Eggs are a low-carb high-protein food with a very low glycemic index. One egg contains about a half gram of carbohydrates. For this reason, the American Diabetes Association considers them safe for people with diabetes.
Despite the high level of cholesterol content present in one large egg (about 200 mg), experts don’t believe it can lead to a spike in blood glucose. In this write-up, we focus on the risk factors, the myth, and, the truth about egg consumption in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.
Is there a Link between Eggs and Diabetes?
Read this new study published in this article. It denies the relationship between cholesterol imbalance, high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and the intake of eggs in type 2 diabetes. In the egg, particularly the yolks have in the past been avoided by diabetic people due to their high cholesterol levels.
However, news in the American dietary guidelines now say the myth needs to be debunked citing a need for the body to have a limited intake of dietary cholesterol to 300mg/day or less. The recommended number of yolk consumption is a maximum of 2-6 eggs per week.
While dietary cholesterol needs to be limited, it is important that type 1 and 2 diabetes patients monitor the intake of trans and saturated fat. The two types of fats can increase bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins, LDL). High LDL levels present in the blood can result in the hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis) and could also heighten the risk of heart disease. The nutrition content of an egg is as follows:
- Fat – 5.8g
- Cholesterol – 216mg
- Calories – 80
- Carbohydrates – 4g
- Saturated fat – 1.8g
- Sodium – 80mg
- Sugar – 4g
- Protein – 7.3g
- Fiber – 0g
Saturated fats are all found in the yolk. If for instance, you ate a whole egg each day, the maximum intake of saturated fat between 11 and 13 grams would still not be met.
The Relationship between Eggs and Diabetes
Can eating eggs mitigate the risk of type 1 or 2 diabetes?
While most of the protein is packed in the white, the yolk contains antioxidants such as lutein and vitamins A, D, E, and K. They also have essential fatty acids, minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper, Vitamin B-12, and are nutrient dense and low in carbs. They are also rich in chloride, a constituent that plays a huge role in mood and memory. It is a constituent also vital in pregnancy for the development of the fetal brain.
Because a modified low carbohydrate diet is essential for people with diabetes, balance out the saturated fat in eggs with a whole grain, toast, or an avocado-broccoli omelet instead of the hash browns and bacon. A 2018 study indicates that regular intake of eggs can improve the fasting blood glucose in diabetes and prediabetes stages. This suggests that people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes should consume at least one egg each day to manage the levels of blood glucose.
Healthy Ways to Prepare Eggs with Diabetes
Although eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fats, they can still be part of your daily diet. However, you need to choose a healthy way of preparing them and note your egg intake to ensure extra calories and fats are not added. Choose the boiled method.
Consuming boiled eggs would not pack on extra fats. A hard-boiled egg contains 78 calories, 5.3g of fats, 186mg of cholesterol, and 6 grams of protein. Boiled eggs can be served hard or soft with bread or whole grain.
You can also choose to eat your eggs scrambled. This version often requires the use of milk, but with diabetes, you can add water to maintain the same amounts of cholesterol, fat, and calories contained in the hard-boiled ones. A scrambled egg contains 3.6 grams of protein, 17 calories, and little to no fat.
Even if you have diabetes, you can also consume fried eggs. This method has a higher calorie and fat content due to the added butter or margarine. The extra fats can be eliminated by choosing to use a nonstick pan and the spray oil alternative. Ensure that the yolk is fully cooked before eating, to prevent salmonella. They should be served with foods like cooked vegetables or whole grain, not a cheese topping.
Benefits of Eggs for People with Diabetes
Eggs are packed with health effects, loaded with 13 essential vitamins, and is a good source of choline, lutein and potassium. One study done, shows that choline improves brain health while lutein and potassium balances out the levels of sodium. Which in turn improves your cardiovascular health.
The egg yolk has high amounts of biotin, critical in the production of insulin and maintaining bright skin, nails, and hair. The eggs of chicken that roam outdoors tend to have higher amounts of omega 3, fats necessary for people with diabetes. The fat-soluble vitamin D present in them is said to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Having an egg during your breakfast meal can also stabilize blood glucose levels throughout the day and control hunger. Because protein slows digestion, it is advisable for people with diabetes to include a lean protein, like an egg to the meal plan.
Your Diabetes Breakfast Tip
Whether poached, hard-boiled, fried, or scrambled, you can enjoy your egg however way you like it. Take advantage of the carbs and proteins offered by indulging in eggs at least 3 times each week not forgetting that the health of your hen directly affects the health of your egg. The eggs of pastured, organic, and free-roaming chicken are the best and can increase the health of your heart.
If the level of cholesterol is a concern, you can choose to eat the whites instead. A whole breakfast is very important for people with diabetes, and eggs can be considered the better option.
Research shows that including eggs in a diabetic breakfast menu does not pose any adverse effects but improves the management of blood sugar levels. You can make your breakfast more nutritious and exciting by adding spinach, tomatoes, and other vegetables.
In the context of an active lifestyle, studies suggest that an egg or two per day can be safely consumed without posing a cardio-vascular disease risk or a spike in glucose level in type 2 diabetes. In addition to the benefits noted on the consumption of eggs, they can be a wholesome alternative to harmful diets such as sugars and processed meats.