Aug. 22, 2018

Encouraging News about Eggs & Diabetes

President's Blog
Margaret Hudson
President, Burnbrae Farms
4th Generation Farmer

Hi, my name is Margaret Hudson, my family owns and operates Burnbrae Farms and has been farming since 1891. I am passionate about nutrition and health and of course eggs! I am excited to share some of my learnings from almost 30 years of working in our family’s egg business and a lifetime of being around our farm.  If you have enjoyed receiving this information and would like to receive more posts, please sign up in the link at the bottom of the page for our company newsletter.

Do you know anyone with type 2 diabetes? Since it affects an estimated 3.4 million Canadians , there’s a good chance that you do. And the number of Canadians diagnosed with diabetes is expected to rise to five million by 2025.

It’s well-known that type 2 diabetes prevention and treatment includes a balanced, nutritious diet and regular activity. In fact, according to Harvard’s School of Public Health , about 90 percent of diabetes cases could be avoided by taking several simple steps:

  • - Keeping weight under control

  • - Exercising more

  • - Eating a healthy diet

  • - Not smoking

Here at Burnbrae Farms, we’re always following the news about diabetes, specifically because the research on egg consumption for people with diabetes is always evolving. We want to ensure we share the most up-to-date, scientific and accurate information. Here’s what we know so far.

While eggs were vindicated many years ago as a food that was not going to negatively affect cholesterol levels, there was still a lingering question about how many eggs were recommended for people with type 2 diabetes. The old recommendation was to eat no more than two eggs per week if you have type 2 diabetes.

In June 2018, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined egg consumption patterns among people with diabetes to see how many eggs they could safely eat. Two types of diets were tested: a high-egg diet (12 or more eggs per week) and a low-egg diet (less than two eggs per week). In both cases, the diets were calorie-reduced, specific foods were recommended, and most saturated fat was replaced with mono or polyunsaturated fat. In other words, the diets were healthy and balanced.

The researchers found those who ate the high egg diet did not have adverse effects on cardio-metabolic risk factors. That means even people who ate 12 eggs a week had no differences in cholesterol level, blood sugar level or glycated hemoglobin (or HbA1c, which measures blood sugar levels over a two or three-month period). The researchers concluded that: a healthy diet based on population guidelines and including more eggs than currently recommended by some countries may be safely consumed.

A summary of studies on egg intake for people with type 2 diabetes was published last year in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes. Researchers reviewed 10 studies and the majority of them found that eating 6 to 12 eggs per week had no impact on cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose or insulin for people with diabetes. They specifically noted eating 6 to 12 eggs per week was fine, in the larger context of an overall healthy diet that is consistent with guidelines on cardiovascular health.

As I see it, there are two important common threads in these studies. First, people with type 2 diabetes can eat up to 12 eggs per week and still maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, which is quite different than the old recommendation of 2 eggs per week. The nutrition guidelines haven’t changed yet, but maybe they will one day based on this new research?

And second, it’s the total diet that matters more than any one individual food. Notice that both studies were based on healthy and nutritious diets that follow the recommended guidelines. That means eggs are fine as part of a nutritious diet – one with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein.

Margaret Hudson

President, Burnbrae Farms