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Comment on British Journal of Nutrition diabetes research

19/11/2020

Researchers who studied a sample of Chinese adults concluded that eating eggs increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the conclusions drawn from the research are misrepresentative.  

Dr Juliet Gray, registered nutritionist comments: “The reported conclusions of this study do not accurately represent the research findings and are therefore potentially misleading. It seems clear from the study results, and indeed the authors discuss the observation, that those people with the highest egg consumption had poorer diets, eating eggs alongside 'fast foods' and 'deep fried foods' -  as well as having higher BMI, hypertension, blood lipids and therefore, not surprisingly, higher rates of diabetes. Although the different dietary pattern was adjusted for to some extent, some residual confounding is likely. It seems disingenuous not to acknowledge in the abstract these other observed dietary differences in those consuming more eggs.

In one of the models analysed there is actually an increased risk of diabetes with decreasing egg consumption, but the authors quote selectively from a separate 'sensitivity' analysis based on the group with highest compliance who attended all rounds of measurement between 1991 and 2009.

Also absent from the abstract was the observation that the finding did not pertain to all adults, with only the results for women achieving statistical significance.”

The research focusses on the diet of a sample of 8,545 Chinese adults between 1991 and 2009. A new analysis of the UK diet1, drawing on data from the most recent UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) reporting on 2017 consumption data, found that female egg eaters had better quality diets and better nutritional status than non-egg eaters. Also, despite higher calorie intakes, the research found that women who consumed eggs tended to be slimmer than non-consumers, having a lower BMI and waist-to-height ratio, indicators of a healthy weight.  

Dr Gray, who was one of the authors of this UK study comments: “In this peer-reviewed paper we report specifically on observations from an analysis of the UK diet which showed significant beneficial differences in women’s nutritional intake, status and body weight associated with consuming eggs in the context of a higher quality diet that also provided more vegetables, fruit and fish. We concluded that for women, eating eggs is now more likely associated with a healthier dietary pattern, in contrast to their previous association with an unhealthy diet.”

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For more about eggs and diabetes visit: https://www.egginfo.co.uk/health-professionals/eggs-and-diabetes

1 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nbu.12462