NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An egg a day for breakfast probably won’t increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, according to a new study.
In the study, researchers failed to see a significant association between eating eggs occasionally or almost daily and the development of type 2 diabetes in nearly 4,000 older men and women.
While eggs are a key source of dietary cholesterol, they also contain a number of other potentially beneficial nutrients, Dr. Luc Djousse of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues point out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
“Because eggs could serve as a readily available and inexpensive source for vitamins, proteins and other nutrients in the United States,” they add, “it is important” to figure out the net effects of egg consumption as a whole food on type 2 diabetes risk.
To investigate, the researchers looked at 3,898 men and women participating in the Cardiovascular Health Study. All were at least 65 years old when they enrolled in the study. During follow-up, which averaged about 11 years, 313 people developed type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to being overweight as well as poor diet and lack of exercise.
Djousse and his colleagues found no relationship between any amount of egg consumption and increased risk of type 2 diabetes. They also found no link between dietary cholesterol overall and diabetes risk. While men in the top category of egg consumption, meaning they ate eggs almost daily, were at increased type 2 diabetes risk, this increase wasn’t statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance.
Other studies that have linked eggs to diabetes have found an association with very high consumption, the researchers note, generally for eating seven or more eggs a week. On average, participants in this study ate less than one egg a week, the researchers add, so there may not have been enough people with very high egg intakes to establish whether this was harmful.
Nevertheless, they conclude, the current investigation doesn’t back any significant relationship between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 9, 2010.