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Are Eggs Good for Diabetes? Nutritional Value, Glycemic Index, and Health Benefits
Diabetes

Are Eggs Good for Diabetes? Nutritional Value, Glycemic Index, and Health Benefits

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 19
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5 min

Eggs are a staple part of a healthy and nutritious diet filled with a range of whole foods. While eggs may be a beneficial addition for most, it’s important to determine if they are suitable for diabetes. Keep reading for the complete guide to eggs and how they fit in with a diabetes diet.

Are eggs good for diabetes

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With diabetes, mindfulness about what you eat is essential. Many foods can spike blood glucose levels and drive insulin resistance, further complicating the condition.

While there may be several foods to avoid, there are plenty of foods you can enjoy with diabetes. Lots of foods can play a beneficial role in regulating blood sugar levels and improving insulin sensitivity. With a little research, you can expand your diet without harming your health.

Eggs are a source of high-quality protein, healthy fats, and many essential vitamins and minerals. Thanks to the nutritional content, eating eggs and other protein-rich foods may be a smart move for people with diabetes.

In this article, we cover egg consumption and its role in diabetes management.

Are Eggs Good for Diabetes?

Eggs are an excellent protein source for people with diabetes. They have a low glycemic index score and are low in carbs, with less than half a gram (0.36mg) in one large egg. Foods high in carbohydrates can quickly cause blood sugar levels to rise, so the small amount of carbs in eggs is unlikely to spike blood sugars.

The high protein and fat content can keep you feeling full as it takes longer to digest and slows glucose absorption into the bloodstream. In promoting appetite control, egg consumption may reduce caloric intake and subsequently improve glycemic control and weight management.

Healthy eating is one of the most effective ways of managing diabetes. Egg consumption can be a valuable part of a balanced diet and may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Regularly eating eggs may improve fasting glucose in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

One concern with eggs is that they are naturally high in cholesterol. As diabetes puts you at increased risk of developing high cholesterol, it is crucial to monitor your cholesterol levels as well as your blood sugar levels.

However, the cholesterol in eggs does not appear to impact cholesterol levels like high saturated fat foods. Either way, it’s best not to eat eggs in excess to avoid a high cholesterol intake.

Nutritional Value of an Egg

Eggs contain essential vitamins and minerals that can boost your overall health. They are naturally rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B12, which can reduce the risk of vitamin deficiency in people with type 2 diabetes, and biotin, which may improve glycemic control in people with type 1 diabetes.

Let’s review the nutritional value of one large egg.

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
0.36g0.36g4.76g6.3g
CaloriesFiberSugarsGlycemic Index
71.50g0.185g0

Egg glycemic index

The glycemic index (GI) score of an egg is zero, making them an excellent lean protein source for people with diabetes. Foods with a high GI score are unsuitable for diabetes as they can cause wild changes to blood glucose. 

Generally, foods with a GI score between 1–55 are considered low and will not raise blood sugar levels.

Do Eggs Raise Blood Sugar?

Eating eggs will not influence your blood sugar levels because they do not have a glycemic value. This is because eggs contain a minimal number of carbohydrates, with less than a gram in two large eggs. It means you can eat eggs without causing a significant rise in blood glucose levels.

To keep your blood sugar in check, you can try the Klinio app. It’s a science-based app designed for people with diabetes that encourages healthy habits, so you can better manage the condition. It covers caloric intake, macronutrients, and the amount of sugar and dietary cholesterol you need.

How Many Eggs Can a Person With Diabetes Eat in a Day?

Evidence has long been conflicting on how many eggs per day are safe for people with diabetes to consume. The most recent evidence suggests that people with diabetes can safely eat up to two eggs per day when included as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Despite dated research that suggests egg intake should be kept to a minimum, egg consumption is no longer associated with cardiovascular risk factors or risk of type 2 diabetes.

A high egg diet with up to 12 eggs per week compared with a diet of less than two eggs per week has shown no impact on fasting glucose, insulin levels, or cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

That said, you should limit your intake of highly processed foods that typically pair with eggs, such as bacon and sausages. Health experts recommend pairing eggs with vegetables and whole grains to minimize your intake of high saturated fat foods.

4 Benefits of Eggs for Diabetes

There are plenty of reasons to eat eggs as part of a nutritious diet, with or without health conditions. If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it’s worth knowing the following health benefits that eggs bring. Let’s take a look.

#1 Source of vitamins and minerals

Eggs contain many essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to aid your overall health. They’re full of healthy fats, high-quality protein, and other nutrients, including iron, zinc, choline, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.

One whole egg provides you with 9% of the RDA for vitamin B12, 15% RDA for vitamin B2, and 6% RDA for vitamin A. It’s worth noting that all of these nutrients are present in the yolk, while the egg white contains only protein and water.

#2 Reduces blood pressure

Protein-rich foods, including eggs, are associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure. Egg whites contain a peptide that can naturally reduce blood pressure by inhibiting ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) activity, a substance in the body that raises blood pressure.

#3 Helps maintain a healthy weight

Eggs are high-satiety foods that keep you feeling full for longer. Eating eggs for breakfast may be especially beneficial as they can help control your appetite and reduce calorie intake for the day. Eating fewer calories can promote weight loss and help you maintain a healthy weight.

The high protein content of eggs also promotes the retention of lean muscle mass, an excellent advantage if you want to lose fat without losing muscle.

#4 Improves vision

Eggs are excellent for eye health as they are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are present in the yolk and are linked to a lower risk of developing cataracts and other eye diseases.

Lutein is a carotenoid known to improve and possibly prevent age-related macular degeneration – a condition that causes partial blindness and vision impairment. Zeaxanthin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, particularly for the eyes.

FAQs

How much sugar is in an egg?

One egg (large, 50g) contains 0.185g of sugar. Additionally, an egg has less than half a gram of carbohydrate and has a glycemic index score of 0. Therefore, eating eggs will not impact blood glucose levels. Eggs are, however, high in dietary cholesterol.

Are hard-boiled eggs good for diabetes?

Hard-boiled eggs are nutritious, high-protein foods that people with diabetes can enjoy as part of a balanced diet. Boiling is one of the most healthful ways to cook eggs. They make a high-protein snack, or you can pair hard-boiled eggs with chopped vegetables or salad for a diabetes-friendly meal.

Do eggs lower blood sugar?

Eggs are categorized as a low glycemic food, which means they don’t cause a significant rise in your blood sugars. Eating low glycemic foods can help regulate and reduce blood sugar levels. They may also support appetite control and aid weight loss and management.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Eggs have a bit of a checkered past. There have always been discussions about egg consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Today, eggs are considered a superfood and possibly one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.

Many people can enjoy a high-egg diet in the context of a healthy lifestyle. You should make sure you pair eggs with other nutritious food sources. Processed foods like sausages and bacon are high in saturated fats, raising cholesterol and increasing the risk of heart disease.

Healthy eating and exercise are essential in diabetes management. Regular physical activity improves how your body uses insulin, while your muscles use sugar for energy during exercise.

Most adults should aim for around 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, like walking 2 miles a day. Walking is an excellent activity for people with type 2 diabetes to lower blood pressure, reduce body weight, and improve glucose control.

Conclusion

So, should you eat eggs if you have diabetes?

After reviewing the latest science, eggs, alongside a nutritious diet filled with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can be a beneficial addition to a diabetes diet. Eggs are a superfood with plenty of nutrients to boost health and support glycemic control.

We recommend eating eggs in moderation. Despite the benefits, there is no need to eat eggs excessively or partake in extreme diets like the 3-day egg diet.

Talk to a healthcare professional for advice if you are concerned about cholesterol intake and cardiometabolic risk factors from a high-egg diet. It’s worth trying the Klinio app for further assistance throughout your diabetes treatment plan.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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