Good Eggs, Bad Eggs?

For decades, eggs have been the subject of nutritional controversy. Studies touting their health benefits have gained attention, only to be followed by other studies warning of the dire consequences of eating them. Recently, eggs have been enjoying something of a critical revival, as the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee appears on the verge of scrapping its longtime recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol intake in the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans set to be released this fall. A recent study, however, offers mixed news on eggs for people with — or at risk of developing — Type 2 diabetes.


Published earlier this month in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the study looked at 2,332 Finnish men between the ages of 42 and 60 who were initially surveyed and evaluated in the 1980s, then 4, 11, and 20 years later. During this follow-up period, 432 men developed Type 2 diabetes. Those participants who initially consumed the most eggs were found to be 38% less likely to develop diabetes than those who consumed the least eggs in the study — a difference between eating an average of about four eggs versus less than one egg per week. As noted in an article on the study in The Telegraph, the association between egg intake and diabetes risk stayed the same when factors such as physical activity levels, body-mass index, smoking status, and fruit and vegetable intake were taken into account. No benefit was seen, however, from eating more than four eggs per week.

The researchers for this study speculated that the benefits of egg consumption could be due to nutrients contained in eggs that affect glucose metabolism and low-grade inflammation. They warned, though, against recommending eggs for people who already have Type 2 diabetes, since they appear to increase the rate of heart disease in people who have already received a diagnosis.

The new study adds to a confusing and contradictory body of evidence regarding eggs and diabetes risk that has emerged in recent years. In 2008, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that greater egg consumption was associated with a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in both men and women. And just last fall, a study presented at the conference of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that among people with Type 2 diabetes, a diet rich in eggs led to more lasting fullness and reduced food cravings while having no negative effect on blood cholesterol levels. These effects were seen even though the study’s high-egg-intake and low-egg-intake groups ate the same amount of protein overall.

What’s your policy on eggs — have you eaten more or less of them as studies have suggested that they’re good or bad in certain ways, or have your habits stayed pretty much the same? Have you tried to split the difference between sources by including a moderate amount of eggs in your diet? Is there any outcome or recommendation that could convince you to significantly increase or decrease your egg intake? Leave a comment below!

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  • Joan Lee Russell

    No mention of what eggs do or not do for Type 1 diabetics.
    I am a T1D for 57 years and have had one egg pre day for many of these years with no negative results.
    My A1c is from 5.7 to 6.

  • JohnC

    AND… those who were eating eggs for breakfast probably weren’t consuming really high carb foods like toast and cereal. Eggs have at most about 1 gram of carbohydrates per egg.

    • Audrey_Nickel

      Quite possibly not the case. Eggs are often consumed with toast and/or potatoes in just about every culture.

      • Mohamed Akram

        not by me it’s not. here in malaysia we eat half boiled eggs like some kind of mini soup with soy sauce or salt with pepper. i’m like a monitor lizard who occasionally take his eggs with bread or toast. my current best is 5 in a single helping for breakfast. either i skip lunch or just take snacks like wholemeal crackers.

  • GPM

    I,m Type2 and eat 2 eggs every morning for the last 4 months, my HbA1c=5.5 on 22/07/15

  • Jeremy VanBussum

    Eggs are baller. Good staple for paleo. Forget breakfast, I eat them for dinner every night!

  • jerry bouchet

    I have eaten 5 or 6 eggs for 55 years if it were bad for you wouldn’t I be dead and history now.

    • Trp

      Sir, 5 or 6 egss per day or per week?

  • nomadicwanderer

    I am addicted to eggs and have been eating almost 2 plus eggs daily since 50 years. Yet I got diabetes 2 at the age of 50. Still eat them as it is an addiction and very satsfying.

  • Jeanne Treharn Gibson

    So confusing, to limit carbs I was having 2 scrambled eggs per day for 3 months ( no toast unless, only one egg). then I read article that said BAD for me as T2 diabetic. I would eat oatmeal but too many carbs……. what can I have for breakfast ??? ( no cereal carbs, donuts, pastry, pancakes, etc )

  • L.Phillips

    Besides becoming a vegetarian with eggs, what else did you do to reduce your A1C numbers?

  • Laura Cole

    I’m pre-diabetic and have been trying to manage my BG levels to prevent a full diagnosis and having to use medication. I went on a low-carb diet (around 30-40g per day). Wit this, I had to switch out my morning granola for eggs. I love eggs! They’re low carb and high fat, so perfect right? I found my blood glucose levels rise to around 150-160 after eating scrambled eggs. No bread or carbs with it. 🙁 Not what I was going for. I’ve seen the same effect with the green shakes in the morning. I’m thinking it may still be glucogenesis from my liver kicking out sugar and fats. I like to think that this will actually help heal my liver and decrease over time? Not sure about that though. Mi may try eating a few carbs with the eggs to see if that helps, or switch back to a sugar free granola or flaxseed oatmeal.