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Are eggs good or bad for diabetes?Outside of COVID-19 very little health news catches the attention of newspapers, unless it is something out of the ordinary.
One such news item was the result from an observational study among Chinese citizens of whom it was reported how those eating more eggs had a higher risk of diabetes 2.
Oh boy, here we go again was my first thought. First eggs were vilified due to their cholesterol content, and now that nonsense has been put to rest [link], they try to come up with another BS reserach. Yes, calling it BS.
Imagine, you are a notorious smoker and decide to give up smoking because your lungs are suffering and have developed COPD. Yet, it is too late and a lung tumor has been detected. Guess what? The clickbait headlines would go like "people that give up smoking, will develop lung cancer!".
That's how it works! Time and again we have to repeat: correlation is NOT the same as causation. This was an observational study, in which people were asked about their habits.
A much better research method is a clinical study in which people are meticulously followed after treatment.
Or a meta study in which several studies are lumped together and analysed.
Eggs, diabetes and heart healthFor many years, people were told to avoid eggs, or to only eat egg whites. There were concerns about the levels of cholesterol in egg yolks. However, that relationship to ingested cholesterol and high blood levels of cholesterol was never really very clear, even though it may have sounded that the science was definite. It is notoriously difficult to do science on nutrition quite simply because scientists can’t ethically actually control what people eat—and if they rely on people to answer questionnaires on what they eat, well, that may not be all that reliable either.
The best sorts of studies to help you make these choices are the scientific meta-analyses. These are studies that examine previous studies—they pool all the data and then re-analyse the information. This tends to minimize any errors and more closely approach “provable” information.
One such meta-analysis looked at eggs and the relationship of eggs on the diet to heart disease and diabetes. These researchers looked at 16 studies and over 90,000 individuals with and without diabetes. Some people were followed for up to 20 years. This large study found that, for healthy people, eating on average of 1 egg per day was not associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes but that for those with diabetes, eating more than 1 egg per day was associated with a somewhat higher risk of heart disease.
On the other hand, another study indicated that the risk of type 2 diabetes was decreased by eating more than 1 egg per day.
Conflicting results are always good for another clinical trial—two more studies concluded that including eggs in the diet of diabetic patients did not result in any increased risk of heart disease and that that the differences found in earlier studies may have had more to do with individual risk of heart disease than with the general nutritional benefits of eggs.
In other words, the earlier studies included diabetic patients who were already at risk for heart disease and did not take that into account in the results.
So, there is more than enough reason to enjoy eating eggs, as they are not just chockful vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, they are also a rich source of phospholipids, among which brain- and heart healthy phosphatidylserine and (phosphatidyl)choline as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which promote eye health.
Seven reasons to eat eggs for breakfast1. Egg keep you feeling full much longer than cereal or toast.
The protein and fat in eggs helps sustain your energy levels, keeping you satisfied for longer and reducing the need for a mid morning snack.
2. Eggs assist weight loss
This is a logical result from eggs keeping you satiated. Studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast are more likely to lose weight than those who ate a breakfast with a lot of carbohydrates.
3. Eggs are a great source of protein.
Whole eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein, meaning eggs contain all the essential amino acids which we must get from our diets.
4. Eggs tend to be relatively inexpensive.
Compared to other high protein foods such as red meat, even free-range eggs are more budget friendly.
5. Eggs aren’t going to make your cholesterol worse.
While it’s true that eggs do contain a significant amount of cholesterol, the old formula of the cholesterol you eat impacting on your blood cholesterol levels, has been disproven. So there’s no need to worry about eating eggs increasing your risk for heart disease.
6. Eggs help with brain development and memory.
Choline, an essential nutrient found in eggs, stimulates brain development and function. It has also been linked with increasing memory retention and recall as well as improving alertness.
7. Eggs protect your eyesight.
Two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, are present in eggs and have been linked to protecting eyes from damage related to UV exposure. They have also been associated with reducing the likelihood of developing cataracts in old age.
No time to prepare eggs?
That's nonsense, you can either boil eggs in advance or use the microwave! In the latter case, make sure to stir the egg in advance to avoid having to clean up the microwave later on.