An egg a day can cause diabetes, finds research

An omelette

A group of researchers has concluded that higher egg consumption is associated with the risk of developing diabetes. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The fact that most people can afford them, makes them a go-to cheap but nutritious food in most Kenyan families.
  • Previous studies in the same journal had given inconclusive findings in line with the link between eggs and diabetes type 2
  • The cholesterol in egg, which is known for its negative effect on the heart, if taken excessively

Reuben Magoko has been diabetic for more than two decades now. Before then, he had been consuming eggs. He still does, albeit with moderation.

Eggs have great nutritional benefits to our bodies. They are rich in a number of nutrients such as protein, Vitamin B2, and other minerals like potassium and zinc. The fact that most people can afford them, makes them a go-to cheap but nutritious food in most Kenyan families.

"Yesterday morning I woke up with my sugar levels quite high, and I needed something to eat. I asked my children to prepare eggs for me," he tells Healthy Nation.

Reuben has never had any issues with eggs even as a diabetic.

Cholesterol content

However, a new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition now says that if you continuously consume at least an egg (50g) daily, you are at risk of getting diabetes type 2.

"My nutritionist has never advised me against taking eggs. He may have advised that I take a moderate amount, but not doing away with it completely," Reuben says.

Whereas previous studies in the same journal had given inconclusive findings in line with the link between eggs and diabetes type 2, the new findings give a conclusive stand on this.

In 2009, another study conducted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) also linked excessive egg consumption to diabetes type 2.

“We have demonstrated that daily consumption of at least one egg is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, independently of traditional risk factors for type 2 diabetes,” the researchers said.

The cholesterol in egg, which is known for its negative effect on the heart, if taken excessively, was cited in the 2009 study.

“This suggests that the observed relation between egg intake and diabetes may be partially explained by the cholesterol content of eggs. In contrast, saturated fat was not associated with type 2 diabetes, and adjustment for this did not attenuate the results,” the ADA study said.

This is a debate that other researchers and nutritionists have been trying to grapple with. That an egg, one that has very little amounts of carbohydrates, could be associated with diabetes.

Heart conditions

The new research, conducted in China between 1991 and 2009, showed that the average daily consumption of eggs had increased continuously from 16g in 1991 to 1993, to 26g in 2000 to 2004, and as at 2009, it had risen to 31g.

The study found out that women, more than men, have the highest risk of acquiring the chronic disease that mostly dictates a change of lifestyle, especially on the dietary options.

Nutritionist Leo Ndegwa believes that eggs, because of cholesterol, could be linked to heart conditions such as stroke and high blood pressure if taken excessively, just not diabetes yet.

“If someone links an egg to diabetes, it will be fair to show us how it relates to insulin resistance. Is it that it is lowering the production of insulin, and if it is lowering this, which compound is in that egg that is doing so,” he explained.

But, the researchers in the October 8 study concluded that higher egg consumption was positively associated with the risk of diabetes.

The world celebrated World Diabetes Day on Saturday focusing on the theme Nurses and Diabetes. Nurses as the caregivers of all patients work hand in hand with nutritionists to advise them on the best diet to consume for a healthy lifestyle.

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