Eggs, one of the most popular breakfast foods across the globe, may no longer be as healthy as we once thought. Scrambled, poached, boiled, over-easy, no matter how you cook them, a new study shows that an excess of egg consumption in one’s diet may now increase your risk for diabetes.
This new study, one that covered the timeframe from 1991 to 2009, was conducted in partnership between the China Medical University and Qatar University, and is the first to study egg consumption in a large sample of Chinese adults. The study showed that people who consumed one or more eggs per day as part of their diet increased their risk of developing diabetes by 60 percent.
Diabetes, in general, is on the rise around the world, so efforts to curb this debilitating and oft-times deadly disease is in full gear. Among the Chinese population, diabetes now exceeds 11 percent. The average across the globe is at 8.5 percent. By comparison, America stands at nearly 10.5 percent.
UniSA’s Dr. Ming Li is an epidemiologist and public health expert who says that changes to the traditional diet is the main cause for the jump in diabetes across China. “Over the past few decades, China has undergone a substantial nutritional transition that’s seen many people move away from a traditional diet comprising grains and vegetables, to a more processed diet that includes greater amounts of meat, snacks and energy-dense food.”
Dr. Li also pointed out how eggs are a growing part of the Chinese diet. “At the same time, egg consumption has also been steadily increasing; from 1991 to 2009, the number of people eating eggs in China nearly doubled.”
While these numbers are startling, research shows that eggs can be a great source of protein and other nutrients. They are also very high in cholesterol, which is bad news for those who already have diabetes. Also important to one’s diet is how people cook their eggs and what they eat with them. Are they cooked in oil or butter? Do you add bacon, ham, or sausage to the breakfast? All these play a part in the risk of heart disease, one major cause of diabetes.
Dr. Li continued to speak about the effects the study showed in people who were consuming eggs for the long-term diet. “What we discovered was that higher long-term egg consumption (greater than 38 grams per day) increased the risk of diabetes among Chinese adults by approximately 25 percent. Furthermore, adults who regularly ate a lot of eggs (over 50 grams, or equivalent to one egg, per day) had an increased risk of diabetes by 60 percent.” The study also showed that this increase was more prevalent in women than in men.
With any food as it pertains to diabetes, it comes down to will power, monitoring of one’s diet, and control of the excess. Type 2 diabetes can wreak havoc on the body, causing many issues, many of which can start in the pancreas, which produces insulin, and helps control blood sugar. When blood sugar is out of control, it can cause severe damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and various other body parts. It can also cause major sexual problems and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.
As Dr. Li sees it, long-term goals for patients are just the beginning. He feels a “multi-faceted approach” should be used to help fight this deadly disease. A combination of research and a very clear set of guidelines could help inform the public and guide them along the way to beating this terrible disease. Dr. Li feels that their study is but one step toward achieving that goal.
Eggs are just one more part of the problem that can be controlled. As Yvonne Thigpen, the diabetes program coordinator at Mount Clemens Regional Medical Center in Michigan, succinctly put it via Health “The good news is that with diabetes, 90% is up to the patient.” She then added some perspective, “The bad news is that 90% of diabetes management is up to them.”