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.
Because eggs help you feel full after eating they have the potential to help regulate calorie intake for weight control. Eggs may also have the ability to reduce the extent to which diet affects a person’s blood glucose level. There’s also evidence that eggs can lower systolic blood pressure. In a recent study, individuals with type 2 diabetes who ate two eggs daily for three months experienced reductions in body weight, belly fat, blood pressure and three-month average blood glucose.
Have you ever wondered if brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs? Many people believe brown eggs are superior to white eggs. The fact is the color of the eggshell does not affect the quality, flavor, nutritional content, shell thickness, or even cooking properties. Shell color is dependent on the breed of hen.
Generally, hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay eggs with brown shells, while hens with white feathers and ear lobes lay eggs with white shells – the only difference is the price. That’s because hens that lay brown eggs are larger and require more feed than hens that lay white eggs. To cover the additional feed brown eggs are sold at a higher price.
Eggs can be part of a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes. If you have questions or concerns about fitting eggs into your diet a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help you. Click here to find an RDN near you.
Constance Brown-Riggs, is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, national speaker and author of the Diabetes Guide to Enjoying Foods of the World, a convenient guide to help people with diabetes enjoy all the flavors of the world while still following a healthy meal plan. Follow Constance on social media @eatingsoulfully