In a new study, researchers found that excess egg consumption can increase your risk of diabetes.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of South Australia and elsewhere.
Scrambled, poached, or boiled, eggs are a popular breakfast food the world over.
Yet the health benefits of the humble egg have not been fully established.
The current study (1991 to 2009) is the first to assess egg consumption in a large sample of Chinese adults (8545 people, average age 50 years).
It found that people who regularly consumed one or more eggs per day (equivalent to 50 grams) increased their risk of diabetes by 60%.
With the prevalence of diabetes in China now exceeding 11%– above that of the global average of 8.5% – diabetes has become a serious public health concern.
The economic impact of diabetes is also significant, accounting for 10% of global health expenditure (USD $760 billion). In China, diabetes-related costs have exceeded USD $109 billion.
Diet is a known and modifiable factor that contributes to the onset of Type 2 diabetes, so understanding the range of dietary factors that might impact the growing prevalence of the disease is important.
Over the past few decades, China has undergone a substantial nutritional transition that’s seen many people move away from a traditional diet comprising grains and vegetables, to a more processed diet that includes greater amounts of meat, snacks, and energy-dense food.
At the same time, egg consumption has also been steadily increasing; from 1991 to 2009, the number of people eating eggs in China nearly doubled.
While the association between eating eggs and diabetes is often debated, this study has aimed to assess people’s long-term egg consumption of eggs and their risk of developing diabetes, as determined by fasting blood glucose.
The team found that higher long-term egg consumption (greater than 38 grams per day) increased the risk of diabetes among adults by approximately 25%.
Furthermore, adults who regularly ate a lot of eggs (over 50 grams, or equivalent to one egg, per day) had an increased risk of diabetes by 60%.
The effect was also more pronounced in women than in men.
While these results suggest that higher egg consumption is positively linked to the risk of diabetes in Chinese adults, more research is needed to explore causal relationships.
One author of the study is Epidemiologist and public health expert, UniSA’s Dr. Ming Li.
The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
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