Egg-citing news for people with diabetes

August 8, 2018 Providence Health Team

For people living with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, experimenting with food can often be a challenge. Doctors caution against foods high in sugar, carbs, and even proteins high in cholesterol. You may even recall your doctor advising you to limit your intake of a certain breakfast staple: eggs.

Many experiments have been conducted to test the effect of cholesterol from eggs in the bloodstream. While some proteins with cholesterol can increase your cardiovascular risk factors, a recent study concluded that, despite widespread cautionary advice, eggs can be a safe bet for individuals diagnosed with diabetes.

In fact, the same study suggests you can eat as many as 12 eggs per week without negatively impacting cardiovascular risk markers. The American Diabetes Association even recommends eggs as one of their approved protein food choices. In the study, participants were split into two groups based on egg consumption. One group ate at least 12 eggs a week, the other less than two. At the end of three months, both groups showed no significant changes in cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

When cholesterol is ingested, it and other fats are carried in the bloodstream in particles known as lipoproteins. Two common types of lipoproteins are low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol and can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. People with type 2 diabetes tend to have high levels of LDL.

However, eggs may also have a positive effect on the body. Since they are a great source of protein, they regulate the intake of fat and support eye and heart health. 

This is encouraging news for those living with diabetes as it provides an opportunity to experiment with more meal choices. Eggs are not only a filling option for breakfast: you can use them in lunch and dinner recipes as a substitute for fatty ribs, pork, and fried meats. Since researchers suggest 12 eggs or less a week, try limiting your intake to one or two eggs a day or as few as your doctor recommends.

There is one caveat. Eggs are somewhat high in calories — one large egg contains around 70 calories — so if you decide to add eggs back into your diet, be sure to do so in conjunction any weight loss or low-calorie goals you may have set for yourself. You may also want to try switching it up and only eating egg whites. Check with your physician on the best ways to incorporate eggs into your diet.

Here’s a delicious dinner egg recipe to try (courtesy The Kitchn):

Green Shakshuka

(Serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large leeks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 large celery stalk, sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 spicy chile pepper (any variety would work here), sliced

1 bunch of Swiss chard, cut into 1/2-inch ribbons

1 cup spinach (tightly packed)

1/2 bunch dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper, to season

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Over medium heat, warm the olive oil in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Add the sliced leeks and celery. Cook until leeks soften, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sliced spicy pepper, and sauté for another 3 minutes. Toss in the Swiss chard, spinach, oregano, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper (make sure not to over-salt the mixture, as the feta adds saltiness as well).

Once the Swiss chard and spinach have wilted, scrape down the sides, and pat down the mixture. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the greens mixture and carefully crack the eggs over the top, one at a time and spaced slightly apart. Add some more freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 7 to 10 minutes (longer if you prefer your eggs cooked more or less time for runnier eggs). Serve immediately with fresh crusty bread.

For more resources and information on healthy eating, visit the nutrition section of our blog. Subscribe to To Your Health and you’ll never miss a health update.

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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