Eggs Exonerated (Again)

We all love a good mystery novel or TV show where circumstantial and other seemingly convincing evidence is misdirecting or misleading us until everything resolves at the last moment into a clear picture. And, real life is never as simple as fiction. For instance, one of the most surprising things we hear from people who study criminal proceedings is that even eyewitness testimony to a crime is commonly just wrong. Sometimes, health-related evidence in the real world is confusing, or at least less clear as time passes too, and such is the story of eggs. And, a new study suggests eggs can be exonerated when it comes to a healthy diabetes eating plan.

Complete protein

One thing that’s never been in doubt about eggs is the quality of their protein. In fact, eggs define what nutrition science labels the “complete protein.” A complete protein food is one which provides an adequate proportion of all the amino acids we must get from food (i.e. we cannot manufacture them from other amino acids). And, when it comes to complete protein foods, eggs just might be the “completest.” A measure called the “protein digestibility corrected amino acid score” rates eggs a perfect 1.

Diabetes management and eggs

The history of eggs and diabetes has been rocky, however. Not only have some studies hinted that egg consumption may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, other studies have yielded conflicting connections between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease.

This most recent study, conducted in Australia on people with existing type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, found no differences in markers of heart disease between a group eating 12 eggs per week and a matched group eating less than 2 per week. In specific, participants showed no adverse effects to LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, typically high in people with type 2 diabetes. The participants’ diet did, it’s worth noting, replace other sources of saturated fats like butter with healthy unsaturated fats. But, the exoneration of eggs, and the go-ahead to include them as part of a healthy diet, is consistent with many other studies in the complex world of nutrition science.

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