Eggs and Diabetes: To Eat or Not to Eat?

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Eggs have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. They are a powerhouse of nutrients. Several factors make eggs suitable for everyone. Eggs are an affordable, nutrient dense food with high quality protein. For the nutritionally vulnerable (poor, young, pregnant, elderly) group it is one of the best foods.


Composition of eggs

An egg contains about 75 % water. The rest 25 % are the other constituents such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. Shell is about 10 %, white is about 60 % and yolk about 30 % (1).

Egg can be considered to be a low carbohydrate food or we can say it does not have any carbohydrate because it is lower than 1 %.


Diabetes and glycaemic index

The majority of all diabetes is type 2 diabetes (85%-95%), which in many cases can be prevented. People with type 2 diabetes cannot use the insulin they produce properly, but can mostly manage their condition through exercise and diet, although many may require medication, including insulin, to control blood glucose levels (2, 3).

Foods with lower glycaemic responses are more desirable for people who are actively managing their blood glucose levels. That is people with prediabetes and diabetes. The lower glycaemic response could mean less medication necessary to keep blood glucose levels in check.


Can a diabetic eat eggs?

A diabetic person should consume a low carbohydrate diet and whatever carbohydrate is present in the food should be complex carbohydrate. Egg is a food that is low in carbohydrate, it has less than 1 % carbohydrate, that is the carbohydrate content is negligible.

That makes egg a low glycaemic index food and can be included in the diet. But eggs contain 9.5 % fat which has saturated fat and cholesterol.  Dietary guidelines also recommend reduction of saturated fat to 10 % of total energy or less.


Cholesterol in eggs

The fat content of whole egg is 9.5 %. Egg contains 372 mg of cholesterol in 100 grams of egg and all of it is in the yolk (4).

If an egg is about 50 grams in weight the yolk will have about 200 mg cholesterol since all the cholesterol of egg is in the yolk. Type 2 diabetic persons who consumed high egg diet did not show any adverse effect on cardiometabolic factors (5). Though now the strict guidelines that were followed for eggs have been relaxed and eggs do not have the stigma of bad for heart label it would still be advised to eat a variety of food.

Why should any food be consumed in high amounts however good it is? Eggs are a good sources of superior quality protein and several micronutrients. Though it is an affordable food which supplies essential nutrients it is better to take even eggs in moderation. A diabetic person can take 4 to 5 eggs in a week. If they want to increase protein content egg whites can be used. But getting protein and micronutrients from foods of plant origin is suggested for diabetics as plant foods have plenty of dietary fiber. Diabetics are at a higher risk of developing heart issues. Dietary fiber helps in managing blood glucose and lipid levels and at the same time good for gut health. Plant foods also provide several phytochemicals which promote our health.

Eggs are low carbohydrate foods and can be easily added into a diabetic diet but do not over do it. Eat them in moderation.


Final word

The aim of any diet including a diabetic diet should be to get nutrients from varied sources. No food is a panacea for everything. Each food has its own natural advantages. Include a variety of foods in moderation in the diet.



  1. Kusum, M., Verma, R.C., Renu, M., Jain, H.k. and Deepak, S. (2018) A review: Chemical composition and utilization of egg, International Journal of Chemical Studies. Vol. 6(3).
  2. Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition and Optimal Health. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Second Edition. New York and London.
  3. Truswell, A. S. (2003) ABC of Nutrition. BMJ Publishing Group, BMA House Tavistock Square. Fourth Edition. London WC1H 9JR
  4. United States department of agriculture, Agriculture research service, USDA food composition database. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
  1. Fuller, N. R., Sainsbury, A., Caterson, J.D., Denyer, G., Fong, M., Gerofi, J., Leung, Ch., Lau, N.S., Williams, K.H., Januszewski, A.S., Jenkins, A.J. and Markovic, T.P. (2018) Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol.107 (6).

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