Does anyone remember the “no tat” craze during the 1990s? The grocery store shelves were lined with non-fat products — non-fat cheese, fat-free ice cream, fat-free cookies — even fat free bologna. Statistically, America actually got fatter while this was going on … all the time believing that we were doing the best thing for our health.
One of the biggest taboos during the fat-free era were eggs, or more specifically egg yolks. That’s when the egg white trend started. Long after most of those fat-free products disappeared from the grocery shelves, or at least took a back seat to lower fat or full fat items, the trend against whole fresh eggs continued. It did die down slowly but surely as new research and advice found that whole egg consumption (in moderation) is actually healthy. Today there’s more research showing more health benefits from the incredible, edible egg.
Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the world. Research has shown that lifestyle habits, such as exercise and nutrition, play a crucial role in the development of the disease. In some studies, high-cholesterol diets have been associated with disturbances in glucose metabolism and risk of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, in some experimental studies, the consumption of eggs has led to improved glucose balance, among other things. However, there is no experimental data available on the effects of egg consumption on the incidence of type 2 diabetes. In population-based studies, too, the association between egg consumption and type 2 diabetes has been investigated only scarcely, and the findings have been inconclusive. Egg consumption has either been associated with an elevated risk, or no association has been found.
The dietary habits of 2,332 men aged between 42 and 60 years were assessed at the baseline of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, KIHD, at the University of Eastern Finland in 1984-1989. During a follow-up of 19.3 years, 432 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
The study found that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as with lower blood glucose levels. Men who ate approximately four eggs per week had a 37 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than men who only ate approximately one egg per week. This association persisted even after possible confounding factors such as physical activity, body mass index, smoking and consumption of fruits and vegetables were taken into consideration. The consumption of more than four eggs did not bring any significant additional benefits.
A possible explanation is that unlike in many other populations, egg consumption in Finland is not strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, low physical activity or consumption of processed meats. In addition to cholesterol, eggs contain many beneficial nutrients that can have an effect on, for example, glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation, and thus lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study also suggests that the overall health effects of foods are difficult to anticipate based on an individual nutrient such as cholesterol alone. Indeed, instead of focusing on individual nutrients, nutrition research has increasingly focused on the health effects of whole foods and diets over the past few years.
Fresh eggs are real food. FoodFacts.com believes that focusing our diets as much as possible on fresh, whole foods benefits our health. More and more research is released almost daily testifying to the importance of our dietary habits. We strive for balance, moderation and nutritional quality in the foods we choose to consume. We hope you do, too!