ADELAIDE, Australia — Whether you like them scrambled or sunny side up, eggs are a favorite at breakfast around the world. While many consider eggs to be a “superfood” and a nutritious way to start any day, a study finds eggs may not all they’re cracked up to be. Researchers at the University of South Australia reveal eating too much egg each day can dramatically increase your risk for developing diabetes.
The study, looking at over 8,500 people around the age of 50, finds in some regions of the world egg consumption has doubled between 1991 and 2009. One country seeing a major dietary makeover is China, where the study was carried out.
“Diet is a known and modifiable factor that contributes to the onset Type 2 diabetes, so understanding the range of dietary factors that might impact the growing prevalence of the disease is important,” says Dr. Ming Li in a university release.
“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.”
Eating to egg-cess can raise diabetes risk up to 60 percent
Researchers say daily egg consumption in China has gone from just 16 grams between 1991 and 1993 to just over 30 grams in 2009. In Europe, that figure is 33.65 grams and nearly 29 grams in America. That’s still less than a medium-size egg each day however, the study finds going above that enters a dangerous zone.
“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 percent,” Dr. Li explains. “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 percent.”
The large group of patients came from the China Health and Nutrition Survey. While the survey has discovered a link between eggs and diabetes, Li says a cause for the increased risk is not as clear.
“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.”
The costly effects of developing diabetes
One of the major problems of increasing diabetes cases worldwide is the cost that must go in to treating patients.
Study authors find diabetes now affects over 11 percent of China’s population. That number is well above the global average of 8.5 percent. Health care costs tied to diabetes take up about 10 percent of the world’s health care expenses ($760 billion). In China alone, those costs have now surpassed $109 billion.
The study appears in the British Journal of Nutrition.