Eating eggs may reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to data published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing around the world. Eggs are a major source of cholesterol, which has been associated with elevated blood glucose and an increased risk of [type 2 diabetes],” the researchers wrote.
“However, there are limited and conflicting data from prospective population studies on the association between egg consumption and risk of [type 2 diabetes].”
To investigate the potential connection between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland examined the dietary habits of 2,332 men aged 42 to 60 years at the baseline of the prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) in 1984 to 1989.
During an average follow-up of 19.3 years, 432 men developed type 2 diabetes, according to the data.
Egg consumption was linked to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes and lower blood glucose levels, the researchers found, with men in the highest quartile of egg consumption having a 38% (95% CI, 18-53; P-trend across quartiles<.001) lower risk for incident type 2 diabetes, as compared with the lowest quartile, after adjustment for potential confounders, like physical activity, BMI, smoking, and fruit and vegetable consumption.
Results also indicated an inverse association with fasting plasma glucose and serum C-reactive protein (CRP), but not serum insulin, in analyses with metabolic risk markers. Associations between cholesterol intake and type 2 diabetes risk, plasma glucose, serum insulin and CRP, however, were mainly nonsignificant, particularly after accounting for egg consumption.
The researchers noted that one potential explanation is that, unlike in other populations, egg consumption in Finland is not strongly linked with unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, low physical activity or consumption of processed meats, according to a press release.
Additionally, the suggestion that health effects of foods may be difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient, such as cholesterol in eggs was made.