Nutrition Unscrambled

Bite Into Breakfast and You May Also Take a Bite Out of Diabetes

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
April 30th, 2012

Today’s blog post is written by Allison Fischer, Dietetic Intern at Loyola University.


By now you have most certainly heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There are many benefits to eating breakfast – positive impacts on learning and memory, increased likelihood of meeting daily nutrient intake recommendations, lower BMI, and avoiding weight gain. Another study area is relationship between breakfast consumption and decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes (TD2).

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the relationship between eating patterns and T2D risk in men. Almost 30,000 health professionals were followed twenty years and provided information regarding their medical histories, lifestyles and health related behaviors. Their diets were assessed according to reported foods eaten and dietary patterns based on when and how often they ate daily. Diet quality was reflected as a prudent diet (increased fruit, vegetable, fish, poultry, and whole grain consumption) or a Western diet (increased red and processed meats, French fries, high-fat dairy, refined grains, sweets, and dessert consumption). This information was then synthesized to evaluate health habits and diabetes risks.

Out of all the men in the study, 83% consumed breakfast. These men generally had healthier lifestyle factors – slightly lower BMIs, smoked less, exercised more, better diet quality, consumed less alcohol and more cereal fiber, and drank less coffee. After adjusting for age, there was a 50% greater risk for T2D in men who did not eat breakfast versus the men who did. This was significant even after adjusting for other dietary and T2D risk factors. Even after adjusting for BMI (well known to correlate with T2D risk), skipping breakfast resulted in a 21% greater risk. The most significant increased risk came from skipping breakfast and having a Western dietary pattern, than for each factor separately.

While there is still work to be done to better understand the link between breakfast and diabetes, here is just one more reason to encourage getting the day off to a healthful start. Be sure to fill your plate with healthy foods, including a quality protein, fruits or vegetables, low or no fat dairy and complex carbohydrates. Fuel yourself for a healthy day and a healthy future!

Egg consumption as part of an energy-restricted high-protein diet improves

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
July 28th, 2011

Many health professionals and consumers have upon occasion admitted to me that they thought “the egg got a bad rap” during the 1980s and 90s, when eggs were seen as an icon for dietary and serum cholesterol. They are often proud to say that they personally defied common wisdom by continuing to consume eggs. As scientific technology improved and confounding variables were better controlled, scientific findings and dietary guidance moved away from looking at egg intake as a risk factor and now focuses on the many nutritional benefits of consuming eggs. However, one curious association has continued to plague the egg. Epidemiological findings have shown, at times, an association between egg intake and cardiovascular disease in the diabetic population. No mechanism has been identified to explain this association however, the fact that eggs are often accompanied by a high saturated fat, high refined carbohydrate and sedentary lifestyle may have made egg intake in this population an artifact or marker of poorly controlled diabetes.

Fortunately, a recently published study in the British Journal of Nutrition by Pearce, Clifton and Noakes (Br J Nutr, Feb 2011, 105(4):584-92) attempted to assess the effect of egg intake on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in free living overweight diabetic adults who have been instructed to eat a high protein, calorie restricted diet with either 2 eggs a day or a substitute source of animal protein. Sixty five subjects, average age of 60 years completed the 12 week study. All consumed 1400 calories/d with a macronutrient distribution of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 30% fat. Subjects were allowed to continue taking diabetic and lipid lowering medication as prescribed by their physician. The treatment group received 2 eggs/day with an average cholesterol intake of 590mg of cholesterol while the control group received a similar quantity of protein from chicken, meat or fish without eggs and an average cholesterol intake of 214mg/day.

As one would expect, both groups that consumed a high protein, calorie restricted diet, lost an average of about 6 kg or 13 pounds. The key finding was that a diet high in dietary cholesterol from eggs did not adversely affect blood lipids or cardiovascular disease risk in adults with type 2 diabetes. In fact, a diet high in dietary cholesterol from eggs improved several biomarkers of health including increased blood levels of HDL, lutein and folate more effectively than the isoenergetic diet which included alternative animal sources of protein. The authors conclude “These results suggest that a high protein energy restricted diet high in cholesterol from eggs may have nutritional benefits and assist in metabolic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.” Many of us knew it all along.


Nutrition Unscrambled  is written by nutrition experts with the Egg Nutrition Center, which is funded by the American Egg Board. It is monitored and maintained by the public relations agency of record. The mission of the Egg Nutrition Center is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information and the acknowledged leader in research and education related to eggs. For more information, click here.

About the Bloggers

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about
Mitch, click here.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD is the Senior Director, Nutrition Education at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Marcia, click here.
Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Anna, click here.

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All information provided within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or before making changes to your diet or health behaviors.