Scientists from the Center for Nutrition, Lifestyle and Disease Prevention found that eating meat, but not eggs, is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or resists insulin.
Symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision. In some cases, there may be no symptoms. Treatments include diet, exercise, medication, and insulin therapy.
Previous research has found that eating meat is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
But it is not clear if egg intake is linked to the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because people often eat eggs with meat together.
In the current study, researchers aimed to differentiate any associations between meat and egg consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes.
They analyzed data from 55,851 people of the Adventist Health Study 2 who were free of diabetes. The team assessed meat and egg intakes with a food-frequency questionnaire.
The researchers found during the 5 years of follow-up, there were more than 2700 cases of type 2 diabetes.
Eating meat strongly increased the risk of type 2 diabetes compared with no meat intake. Egg intake compared with no egg intake was not linked to type 2 diabetes risk.
The team also showed that within every category of egg intake, there was an incremental rise in type 2 diabetes risk as meat intake increased.
However, within categories of meat intake, increasing egg intake did not increase the risk of type 2 diabetes except among nonmeat-eaters consuming ≥5 eggs/week.
Based on these findings, the team concluded that eating meat, but not eggs, is linked to the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, egg intake seems not to increase type 2 diabetes risk further with meat intake.
These findings suggest that the previous egg-diabetes risk link in US populations may be biased due to the failure to check egg-meat interactions.
The team says that future work is needed to examine type 2 diabetes risk among nonmeat-eaters with high egg intakes.
The research is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Gary Fraser et al.
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