole foods on our health and well-being.