Can You Eat Eggs If You Have Diabetes?

People with diabetes are encouraged to eat a more plant-based diet with protein sources that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, such as poultry, fish, legumes, beans, nuts, low-fat dairy and eggs. However, many people with diabetes avoid eggs and don’t recognize them as part of a plant-based diet. Eggs can be found within the recommended eating patterns of the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association.

“Plant-based” doesn’t mean only fruits and vegetables; it also includes high-quality protein foods like eggs – a fact that is not well-known among Americans. A survey conducted by the Egg Nutrition Center (ENC) found that when asked, nearly two–thirds of consumers (63 percent) did not believe that a plant-based diet offered enough protein, and more than four in five consumers (82 percent) did not believe eggs were part of a plant-based diet.

Eggs are an all-natural nutrient powerhouse. For just 70 calories one large egg provides13 essential vitamins and minerals and 6 grams of high-quality protein. The quality of dietary protein is determined by its amino acid composition as well as how well the body digests and utilizes the amino acids.

Egg proteins, like milk and beef proteins, are easily digested and contain all of the essential amino acids. Eggs are also a good source of other important nutrients like vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, and selenium. One large egg provides 600 milligrams of the essential amino acid leucine which plays a unique role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.

The yolk of the egg is where most of the eggs’ nutrients are found. Almost half of the protein in eggs is found in the yolk along with fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, E, A, choline, and the antioxidants lutein/zeaxanthin. Additionally, the fat in the egg yolk which is mostly unsaturated aids in the absorption of these essential nutrients.