October 29, 2014

Have Diabetes, Stop Worrying About Eggs

I know some people with or without diabetes that cannot stomach eggs. For the rest of you, eggs are a great source of protein and cholesterol will not be a problem – much to your disbelief.

According to Nicholas Fuller, PhD, from the Boden Institute Clinical Trials Unit, University of Sydney, Australia, the findings of a study suggest that eating two eggs per day, 6 days a week can be a safe part of a healthy diet for people with type 2 diabetes. The study lasted for 3 months, a time-span in which a change in cholesterol levels can become clear. It was supported by a research grant from the Australian Egg Corporation.

Yes, I know, this suggests a study that may not be without bias. A study for three months can also hide some trends and give results desired. At least Fuller said there is a lack of research into the effects of eating high amounts of eggs in people with type 2 diabetes. National guidelines on eating eggs and total cholesterol limits are inconclusive, though, and guidelines vary between different countries.

Researchers also found that eating an egg-rich diet for 3 months was linked to better appetite control, and may provide a greater sense of satiety (feeling full). Fuller said the study was motivated by the negative perception widely held toward eggs in the diets of people with type 2 diabetes.

I was a little surprised when I looked into the study and discovered that it was also a weight-control study. The study participants were required to report to the clinic each month. During the visit, they were given advice that had to follow about the types of foods and amount they could eat. Saturated fats were not allowed, but certain unsaturated fats were.

The number of participants was 140 overweight people with type 2 diabetes and they were divided into two groups – one group that would eat less than two eggs per week and the second group that would eat two eggs per day at breakfast for six days per week. Too small a study to begin with, but the results is now questionable, even the low-egg group consuming matching protein with the high-egg group. As expected, both groups were tested for cholesterol levels.

The other expected statement was the lead author calling for more research to confirm whether a high-egg diet in people with type 2 diabetes does raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Fuller commented that despite both groups being equalized for protein consumed, the high-egg group reported less hunger and greater fullness after meals.

Eggs may also help with greater weight loss, less weight regain than a conventional diet, due to the greater fullness, and less hunger reported with a high-egg diet. The high-egg group also reported more enjoyment of foods, less boredom, and more satisfaction with the diet.

I can speak to the latter quite easily now that I can eat eggs again after having my gallbladder removed. Prior to that, every time I ate hard-boiled eggs or egg salad, I would have a severe gallbladder attack. I like my eggs cooked in a wide variety of ways and can eat four to seven per day without thinking about it. I like scrambled, poached, hard & soft-boiled, fried, egg salad, and several other methods. Since my cholesterol levels are remaining where they should, I will continue to enjoy my eggs.

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