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Can People with Diabetes Really Eat Eggs?

People with type 2 diabetes have been told not to eat eggs–or at least not very many–because that will raise cholesterol and increase their cardiovascular risk. A new study shows that just isn't so.
Can People with Diabetes Really Eat Eggs?
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For decades, Americans were warned not to eat eggs for fear that their blood cholesterol levels would rise. After all, egg yolks are high in cholesterol. Even after data showed that there was no link between egg consumption and cholesterol levels for most adults, nutrition specialists made an exception for people with type 2 diabetes. Because people with this metabolic disorder are at increased risk for heart disease, they were told to restrict their consumption of eggs.

What Happens When People with Diabetes Eat Eggs?

A new study shows, however, that even people with diabetes or prediabetes do just fine when they eat eggs (Fuller et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online May 7, 2018). The research built on a previous clinical trial in which the investigators randomly assigned 128 volunteers with elevated blood sugar to eat a low-egg or high-egg diet (Fuller et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April 2015). The low-egg diet included fewer than two eggs per week. The high-egg diet contained a dozen eggs weekly.

For the first three months, the volunteers maintained their weight while eating their weekly allotment of eggs. At the end of that time, the investigators measured cholesterol and other markers for heart disease. They found no significant differences between the groups.

Can You Really Eat Eggs for a Year and Not Raise Your Cholesterol?

During the following three months, the volunteers continued with high or low egg consumption while cutting 500 calories a day. Both groups lost weight during that part of the study. Even a further six months continuing with their assigned egg consumption did not push cholesterol levels up. That includes people who were eating 12 eggs a week.

The Bottom Line:

In conclusion, this Australian study should get rid of the prohibition of eggs once and for all. Even people with diabetes can enjoy eggs when they wish.

The authors conclude:

“A healthy diet based on population guidelines and including more eggs than currently recommended by some countries may be safely consumed.”

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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