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Eggcellent Eggs: Is it safe for people with diabetes to eat a lot of eggs?

The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study—a 3-mo randomized controlled trial

Study under review: The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study—a 3-mo randomized controlled trial

Introduction

Eggs are an incredibly popular protein source, especially among athletes. They also contain a host of nutrients that may be associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk such as L-arginine[1] and folate.

Eggs were also demonized in past decades due to their cholesterol content, but a large amount of recent evidence indicates that they were likely incorrectly associated with cardiovascular disease. However, there remain some questions as to whether or not high-egg diets are beneficial. While dietary guidelines of different countries many suggest different egg intakes (as seen in Figure 1), many warn against those with diabetes consuming eggs regularly. Some studies have implied that the choline in eggs, more specifically the metabolic byproduct of bacterial choline breakdown, could increase risk of cardiovascular disease[2], but this finding is controversial. In support of these findings, high egg consumption has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease[3] in people with type II diabetes.

Figure 1: Egg guidelines for people with and without type 2 diabetes

However, the evidence supporting the relationship is mostly observational, and may have been influenced by the bad rap eggs had at the time. To address these issues, the researchers conducted this randomized prospective study in an attempt to assess whether eggs have specific negative cardiovascular effects on people with diabetes.

Although generally considered healthy for the general population, it is not entirely clear whether high levels of egg consumption are safe for people with diabetes. This study sought to clarify whether it is okay for diabetics to eat a lot of eggs.

Who and what was studied?

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Other Articles in Issue #07 (May 2015)