Eggs are inexpensive and jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats. One medium egg contains 63 calories, 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fat -- most of which are heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Their protein and fat content, along with their lack of carbohydrates, makes eggs an excellent choice if you’re watching your blood sugar levels. Enjoy this versatile food for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but consume egg yolks in moderation if your cholesterol is high.
Glycemic Index Numbers
The glycemic index ranks how much a food increases your blood sugar in comparison to glucose, a sugar. Foods ranked 55 or less are low-glycemic-index foods. Medium-glycemic-index foods are 56 to 69 and high-glycemic foods are 70 and above. The higher the glycemic index of a food, the faster it increases your blood sugar levels. Low-glycemic-index foods have little to no impact on blood sugar levels. Eggs do not have a glycemic index value because they contain less than 1 gram of carbohydrate and therefore do not influence your blood sugar levels.
Improve Your Blood Sugar
An egg for breakfast may lower your blood sugar levels for the rest of the morning and improve overall blood sugar levels. A study published in “Nutrition Research” in 2010 gave men an egg breakfast for one week and a bagel breakfast for one week. Their blood was drawn to measure glucose, insulin and appetite hormones for the following three hours. When participants had the egg breakfast, their blood sugar and insulin were lower compared to when they consumed the bagel breakfast. In a 2010 study in the “British Journal of Nutrition," people with diabetes showed improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels when they consumed eggs as opposed to other animal protein.
Stay Full Longer
The 6 grams of protein in one medium egg is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential amino acids, or protein building blocks, in the proportions your body needs. The protein keeps you feeling full and helps reduce your overall caloric intake for the day. The aforementioned study in “Nutrition Research” also showed that when subjects had an egg for breakfast, their appetite hormones were lower and they consumed fewer calories throughout the day. Subjects were hungrier and not as satiated after eating the bagel breakfast. By consuming fewer calories, you can keep your weight in check and reduce your risk for type-2 diabetes. The American Council on Exercise recommends consuming egg whites if you're trying to lose weight because they are high in nutrients and low in calories.
Recommendations and Considerations
Egg yolks contain 213 milligrams of cholesterol. The American Heart Association allows an egg per day for healthy adults with no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. According to Harvard School of Public Health, eat no more than 3 egg yolks per week if you have heart disease or diabetes. Opt for egg whites instead, which contain no cholesterol. Store eggs in a refrigerator for three to five weeks, and store hard-boiled eggs for no more than a week. Leftover egg whites and yolks should be eaten within four days. Avoid eating raw eggs. Although the risk is minimal, some eggs are contaminated with salmonella.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
- Reader's Digest: Eggs
- American Diabetes Association: Glycemic Index and Diabetes
- Nutrition Research: Consuming Eggs for Breakfast Influences Plasma Glucose and Ghrelin, While Reducing Energy Intake During the Next 24 Hours in Adult Men
- British Journal of Nutrition: Egg Consumption as Part of an Energy-Restricted, High-Protein Diet Improves Blood Lipid and Blood Glucose Profiles in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes
- American Diabetes Association: Your Weight and Your Risk
- American Council on Exercise: Do Negative Calorie Foods Really Exist?
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Safe Handling of Eggs
- Harvard School of Public Health: Eggs and Heart Disease