Researchers Say Eggs for Breakfast Benefits Those with Diabetes

Patty Wellborn wrote . . . . . . . . .

While some cereals may be the breakfast of champions, a UBC professor suggests people with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) should be reaching for something else.

Associate Professor Jonathan Little, who teaches in UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, published a study this week demonstrating that a high-fat, low-carb breakfast can help those with T2D control blood sugar levels throughout the day.

“The large blood sugar spike that follows breakfast is due to the combination of pronounced insulin resistance in the morning in people with T2D and because typical Western breakfast foods—cereal, oatmeal, toast and fruit—are high in carbohydrates,” says Little.

Breakfast, he says, is consistently the ‘problem’ meal that leads to the largest blood sugar spikes for people with T2D. His research shows that eating a low-carb and high-fat meal first thing in the morning is a simple way to prevent this large spike, improve glycemic control throughout the day, and perhaps also reduce other diabetes complications.

Study participants with well-controlled T2D completed two experimental feeding days. On one day they ate an omelette for breakfast, and on another day, they ate oatmeal and some fruit. An identical lunch and dinner were provided on both days. A continuous glucose monitor—a small device that attaches to your abdomen and measures glucose every five minutes—was used to measure blood sugar spikes across the entire day. Participants also reported ratings of hunger, fullness and a desire to eat something sweet or savoury.

Little’s study determined that consuming a very low-carbohydrate high-fat breakfast completely prevented the blood sugar spike after breakfast and this had enough of an effect to lower overall glucose exposure and improve the stability of glucose readings for the next 24 hours.

“We expected that limiting carbohydrates to less than 10 per cent at breakfast would help prevent the spike after this meal,” he says. “But we were a bit surprised that this had enough of an effect and that the overall glucose control and stability were improved. We know that large swings in blood sugar are damaging to our blood vessels, eyes and kidneys. The inclusion of a very low-carb high-fat breakfast meal in T2D patients may be a practical and easy way to target the large morning glucose spike and reduce associated complications.”

He does note that there was no difference in blood sugar levels in both groups later in the day, suggesting that the effect for reducing overall post-meal glucose spikes can be attributed to the breakfast responses — with no evidence that a low-carb breakfast worsened glucose responses to lunch or dinner.

“The results of our study suggest potential benefits of altering macronutrient distribution throughout the day so that carbohydrates are restricted at breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner rather than consuming an even distribution and moderate amount of carbohydrates throughout the day.”

As another interesting aspect of the research, participants noted that pre-meal hunger and their cravings for sweet foods later in the day tended to be lower if they ate the low-carb breakfast. Little suggests this change in diet might be a healthy step for anybody, even those who are not living with diabetes.

Little’s study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: The University of British Columbia

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As Eggs Make A Comeback, New Questions About Health Risks

Allison Aubrey wrote . . . . . . . . .

Eggs have made a big comeback. Americans now consume an estimated 280 eggs per person per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And that’s a significant increase compared with a decade ago.

Part of the renewed appeal stems from the dietary advice we got back in 2016. That’s when the U.S. Dietary Guidelines dropped a long-standing recommended limit on dietary cholesterol. The move was seen as a green light to eat eggs.

But a new study published in the medical journal JAMA reopens a long-standing debate about the risks tied to consuming too much dietary cholesterol.

“What we found in this study was that if you consumed two eggs per day, there was a 27 percent increased risk of developing heart disease,” says researcher Norrina Allen, an associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University.

“It was surprising,” Allen says.

The researchers behind the JAMA study tracked the health of about 30,000 adults enrolled in long-term studies. On average, participants were followed for about 17 years.

Prior studies have come to competing conclusions. But overall, there has not been strong evidence that limiting consumption of cholesterol-rich foods lowers the amount of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol that ends up in our blood.

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Nutrition experts at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conclude that dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood are only weakly related. But Allen says that “we don’t know as much as we’d like to about how the cholesterol you consume in your diet is translated into the blood.”

The new study is an observational study, so it doesn’t prove that cholesterol caused the increased risk of heart disease that the researchers documented. “These new findings provide one piece of evidence,” Allen says. But it’s possible that other lifestyle or dietary habits may be responsible for the increased risk.

One shortcoming of the study is that participants were asked only one time about their diets. So, this one snapshot may not have accurately captured their eating habits over time. “We hope that in future studies we can look at how changes in diet over the long term may be impacting this risk for heart disease,” Allen says. Future studies could also explore how the risks linked to dietary cholesterol may vary from person to person.

“So much data have already been published on this topic, which generally show that low-to-moderate egg consumption (no more than one egg per day) is not associated with increased risk of heart attack or stroke,” Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in an email.

Hu says that when it comes to healthful eating, the best strategy is to focus on a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Thomas Sherman, a professor at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine, agrees. “I tell my students that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one of the best ways of preventing getting hungry,” Sherman says. “So I’d hate for them to come back to me and say, ‘Oh, no! We’re not supposed to be eating eggs.’ ”

Sherman says if you’re in the habit of eating a healthy diet, full of lots of plant-based, fiber-rich foods, then “eggs are a welcome part of the diet.” Just don’t overdo it.

But the findings may reopen the debate about whether to reinstate a recommended limit on dietary cholesterol. A committee of experts was named this year to begin the process of revising the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. And Allen says, “I do think that guideline committees will have to take the evidence [from this study] into account when they’re trying to understand what a healthy — or a moderate — amount of cholesterol would be.”

Source: npr

Higher Egg and Cholesterol Consumption Hikes Heart Disease and Death Risk

Marla Paul wrote . . . . . . . . .

Cancel the cheese omelet. There is sobering news for egg lovers who have been happily gobbling up their favorite breakfast since the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer limited how much dietary cholesterol or how many eggs they could eat.

A large, new Northwestern Medicine study reports adults who ate more eggs and dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

“The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks,” said co-corresponding study author Norrina Allen, associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “As part of a healthy diet, people need to consume lower amounts of cholesterol. People who consume less cholesterol have a lower risk of heart disease.”

Egg yolks are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol among all commonly consumed foods. One large egg has 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in the yolk.

Other animal products such as red meat, processed meat and high-fat dairy products (butter or whipped cream) also have high cholesterol content, said lead author Wenze Zhong, a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at Northwestern.

Debate over disease

Whether eating dietary cholesterol or eggs is linked to cardiovascular disease and death has been debated for decades. Eating less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day was the guideline recommendation before 2015. However, the most recent dietary guidelines omitted a daily limit for dietary cholesterol. The guidelines also include weekly egg consumption as part of a healthy diet.

An adult in the U.S. gets an average of 300 milligrams per day of cholesterol and eats about three or four eggs per week.

The study findings mean the current U.S. dietary guideline recommendations for dietary cholesterol and eggs may need to be re-evaluated, the authors said.

The evidence for eggs has been mixed. Previous studies found eating eggs did not raise the risk of cardiovascular disease. But those studies generally had a less diverse sample, shorter follow-up time and limited ability to adjust for other parts of the diet, Allen said.

“Our study showed if two people had exact same diet and the only difference in diet was eggs, then you could directly measure the effect of the egg consumption on heart disease,” Allen said. “We found cholesterol, regardless of the source, was associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Exercise, overall diet quality and the amount and type of fat in the diet didn’t change the association between the dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease and death risk.

The new study looked at pooled data on 29,615 U.S. racially and ethnically diverse adults from six prospective cohort studies for up to 31 years of follow up.

It found:

  • Eating 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with 17 percent higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and 18 percent higher risk of all-cause deaths. The cholesterol was the driving factor independent of saturated fat consumption and other dietary fat.
  • Eating three to four eggs per week was associated with 6 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 8 percent higher risk of any cause of death.

Should I stop eating eggs?

Based on the study, people should keep dietary cholesterol intake low by reducing cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs and red meat in their diet.

But don’t completely banish eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods from meals, Zhong said, because eggs and red meat aregood sources of important nutrients such as essential amino acids, iron and choline. Instead, choose egg whites instead of whole eggs or eat whole eggs in moderation.

“We want to remind people there is cholesterol in eggs, specifically yolks, and this has a harmful effect,” said Allen, who cooked scrambled eggs for her children that morning. “Eat them in moderation.”

Estimating dietary intake

Diet data were collected using food frequency questionnaires or by taking a diet history. Each participant was asked a long list of what they’d eaten for the previous year or month. The data were collected during a single visit.The study had up to 31 years of follow up (median: 17.5 years), during which 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 all-cause deaths were diagnosed.

A major limitation of the study is participants’ long-term eating patterns weren’t assessed.

“We have one snapshot of what their eating pattern looked like,” Allen said. “But we think they represent an estimate of a person’s dietary intake. Still, people may have changed their diet, and we can’t account for that.”

Source: Northwestern University

In Pictures: Home-cooked Dishes with Egg

Egg Metabolites in Blood Related to Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Consumption of one egg every day seems to associate with a blood metabolite profile that is related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study conducted in the University of Eastern Finland shows. The findings were published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

Eggs remain one of the most controversial food items. High intake of eggs has traditionally been discouraged, mainly due to their high cholesterol content. However, eggs are also a rich source of many bioactive compounds that can have beneficial effects on health. This means that the health effects of consuming eggs are difficult to determine based solely on their cholesterol content.

The investigators have previously shown that eating roughly one egg per day was associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes among middle-aged men participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study in eastern Finland.

“The purpose of the current study was to explore potential compounds that could explain this association using non-targeted metabolomics, a technique that enables a broad profiling of chemicals in a sample,” says Early Stage Researcher and lead author of the study Stefania Noerman from the University of Eastern Finland.

The study found that the blood samples of men who ate more eggs included certain lipid molecules that positively correlated with the blood profile of men who remained free of type 2 diabetes. In addition, the researchers identified several biochemical compounds in blood that predicted a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including the amino acid tyrosine.

The study suggests some plausible mechanisms which could at least partly explain the inverse association between egg intake and the previously observed lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Although it is too early to draw any causal conclusions, we now have some hints about certain egg-related compounds that may have a role in type 2 diabetes development. Further detailed investigations with both cell models and intervention studies in humans that use modern techniques, such as metabolomics, are needed to understand the mechanisms behind physiological effects of egg intake,” Early Stage Researcher Noerman concludes.

Source: University of Eastern Finland