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Eating eggs reduces risk of type 2 diabetes

This paper shows that egg consumption may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Earlier research has shown links between lifestyle habits, such as exercise and nutrition, and a reduction of the disease but this study has showed that egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes as well as with lower blood glucose levels.

This positive effect persisted even after possible confounding factors (physical activity, body mass index, smoking and consumption of fruits and vegetables) were taken into consideration. The consumption of more than four eggs/day did not bring any significant additional benefits. Egg consumption in Finland is however not strongly associated with unhealthy lifestyle habits which might be a possible explanation for these results.


Background: The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing around the world. Eggs are a major source of cholesterol, which has been associated with elevated blood glucose and an increased risk of T2D. However, there are limited and conflicting data from prospective population studies on the association between egg consumption and risk of T2D.

Objective: We investigated the association between egg consumption and risk of incident T2D in middle-aged and older men from eastern Finland.

Design: The study included 2332 men aged 42–60 y in 1984–1989 at the baseline examinations of the prospective, population-based Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Dietary intakes were assessed with 4-d food records at baseline. Incident T2D was assessed by self-administered questionnaires; by fasting and 2-h oral-glucose-tolerance-test blood glucose measurement at re-examination rounds 4, 11, and 20 y after baseline; and by record linkage to a hospital discharge registry and reimbursement register of diabetes medication expenses. Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to estimate associations with the risk of incident T2D. Associations with the metabolic risk markers at baseline and at the 4-y examinations were analyzed by ANCOVA.

Results: During an average follow-up of 19.3 y, 432 men developed T2D. After adjustment for potential confounders, those in the highest vs. the lowest egg intake quartile had a 38% (95% CI: 18%, 53%; P-trend across quartiles <0.001) lower risk of incident T2D. Analyses with metabolic risk markers also suggested an inverse association with fasting plasma glucose and serum C-reactive protein but not with serum insulin. The associations between cholesterol intake and risk of T2D, plasma glucose, serum insulin, and C-reactive protein were mainly nonsignificant, especially after accounting for egg consumption.

Conclusion: Higher egg intake was associated with a lower risk of T2D in this cohort of middle-aged and older men.


Virtanen, J. K., Mursu, J., Tuomainen, T-P., Virtanen, H., Voutilainen S., 2015, Egg consumption and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, DOI: 10.3945/%u200Bajcn.114.104109 

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