When it comes to improving inflammation, eating an egg for breakfast might be better than oatmeal.
A study among Mexican men and women living with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) compared the health effects of eating a breakfast of 1 egg per day, compared to ½ cup oatmeal with 16 fluid ounces of milk. Subjects were advised to consume the eggs with fried onions, tomatoes and pepper, a typical Mexican breakfast. Subjects were free-living and continued to eat a self-selected diet throughout the rest of the day. They also continued to take prescribed medications, like glucose-lowering, statins, and blood pressure drugs.
The study was designed as a crossover study so that each subject was assigned to the alternative breakfasts for 5 weeks each. Results are summarized here in brief.
Total energy intake throughout the day was similar regardless of breakfast consumed, but other dietary differences were observed. During the egg breakfast periods, carbohydrate and soluble fiber intakes were lower, while fat of all types and cholesterol were higher.
Despite higher fat and cholesterol intakes during egg test periods, there were no significant differences compared to the oatmeal breakfasts in plasma total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL-C/HDL-C ratio, or apolipoprotein B. Also, blood sugar control as measured by HbA1c and insulin and insulin resistance measured by HOMA were similar regardless of breakfast consumed.
The primary endpoints of the study were inflammation markers and blood glucose levels.
“There were no differences in plasma glucose concentrations between the egg and oatmeal periods.”
However, there was a “significant reduction in TNF-α [a marker of inflammation]…after the egg breakfast period” (p<0.01) and a borderline non-significant difference for a second inflammatory marker IL-6 (p=0.05)
“These results suggest that egg intake (one per day) can be easily incorporated into the diets of patients with T2DM, with no apparent concerns for causing dysregulation of glucose metabolism or formation of atherogenic particles. The beneficial effects on inflammatory markers confirm what we have observed in past studies regarding the effects of eggs in decreasing inflammation in other populations at high risk for heart disease and diabetes, including obesity and metabolic syndrome.”
Ballesteros, MN, Valenzuela F, Robles AE, Artalejo E, Aguilar D, Andersen CJ, Valdez H and Fernandez ML. “One Egg per Day Improves Inflammation when Compared to an Oatmeal-Based Breakfast without Increasing Other Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Diabetic Patients” Nutrients 2015;7:3449-3463. This study was supported by the Egg Nutrition Center.
Maria Luz Fernandez, PhD, is a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut.
Dr. Fernandez was not financially compensated for this post. All opinions reflected in this post are the authors’.