Are eggs good for people with diabetes?

Healthline/Medical News Today Mar 12, 2019

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) states that eggs are a suitable food for people with diabetes. Eggs are a low-carbohydrate food and have a very low glycemic index score. This makes them a good source of protein for people with diabetes.


Having a low glycemic index score means that they have less of an effect on a person's blood sugar levels. People may be concerned about the cholesterol content in eggs. However, experts do not believe that eating eggs in moderation negatively affects cholesterol levels. In this article, we look at the health effects that people with diabetes can gain from eating eggs. We also cover any possible risks and the best ways to eat eggs if you have diabetes.

What is the link between diabetes and eggs?

Diabetes can affect the balance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (bad), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) (good) cholesterol in the body. Having diabetes can put a person at an increased risk of heart disease. Some people are concerned that eating eggs may raise cholesterol levels, and that this could increase the risk of heart disease.

The ADA recommends that people eat less than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per day. Eggs are high in cholesterol, with a large egg containing about 200 mg of cholesterol. However, research now shows that cholesterol that is in foods has little effect on raising overall cholesterol levels in the body. Instead, the danger is consuming foods with high saturated-fat content, which can lead to elevated cholesterol levels. These foods include cakes and cookies, bacon, candies, and processed snacks, for example.

A study from 2018 suggests that regularly eating eggs could improve fasting blood glucose in people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The researchers here suggest that eating one egg per day could reduce a person's risk of diabetes.

Research from 2015 suggests that people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes do not experience a negative change in the lipid profile after eating a high-egg diet. The authors suggest that eating a diet high in eggs is healthful for people with diabetes.

Eggs and nutrition

Eggs are a nutritionally "dense" food, which means that they are rich in nutrients but low in calories. High-protein foods, including eggs, can make a person feel fuller. This may help people with diabetes to maintain a healthy weight. Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine amino acids that the body cannot produce itself, and that people must obtain from their diet. One large poached egg offers the following nutritional value:

  • 6.25 grams (g) of protein
  • 4.74 g of fat
  • 0.35 g of carbohydrate
  • 72 calories
  • No dietary fiber

While most of the protein in an egg comes from the white, the yolk is packed with healthful fats; vitamins A, D, E, and K; and antioxidants such as lutein. Eggs are also rich sources of vitamin B-12 and minerals such as iron, copper, and zinc. Yet another constituent of eggs is choline, which is involved in body processes, such as memory and mood, and plays a crucial role during pregnancy in fetal brain development. Learn more about the health benefits of eggs here.

Healthful ways to prepare eggs for diabetes

The most healthful way to cook eggs is to boil, poach, or scramble them with low-fat milk. They recommend pairing eggs with chopped vegetables or a salad instead of having them alongside high saturated-fat foods, for example, bacon or cheese. If making fried eggs, people can switch the frying oil to one that is more heart-healthful, such as corn, canola, or olive oil.

Summary

People with diabetes can include eggs as part of a healthful diet. Research shows that eating eggs in moderation should not negatively affect a person's risk of heart disease, and may improve fasting blood glucose levels. Researchers have linked blood pressure and blood sugar to cholesterol, so it is important to pay attention to how the diet may affect these factors. Boiled, poached, or scrambled eggs are healthful options. Regular doctor visits are a must to know your risk of each condition and to make changes to diet and lifestyle if necessary.

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