Do Eggs Increase Diabetes Risk?

One study finds that eating an egg a day can triple your risk of developing diabetes. But there's more to this story. Read on to see whether you should stop eating eggs.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
Episode #467

image of white and brown eggs

Amanda recently asked me to comment on a study showing that eating five or more eggs a week could triple your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This study was highlighted in an online video posted by an MD who is also a well-known proponent of a vegan diet.

Although this particular commentator always cites published research to support his points, he can be very selective about the studies that he highlights. He tends to cherry pick those that support his point of view and ignore those that don’t. To be fair, this is something we are all somewhat liable to do.

Upon closer inspection, this study did not actually find that people who ate a lot of eggs were more likely to develop diabetes. Rather, it showed that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes reported eating more eggs than those who hadn’t. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.

Interestingly, this study didn’t collect information about other aspects of their diet, just eggs. They didn’t ask, for example, how much bread, pasta, potatoes, soda, meat, fried foods, sweets, or vegetables they consumed. You have to wonder whether there might have been some other aspect of their diets that might have played a role.

But this is not the only study to look at the link between egg consumption and diabetes risk. So, what do the others say?

Is There a Link Between Eggs and Diabetes?

Other studies have also found a positive correlation between egg consumption and diabetes risk. But in every other study I found, those who ate the most eggs had a 20%-50% increase in relative risk. The 300% increase highlighted in the doctor’s video appears to be an outlier, to say the least. But that’s not the end of the story.

I found one study showing that people who ate the most eggs had a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Other studies have found no association between egg consumption and diabetes risk.

If you already know that you either do or don’t want to eat eggs and you’re simply looking for a research study to support your point of view, you can choose the study that confirms your conclusion. But, if you’re trying to decide whether or not eggs are a good choice based on the research, you’re likely to feel a little frustrated.


About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show. 

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