Beat diabetes at breakfast

Now that the 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee has recommended banishing the government’s long-standing warnings against dietary cholesterol, I’m hoping some of my favorite foods finally shed their bum rap. Especially eggs.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating once again: Eggs are one of Nature’s most perfect foods.

They’re an inexpensive, low-calorie, high-protein source of a lot of important nutrients. And research shows eating them regularly can do wonders for your health.

In fact, the latest study to spotlight eggs’ stellar health benefits showed egg consumption can lower the risk of one of today’s deadliest epidemics—Type 2 diabetes.

The study (which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) examined the eating habits of 2,332 men between the ages of 42 and 60 and found a clear connection between egg consumption and lower blood sugar levels.

In fact, researchers found that men who ate approximately four eggs per week had a 38 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who only ate one egg per week.

But what I find even more interesting about this study is that this effect held strong even after the researchers took other risk factors into account. Things like exercise, body mass index, smoking, and the consumption (or lack thereof) of fruits and vegetables.

In other words, adding eggs to your diet offers distinct—and significant—protection against Type 2 diabetes, all by itself. (So just imagine the how much MORE protection you’d get if you also added a couple of handfuls of organic spinach to your eggs…then headed out for a walk after breakfast.)

Of course, this isn’t the first time eggs have been shown to reduce diabetes—it’s just more excellent evidence they do.

The study authors believe eggs’ protective benefit comes from the many nutrients they contain—such as high-quality protein, fatty acids, lutein, calcium, vitamin D, and lecithin. All of these nutrients have a positive effect on glucose metabolism and help reduce inflammation. Which, in turn, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Another bonus: Because they’re so high in protein, eggs are high on the satiety scale. Which means when you eat eggs, you’re less hungry a few hours later compared to, say, eating a bagel. And that means you’re likely to eat less overall.

But PLEASE…whatever you do, stick with real eggs. With the yolk.

When I hear people ordering egg white omelets—or worse, Egg Beaters or some other egg substitute—it makes me cringe.

In order to make egg substitutes, food manufacturers process the eggs using oxidation. Which means they’ve essentially added free radicals. Plus, they remove the yolk. And the yolk is actually the most nutritious part of the egg.

So you’re much better off eating real, whole eggs. Preferably from free-range hens. Pick up a dozen this weekend at your local farmer’s market. You’ll be amazed at the difference.

You can also find free-range eggs in most supermarkets these days. So, really, there’s no excuse not to eat one of the world’s most perfect foods… in its most perfect form.


“Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in men: the Kupolo Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, epub ahead of print 4/1/15