Eggs and diabetes: Study finds an unsavoury link

Sunny side up egg Eggs and diabetes (Image: Canva)

Attention egg lovers (egg lovers??). In today’s news you can use, a study has connected everybody’s favourite breakfast food to diabetes.

A longitudinal study conducted by the University of Australia in partnership with China Medical University and Qatar University from 1991 to 2009 analysed egg consumption among Chinese adults.

An egg a day increases diabetes risk

The researchers found that the people who ate over 38 grams a day increased their diabetes risk by 25%. Those who ate over 50 grams or one whole egg a day increased their diabetes risk by 60%. More women than men were affected.

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Dr Ming Li, one of the authors of the study, noted that the diet of the Chinese people has undergone a big change. From a traditional diet of grains and vegetables, they have moved on to a meat-rich diet that is energy-dense. Egg consumption in the country has also doubled from 1991 to 2009.

The study aimed to assess the long-debated link between eating eggs and diabetes, determined by fasting blood glucose. Although it has linked the two, the researchers were unable to find a causal relationship between eggs and diabetes. For now, we need more research into the topic before we can finally banish eggs out of our pantry.

The great egg debate

Understandably, this is confusing. The American Diabetes Association says eggs are good for diabetics since it’s low on carb content. The National Heart Foundation, Australia, even recommends six eggs a week as long as you have a low saturated fat diet.

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But a 2009 study linked daily egg consumption with increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women.

Another one in 2016 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition said that a low-carb breakfast with eggs prevented blood sugar spikes, improving blood glucose for 24 hours.

Eggs by themselves are a contradiction. Although replete with many useful nutrients, they have saturated fat and cholesterol that can worsen type 2 diabetes risk. It also has polyunsaturated fat which has the opposite effect on diabetes.

Researchers believe that not only individual contribution of these nutrients but also other foods in the diet that determine the net effect of egg consumption.

So what’s the way forward? Since the risk is associated with daily egg consumption, I guess lowering weekly intake of eggs may help. Or would it?