Diabetes management

Research has confirmed that eggs have a place in a healthy diet with diabetes. The maintenance of consistent blood sugar levels within individual target ranges is key to diabetes management, and studies show that protein-rich foods, such as eggs, can help regulate these levels and improve blood sugar levels.

Studies undertaken to review how many eggs can be regularly consumed by people living with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes show that up to 12 eggs per week have no adverse effects on body weight, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, fasting blood sugar levels or insulin levels[1]. Eggs are included as part of a healthy and nutritious diet in these studies, again highlighting that overall dietary patterns matter more than a single food or nutrient.

Nutrition is an integral part of the treatment and self-management of diabetes. A 12-week randomised controlled trial in individuals with pre- and type 2 diabetes found that adding one large egg to the daily diet for 12 weeks did not negatively impact total cholesterol levels. Additionally, this trial also observed a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose of 4.4% at the final measurement of the egg group[2]. The report concluded that daily consumption of one large egg may reduce the risk of diabetes without having any adverse effects on lipid profiles in individuals with pre- and type 2 diabetes.

Healthy diets for all - the scientific evidence

In early 2020, a study from Harvard School of Public Health evaluated the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes risk in 3 large US prospective cohorts and performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies globally. The results of the meta-analysis found no overall association between moderate egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes[3]. Furthermore, it observed a reduced risk associated with eggs and type 2 diabetes in Asian cohorts.  

Research undertaken to evaluate the effects of dietary cholesterol alone, and in combination with markers of a healthy diet, using data from the Framingham Offspring Study, found no statistically significant differences in glucose levels across different categories of dietary cholesterol intake. The study concluded dietary cholesterol consumption was not associated with fasting glucose levels or risk of type 2 diabetes over 20 years of follow up[4].

In addition, a review of existing observation and intervention studies observed that high-quality intervention studies have found non-significant effects on increasing the consumption of eggs on risk markers for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes in healthy subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes. The paper reported that risk associations found in observational studies are more likely to be attributed to a dietary pattern often accompanying high egg intake. It therefore concluded that dietary patterns, physical activity, and genetics affect the predisposition of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes more than a single food item such as eggs[5].

Eggs are a rich source of important nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals. New data and research continue to support the inclusion of eggs as a beneficial part of healthy dietary patterns for all, including those with type 2 diabetes.

[1] Richard C et al. Impact of Egg Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes and at Risk for Developing Diabetes: A Systematic Review of Randomized Nutritional Intervention Studies

[2] Pourafshar S et al. Egg consumption may improve factors associated with glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in adults with pre- and type II diabetes

[3] Drouin-Chartier, JP et al. Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: findings from 3 large US cohort studies of men and women and a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies

[4] Baghdasarian, S et al. Dietary Cholesterol Intake Is Not Associated with Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in the Framingham Offspring Study

[5] Geiker et al. Egg consumption, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes