‘Cut down on eggs to lower diabetes risk’

If your breakfast menu regularly includes eggs,you may be at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,a new research had revealed.

Written by Teena Thacker | Published:March 21, 2009 12:03 am

If your breakfast menu regularly includes eggs,you may be at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes,a new research had revealed.

According to the article,published in the recent issue of Diabetes Care,the more the consumption of eggs,higher the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The percentage of risk however varies among men and women. As per the research conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School,if a man consumes two to four eggs a week,there is an 18 per cent more risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The risk increases as the consumption increases. For example,in case of men,the consumption of five to six eggs a week results in a 46 per cent risk and more than seven eggs a week increases the risk to 58 per cent.

As for women,consumption of more than seven eggs a week results in 77 per cent more risk for developing diabetes; having two to four eggs a week increases the risk by 19 per cent.

Appreciating the findings,Dr Anoop Misra,Director and Head Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases,Fortis Hospitals,said the study is very relevant for Indians.

“The study is crucial because of several reasons. In India,egg is considered part of breakfast,and most of fast food outlets have multiple egg-based preparations; also,the occurrence of diabetes is climbing steadily in India.”

Those prone to diabetes — having a family history of diabetes or obesity — should keep their egg consumption under three eggs a week,he said. “Besides high cholesterol,egg consumption should be taken as a dietary determinant for diabetes,” he said.

This is one of the biggest trials including over 20,000 men and 36,000 women,said Misra. While the study for men started in 1982 and was over in 2007,for women it started in 1992 and ended in 2007. The researchers followed 20,703 men and 36,295 women and ascertained their egg consumption,with the help of questionnaires. During a follow-up of 20 years in case of men and 12 years in women,1,921 men and 2,112 women developed Type 2 diabetes.

It was found that those who ate an egg a day were 58 per cent to 77 per cent more likely than non-egg-eaters to develop Type 2 diabetes.

“Eggs are not only major sources of dietary protein but also contain minerals,vitamins,carotenoids,saturated,polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated acids. Several of these nutrients have been associated with an increased risk of diabetes,” says the study. The researchers therefore,have suggested that one keeps egg intake limited. While the study does not exactly explain the link between egg consumption and diabetes,it is indicated that cholesterol may have a role to play.

The study participants’ daily cholesterol intake was related to diabetes risk and when the researchers factored it in,the relationship between egg intake and diabetes weakened.

According to Dr NP Singh,Professor of Medicine,Maulana Azad Medical College,the study complements the earlier studies. “Last year too,a 20-year-old study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,had warned middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week of an early death. This study henceforth complements and adds significance,” he said.

“It shows how increasing the fat load increases the load on pancreas,which produces less insulin as well as resistance to the action of insulin,” added Dr Misra. According to him,the research holds more significance for people belonging to middle and lower economic strata in India. “Roadside eggs are mostly consumed by middle and lower income groups. The oil used is bad,which increases the damage,” he said.

Leading nutritionist Dr Ishi Khosla,however,has a different view. “The relation between eggs and diabetes is not very sound. One egg a day is fine for health. Excessive egg consumption alone cannot cause Type 2 diabetes,there must be other associated factors involved.”

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