Diabetes Diet : The Much Maligned Egg Makes A Comeback

The recently revised U.S. Dietary Guidelines now reflect what some researchers have been saying for years, that the nutrient cholesterol is not a threat to our health.

Since cholesterol is no longer a dietary villain, neither are cholesterol rich foods such as the egg. Yet, after being told for decades to limit egg consumption, some of us - especially those at higher risk for cardiovascular disease - may remain skeptical about eating more of them.

An Egg-cellent Test

An interesting study involving overweight and obese people with type 2 or pre-diabetes might help skeptics rethink the role of eggs in their diet.

Some of the research participants, those in the high-egg group, were instructed to eat 12 eggs per week, increasing their cholesterol intake by 281 milligrams daily. The participants in the low-egg group were asked to eat fewer than two eggs each week, reducing their daily intake of cholesterol.

Both groups consumed the same amount of protein weekly, and in the end:

  • The high-egg folks reported less hunger and a greater sense of satisfaction following breakfast.
  • The increased cholesterol consumption had no ill-effect on the high-egg participants’ lipid profile.

“No between-group differences were shown for total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, or glycemic control,” noted the researchers in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “This study suggests that a high-egg diet can be included safely as part of the dietary management of type 2 diabetes, and it may provide greater satiety.”

Abundant Nutrients

The research is especially good news since eggs are loaded with beneficial vitamins and antioxidants.

Eggs have, for instance, an abundance of choline, a B vitamin vital for brain development, mental clarity, and memory function, yet up to 90 percent of us in the U.S. are choline deficient. Other egg-tastic nutrients are:

  • Lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotenoid—antioxidants known to facilitate healthy vision.
  • Tyrosine and tryptophan, amino acids with antioxidant properties that support cardiac health, and help prevent cancer.
  • Vitamins A, E, and B6, calcium, copper, and folate.

With so much dietary goodness inside each shell, eating eggs is an easy way to increase nutrient intake, and maybe even eliminate some nutrient deficiencies. However, if you are on a doctor or dietitian recommended diet, consult with him or her before making a dietary change.

Not All Eggs Are Alike

Though all eggs provide dietary benefits, the most nutritious are free-range or “pastured” organic eggs. They are laid by hens that have access to the outdoors, imbibe a natural diet, and lead happy hen lives. However, any egg is considered organic if the chickens are fed only organic food, even if they are caged or kept indoors.

Conventionally raised eggs generally come from chickens that are caged or always indoors, and are fed on grain likely sprayed with pesticides. If this doesn’t bother you, there is plenty of nourishment to be had by eating them.

Those interested in buying organic eggs, and want to compare the living conditions of hens at different egg farms, check out the Cornucopia Institute’s organic farm egg scorecard; a link is provided below.

Sources: Farm Egg Scorecard/Cornucopia Insititute; NCBI; Mercola
Photo credit: Jorge Brazil

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