Nutrition

How Many Eggs Can You Eat If You Have Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Consuming Eggs with Diabetes

Eggs have been one of the most preferred foods in terms of nutrition owing to having high protein content. However they are also infamous due to their cholesterol content which has been a point of debate for individuals with diabetes. So let's start with the basics and simplify this dilemma associated with diabetes.

Can you eat Eggs if you Have Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, eggs are an excellent food for individuals with diabetes. Since one large egg contains only half a gram of carbohydrates, which does not raise your blood sugar to a great extent. However, the most common concern is about the amount of cholesterol content in the egg, as it is a risk factor for heart diseases and predispose a person to develop diabetes. Despite this fact, the cholesterol within eggs does not impact blood cholesterol levels to such a great extent as to contribute to a total cardiac complications. Thus, if a person with diabetes controls other risk factors that predispose them to heart disease, they can safely consume 2 eggs a day.

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Nutritional Benefits of Eggs

1. High Protein

Eggs are known for their high protein content with a single egg containing around 6 grams of protein. Protein is vital as it repairs and builds the tissues of your body, provides a structural framework and coordinates bodily functions.

2. Vitamins

Like vitamin A, vitamin D, antioxidants, potassium, and biotin, which help brain function, improve vision, boost the immune system, help in the proper functioning of organs like the lungs and kidney, and protect against free radicals (unstable atoms that cause cell damage and ageing).

3. Other Nutrients

Choline - Vital in mood, memory, and brain development in the unborn child.

Omega 3 Fats - Free-range eggs (eggs from chickens that freely roam the pastures) have a high content of omega 3 fatty acids which are beneficial for people with diabetes. Eggs contain around 75 calories and 5 grams of fat, of which only 1.6 grams is saturated fat, thus being great for your waistline.

4. Paired with Carbohydrates

When carbohydrates are combined with eggs , they can help reduce the amount of carb intake thus helping lower spikes and stabilizing blood sugar.

Benefits of Eggs

Dietary Fats & Cholesterol Concerns

1. Cholesterol

It is a fatty, waxy substance produced in the liver and present in the blood and cells of our body. It travels through the blood using protein as its carrier - known as lipoprotein. There are two main types of lipoprotein that carry cholesterol throughout our body.

i) LDL or Low-density Lipoprotein commonly known as “Bad” Cholesterol

It makes up most of the body’s cholesterol thus posing a risk for heart disease and stroke when its levels are increased.

ii) HDL or High-density Lipoprotein commonly known as “Good” Cholesterol

It absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver, from where it is flushed it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

2. Dietary Fats

Variation in Cholesterol levels depends on the Dietary Fats we consume, which is mainly derived from Two Types of Fats

i) Unsaturated Fats or “Healthy” Fats

Monounsaturated Fats - Good for Heart Health e.g. Olive Oil, Avocado, Almonds, Pumpkin and Sesame Seeds etc.

Polyunsaturated Fats - Helpful in Blood Clotting and Muscle movements. e.g.Omega-3 Fats, Sunflower Oil, Flax and Chia Seeds, Soybeans and Walnuts etc.

ii) Saturated Fats or "Unhealthy" Fats

Saturated fat is mainly found in animal foods, but a few plant foods like coconut and palm oil are also high in saturated fats. When combined with Trans Fats, they can cause harmful health effects even in small amounts. Some of the biggest sources of saturated fat come from 'Junk Food' like - Pizza, Cheese, Dairy desserts, Meats like bacon and beef, Cookies and other fast foods.

Egg Nutrition | Get Cracking
Fat Content in Eggs

3. Concerns about Consuming Eggs

Eggs are undoubtedly higher in cholesterol than many other foods, but they’re also packed with beneficial compounds and other disease-fighting nutrients. Studies done in people with diabetes showed that eating 2-3 eggs a day by itself did not affect total blood cholesterol levels, and in fact was seen to increase the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as Good Cholesterol.

Some other studies where consumption of eggs did show increased cholesterol levels reported that this was seen mainly in those individuals who paired eating eggs along with other foods containing saturated fats like cheese, processed meats, and fried foods. The study further reported that the cholesterol present in eggs did not affect or increase the overall body cholesterol and that family history played a much more significant part in being a risk factor for increased cholesterol levels. 

Nutrient Profile of Eggs

How Many Eggs Can a Person with Diabetes Eat in a Day?

There are many factors that contribute to increasing the risk of chronic conditions, high cholesterol and heart issues. These same factors also play a role in determining how many eggs one can eat safely. Starting with genetics, family history, your overall diet, and even how you prepare your eggs influences the number of eggs that can be consumed.

For people with diabetes, if you overall diet in a day is balanced and healthy, have normal cholesterol levels, No family history of cardiac issues or any other underlying conditions, you can safely consume 1-2 eggs a day. On the other hand, if you have a high BMI, have a family history of heart conditions, have high LDL levels, it is recommended to limit your consumption to thrice a week at most.

How to Consume Eggs

Bottom Line

Individuals with diabetes have always been wary about consuming eggs due to their high cholesterol content. However, eggs have various other nutritional benefits that can benefit individuals with diabetes. Eggs improve fasting blood glucose levels and reduce blood sugar spikes. By pairing eggs with healthy alternatives and opting for healthier cooking techniques, people with diabetes can safely consume no more than three eggs per week.

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