Higher egg intake was associated with reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in Finnish men studied for 20 years.
New results were just published from the Kuopio heart study in eastern Finland (Virtanen, 2015). In this prospective cohort study, over 2,000 men between the ages of 42-60 years were randomly selected to participate in a long-term study of diet and cardiovascular disease. Dietary intake was recorded via 4-day food records at the study start and then subjects were examined at designed time points over 20 years of follow up.
The research authors introduced their interest is examining relationships between eggs and health outcomes by noting that:
“Eggs are a common, affordable, and readily available food item worldwide and, in addition to cholesterol, also a good source of many potentially beneficial nutrients…” Furthermore, “[t]he evidence on the impact of egg consumption on the risk of T2D is limited and mixed…”
Men were divided into quartiles based on average daily egg intake. Results were adjusted for potential confounding factors, including age, examination year, and energy intake.
There was a significant trend across quartiles of egg consumption, with the lowest risk of T2D in men reporting an average of 35 g/d of egg, which equate to little more than half of a medium egg compared to those consuming less than 1 egg/week. There was no further suppression of risk in those consuming higher daily egg intake.
Stated another way,
“[e]ach egg per day (55 g) was associated with a 30% lower risk.”
The longitudinal and long-term nature of this study over 20-years is a particular strength.
The researchers concluded that,
“[r]ecommendations to limit consumption of eggs (or any food) in a general healthy population should not be based on a single component in a food, such as the cholesterol in egg.”
Virtanen, JK, J Mursu, TP Tuomainen, HEK Virtanen, and S Voutilainen. “Egg consumption and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study” Am J Clin Nutr 2015. Available on-line doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.104109.
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