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Eggs For Diabetes – The Significance

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Diabetes is a serious health condition caused by an imbalance of the hormone, insulin,  produced by the pancreas.

When the pancreas fail to make enough of this hormone, it can cause type-2 diabetes while the complete inability of the pancreas to make insulin is called Type-1 diabetes. 

Insulin is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels, and if it is not regulated, it can lead to hyperglycemia (high blood glucose). If left untreated, diabetes can cause severe damage to the nerves and blood vessels over time.

People with diabetes must pay close attention to their diets to effectively manage their condition. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of nutrient-dense foods. Primarily protein and fibre are essential components of a diabetes diet

It is also important to watch portions and eat regular meals to maintain a stable blood sugar level. By making healthy dietary choices, individuals with diabetes can reduce their risk of developing diabetes-related complications.

People with diabetes can benefit from including eggs and other high-protein foods in their diet. It can help control their blood sugar levels. Additionally, eggs are a valuable source of vitamins, minerals, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These two antioxidants can be especially useful in reducing the risk of getting cataracts and other eye-related issues.

Nutritional Values of Eggs

According to USDA, one large whole egg contains the following nutrients.

  • Energy: 71.9kCal
  • Protein: 6.24g
  • Total Fats: 6.24g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.48g
  • Calcium: 24.1mg
  • Iron: 0.84mg
  • Magnesium: 5.73g
  • Selenium: 15.6µg

Are Eggs Good for Diabetics?

Eggs are a nutritious food option which contributes to weight management and muscle building for people with diabetes.

One large egg provides protein, fats, vitamins A, B12, and D, and minerals like selenium and zinc. This combination of these nutrients makes eggs a great source of vitamins and minerals.

Eggs contain adequate quantities of protein and fat but minimal carbohydrates.

Studies have indicated that the digestion of carbohydrates leads to the production of glucose, a form of blood sugar. Therefore, eating eggs is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar levels than other foods containing carbohydrates. However, the type and amount of food consumed can affect insulin sensitivity and overall blood sugar levels.

Glycemic Index of Eggs

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure used to calculate how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. Foods are scored from 0 to 100 and are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic. Studies show that the GI of a food can affect your blood glucose levels. 

As per the data, the glycemic index of eggs is 0. Therefore, eggs generally do not cause any rise in blood sugar. However, it is essential to consider how eggs are cooked (e.g., fried, scrambled, hard-boiled) and what they are eaten with (e.g., toast, bacon, hash browns) as these can influence their effect on blood sugar levels.

Eating eggs as part of a healthy diet can help people with diabetes to maintain a balanced blood sugar level.

The HealthifyMe Note

Including eggs in a balanced diet can benefit a diabetes management plan. They are low in carbs, a good protein source, and contain various vitamins and minerals. In addition, eating eggs can help keep blood sugar levels stable, as protein takes longer to digest than carbs and can help slow down sugar absorption into the bloodstream. However, paying attention to how one prepares them and portion sizes.

Benefits of Eggs for Diabetes Patients

Eggs can be beneficial for people with diabetes for several reasons. Some of the benefits of eggs for diabetes management include the following.

Stable Blood Sugar Levels

Eggs contain protein which is slower to digest than carbohydrates.

As a result, they help manage blood sugar levels by controlling the rate of sugar absorption into the bloodstream. As a result, it can help avoid blood sugar fluctuations, such as sudden spikes and dips.

Low in Carbohydrates

People with diabetes who need to watch their carb intake may find eggs a good choice. It is because eggs are low in carbohydrates. 

Studies have indicated that Low Carbohydrate Dietary approaches (LCDs) are as good as other diet strategies, or even better, for managing diabetes.

Additionally, Low Carbohydrate Diets have proven to be an effective way for some individuals to achieve remission of Type 2 diabetes.

Rich in Nutrients

Eggs are rich in essential nutrients, including vitamin D, B12, and selenium.

It is essential to maintain sufficient amounts of vitamin D and B12 to manage diabetes effectively. These nutrients help increase insulin sensitivity, control blood sugar levels, and decrease the chance of developing any complications.

Vitamin D

People with diabetes may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency due to various factors. Some factors are inadequate sun exposure, reduced absorption, and certain medications. 

Research shows that vitamin D can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels.

Vitamin B12

People with diabetes may be more vulnerable to B12 deficiency due to impaired absorption, nerve damage, and certain medications. Supplementing with B12 promotes healthy nerve function and reduces the risk of neuropathy.

This vitamin is vital for the proper functioning of the brain and nervous system, as well as the metabolism of carbohydrates and the creation of red blood cells.

Selenium

Studies suggest that selenium, a trace mineral, may have a role in diabetes management.

For example, low levels of selenium lead to higher oxidative stress and inflammation levels in people with diabetes, both risk factors for complications. To reduce these risks, supplementing with selenium may help to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. 

Another study found that combining selenium with other antioxidants improved insulin sensitivity and decreased oxidative stress in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Versatility and Affordability

Eggs are versatile, budget-friendly, and convenient. In addition, incorporating them into many different meals makes them a perfect choice for those looking to save money while managing their diabetes.

Including eggs in a balanced diet can benefit people with diabetes as long as they are mindful of the preparation method and portion size. One must aim to incorporate eggs into a comprehensive and personalised nutrition plan.

Hence it is best to speak to a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian for individualised advice. Talk to a registered nutritionist at HealthifyMe to get a customised plan to manage diabetes.

Ways to Consume Eggs for Diabetes Patients

Here are some ways that one can incorporate eggs into a diabetes-friendly diet:

  • Hard-boiled eggs make an excellent snack for those with diabetes, as they are both convenient and portable. You can eat them as is or incorporate them into salads, sandwiches, omelettes, scrambled eggs, or frittatas. 
  • Adding egg whites to dishes such as quiche or frittatas can increase the protein content while keeping the calorie and carb count low. 
  • Whole-grain bread or an English muffin can be a base for an egg-based breakfast sandwich. One can also fill them with vegetables like spinach and tomatoes. 
  • One can add poached eggs to whole-grain toast or a bed of vegetables for a tasty twist.

The HealthifyMe Note

People with diabetes should be mindful of how they cook eggs and the amount they eat. Boiling or poaching are preferable to frying in oil or butter, as this can help minimise the intake of unhealthy fats. Eating eggs in moderation can help prevent excessive calorie intake and potential weight gain.

Conclusion

Eggs can be a beneficial part of a diabetes-friendly diet, given their high protein and fat content and various vitamins and minerals. Additionally, eggs are low on the glycemic index, meaning they won’t cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar levels.

Eggs can be a convenient and easy way to incorporate nutrition into any meal of the day and one can cook them in various ways.

Remember, eggs can be high in cholesterol, so be wise about how you consume them. For example, when making a 2-egg omelette, use one full egg, and the just the white of the other one.

This will give you 12 g of protein in one meal with a good amount of vitamins and minerals from the yolk and not an overflow of cholesterol. To ensure the best blood sugar and cholesterol levels, be mindful of preparation methods. It is best to boil or scramble them and make an omelette with little vegetables.

It is also crucial to be mindful of what you eat them with as this can affect their overall impact. Avoid pairing eggs with saturated fats from sausages, salami, ham or hash browns topped with butter. As with all food choices, tracking your carbohydrate and other nutrient intakes is vital as part of a healthy eating plan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How many eggs can a diabetic eat a day?

A: The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults consume 6-8% of their daily calories from protein or about 50-75 grams of protein per day for an adult on a 2000-calorie diet. It equates to 1-3 eggs per day. However, an individual’s age, sex, weight, and activity level should be considered when determining their egg intake. People with diabetes should consult a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to determine the correct number of eggs for their needs.

Q. Do eggs increase blood sugar?

A: Eggs do not directly cause a spike in blood sugar levels. However, the cooking method and what one eats it with can affect blood sugar levels. For instance, eggs fried in butter or oil and served alongside high-carbohydrate foods like toast or hash browns could increase blood sugar levels. On the contrary, if eggs are boiled or poached and served with vegetables or whole grains, it can help to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Q. Is boiled egg good for diabetics?

A: Boiled eggs can be a beneficial choice for those with diabetes. As they provide a good source of protein, they can help maintain steady blood sugar levels. Furthermore, since protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, eggs it slows down the rate of sugar entering the bloodstream.

Q. Are eggs low glycemic foods?

A: Eggs have a glycemic index of 0. Therefore, they don’t impact blood sugar levels because of their low glycemic index. Additionally, because eggs are satiating, eating less can help you consume fewer calories, which may help you maintain better glycemic control.

The Research Sources

1. The U S Department of Agriculture

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/748967/nutrients

2. Harvard School of Public Health

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/

3. Venn BJ, Green TJ. Glycemic index and glycemic load: measurement issues and their effect on diet-disease relationships. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Dec;61 Suppl 1:S122-31. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602942. PMID: 17992183.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17992183/

4. Glycemic Index Guide

https://glycemic-index.net/egg/

5. Wheatley SD, Deakin TA, Arjomandkhah NC, Hollinrake PB, Reeves TE. Low Carbohydrate Dietary Approaches for People With Type 2 Diabetes-A Narrative Review. Front Nutr. 2021 Jul 15;8:687658. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2021.687658. PMID: 34336909; PMCID: PMC8319397.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8319397/

6. Talaei, A., Mohamadi, M. & Adgi, Z. The effect of vitamin D on insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetol Metab Syndr 5, 8 (2013).  https://doi.org/10.1186/1758-5996-5-8

https://dmsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1758-5996-5-8

7. Karalis DT. The Beneficiary Role of Selenium in Type II Diabetes: A Longitudinal Study. Cureus. 2019 Dec 22;11(12):e6443. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6443. PMID: 31998571; PMCID: PMC6973540.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6973540/

8. Gorini, F.; Vassalle, C. Selenium and Selenoproteins at the Intersection of Type 2 Diabetes and Thyroid Pathophysiology. Antioxidants 2022, 11, 1188. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11061188

https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/11/6/1188/htm#metrics

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