Does egg consumption increase the risk of type 2 diabetes?

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. A single boiled egg contains vitamin A, folate, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, phosphorus, selenium, as well as amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium and zinc.

It has remained unsettled, whether egg consumption is associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) or not. A study by Drouin-Chartier et al., 2020, evaluated the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes (T2D) risk in 3 large US prospective cohorts. They performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. In all 3 cohorts, detailed information on egg consumption and diet was collected every 2–4 years for more than 32 years of follow-up. Whereas, in all 3 studies, self-administered validated questionnaires with information on disease diagnoses, health, and lifestyle factors were completed every 2 years.

As a result of all the 3 cohorts, higher egg intake was associated with higher body mass index (BMI) and lower prevalence of reported hypercholesterolemia and statin (drugs often prescribed by doctors) use. Furthermore, intakes of total calories, red meat, bacon, other processed red meats, refined grains, potatoes, full-fat milk, coffee, and dietary cholesterol were positively associated with egg consumption.

An increase of 1 whole egg per day was also associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Whereas, replacing 1 whole egg per day with 1 serving of yogurt, high-fat cheese, or full-fat milk was associated with a 9%–19% lower risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D). Statistical replacement of 1 whole egg per day with 1 serving of legumes, potatoes, refined grains, poultry, low-fat cheese, unprocessed meat, fish, or processed meat was not associated with type 2 diabetes risk.

However, significant differences between geographic regions were found, 1 egg per day increase in consumption was associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes risk (T2D) among US studies, but not among European or Asian.

After adjustment for lifestyle factors and foods commonly consumed with eggs, in these cohort studies of US women and men, it was observed that consumption of each egg per day was associated with a 14% higher risk of type 2 diabetes risk (T2D). Nevertheless, this is a modest increase, that shows no overall association between moderate egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes.

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