Eggs Found to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on May 14, 2015

Eggs are the latest food that could help in the fight against the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research from Finland which shows eating four a week is beneficial.

It is well documented that exercise and nutrition play a crucial role in the development of the disease. In some studies, for example, high cholesterol diets have been associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism and risk of type 2 diabetes.

eggsIn contrast, in some experimental studies, the consumption of eggs has led to improved glucose balance, among other things. However, until now there has been no experimental data available on the effects of egg consumption on the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

In population based studies, too, the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes has been investigated only scarcely, and the findings have been inconclusive. Egg consumption has either been associated with an elevated risk, or no association has been found.

Now scientists from the University of Eastern Finland have examined the dietary habits of 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60 years who were assessed at the baseline of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, from 1984 to 1989.

During a follow up of 19.3 years, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the study found that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as with lower blood glucose levels.

Men who ate approximately four eggs per week had a 37% lower risk of type 2 diabetes than men who only ate approximately one egg per week. This association persisted even after possible confounding factors such as physical activity, body mass index, smoking and consumption of fruits and vegetables were taken into consideration. The consumption of more than four eggs did not bring any significant additional benefits.

A possible explanation is that unlike in many other populations, egg consumption in Finland is not strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, low physical activity or consumption of processed meats.

In addition to cholesterol, eggs contain many beneficial nutrients that can have an effect on, for example, glucose metabolism and low grade inflammation, and thus lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study also suggests that the overall health effects of foods are difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient such as cholesterol alone. Indeed, instead of focusing on individual nutrients, nutrition research has increasingly focused on the health effects of whole foods and diets over the past few years.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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