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A new study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has shown that, contrary to popular belief, eating eggs actually lowers the risk of diabetes.

“The diabetes tsunami is here. And we in South Africa are in trouble.” Says Dr Larry Distiller, founder and managing director of the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology in Johannesburg. “Three-and-a-half million South Africans (about 6% of the population) suffer from diabetes and there are many more who are undiagnosed.”

 

diabetes and eggs

The Diabetes Research:

Eggs have previously been recognized as a great source of cholesterol. Cholesterol has been known to spike blood sugar levels and therefore, it was naturally assumed, lead to the development of diabetes. However, when this has been tested in population studies, the data to prove it correct has been conflicting and limited.

This study investigated the link between egg consumption and the risk of developing type II diabetes in middle aged and older men from eastern Finland.

diabetes volunteers

The study ran from 1984 to 2004 and included 2332 volunteers between the ages of 42 and 60 (at baseline). The participants submitted a four day food record and underwent an assortment of tests to determine their risk of developing diabetes. These tests occurred at the start of the study and then reoccurred at checkups throughout the course of the study. The tests were assessed through self administered questionnaires and consisted of the following; fasting, a two hour oral glucose tolerance test, blood glucose tests at four years, eleven years and twenty years post baseline, a record linkage to the hospital discharge registry and reimbursement register of diabetes medication expenses.

During an average follow up of 19.3 years 432 men developed type II diabetes. After adjusting for variables it was observed that those who had the highest intake of eggs, compared with those who had the lowest intake, had a 38% lower risk of developing diabetes. They also found that the association between cholesterol and the development of; type II diabetes, elevated blood sugar and an increase in insulin and C-reactive protein was largely insignificant.

Diabetes: Signs and Symptoms

diabetes

In 2012, Stats SA reported that 58 South Africans were dying of diabetes type II everyday. It was also recognised as the fifth highest cause of natural death in SA.

Diabetes symptoms are known to develop slowly. It is possible to have type II diabetes for years and not know it.

“It takes on average seven years for a person to get diagnosed with diabetes for the first time,” Distiller says. “Sadly, the result is that about 30% of people with type 2 diabetes have already developed complications by the time they are diagnosed.”

According to Mayo Clinic you should look for the following symptoms:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination.The excess sugar building up in the bloodstream can cause fluid to be pulled from the tissues. This leaves one thirsty ad as a result, they may drink — and urinate — more than usual.
  • Increased hunger.Without enough insulin to move sugar into the cells, the muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This will cause an increase in appetite.
  • Weight loss.Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, one may lose weight. Due to its inability to metabolize glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories will then be lost as excess glucose is released in the urine.
  • If the cells are deprived of sugar, one may become tired and irritable.
  • Blurred vision.If ones blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of their eyes. This will affect their ability to focus.
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections.
  • Areas of darkened skin.Some people have experienced patches of dark, velvety skin in the armpits and neck. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, may be a sign of insulin resistance.
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Guest Writer

This post has been curated by a Longevity Live editor for the website.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.