Study finds that consuming one or more eggs a day can increase risk of diabetes by 60%

New research from the University of South Australia finds that higher egg consumption is positively associated with a risk of diabetes.

  • The study was conducted on a total of 8,545 Chinese adults aged ≥18.
  • China has seen an increase in egg consumption in recent years.
  • The prevalence of diabetes exceeds 11% and it has become a serious public health concern in China.

The study found that consuming one or more eggs per day can increase risk of diabetes by 60 percent.

This longitudinal study (1991 to 2009) is the first to look at the effects of egg consumption in a large sample of Chinese adults. According to Science Daily, the researchers found that those who consumed around 50 grams of eggs a day (one or more eggs) increased their risk of diabetes by 60%. It is important to note that the researchers discovered that between 1991 and 2009, the average daily consumption of eggs almost doubled as it increased from 16 to 31 grams. Epidemiologist and public health expert, University of South Africa’s Dr Ming Li commented, “Over the past few decades China has undergone a substantial nutritional transition that’s seen many people move away from a traditional diet comprising grains and vegetables, to a more processed diet that includes greater amounts of meat, snacks and energy-dense food.”

Diabetes has become a serious public health concern in China.

Science Daily further reported that the prevalence of diabetes exceeds 11% while the global average is 8.5%. As a result, diabetes has become a serious public health concern in China. In addition to this, the Daily Mail reported that in 2019, diabetes was responsible for around 10% of the global total spent on healthcare. That is, diabetes accounted for over $760 billion in health expenditure, while diabetes-related costs in China exceeded $109 billion.

Dr Ming Li further commented on the study’s findings:

While the association between eating eggs and diabetes is often debated, this study has aimed to assess people’s long-term egg consumption of eggs and their risk of developing diabetes, as determined by fasting blood glucose. […] What we discovered was that higher long-term egg consumption (greater than 38 grams per day) increased the risk of diabetes among Chinese adults by approximately 25 per cent. […] Furthermore, adults who regularly ate a lot of eggs (over 50 grams, or equivalent to one egg, per day) had an increased risk of diabetes by 60 per cent.

While the study is considered to be ‘one step towards’ beating diabetes, further research is needed to assess causal relationships.

To sum up, the results of the research suggested a positive association between higher egg consumption and the risk of diabetes in Chinese adults. Moreover, it found that this link was more pronounced in women than in men. Dr. Li explained that “To beat diabetes, a multi-faceted approach is needed that not only encompasses research, but also a clear set of guidelines to help inform and guide the public. This study is one step towards that long-term goal.”

Further research needs to be conducted to explore causal relationships. The study ‘Higher egg consumption associated with increased risk of diabetes in Chinese adults – China Health and Nutrition Survey’ can be found here.

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