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Do Eggs Increase Diabetes Risk?

Research from Harvard Medical School suggests that eating an egg a day may increase a person’s risk for developing diabetes (Diabetes Care, December 2008). This is the first large study to support the general belief that eating eggs frequently may harm you. However, animal studies have failed to show any association between eating eggs and diabetes, and the authors of this study did not offer any explanation for the increased risk.

The authors studied 20,703 male physicians without diabetes from the Physicians' Health Study (1982-2007) and 36,295 non-diabetic female health professionals from the Women's Health Study (1992-2007). The men were followed for 20 years and the women for 11 years. Men who ate seven or more eggs per week were 58 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and women eating a similar amount were 77 percent more likely to become diabetic than those who did not eat eggs. Risk for diabetes was lower when fewer eggs were eaten (9 percent for one egg per week, 18 percent for two to four eggs and 46 percent for five to six eggs).

This was a self-reported study so it is possible that the people who eat eggs also have other habits that increase their risk. For example, they may be more likely also to eat meat, which may increase diabetes risk, as I reported in the November 9 issue of the eZine.

An egg is a very rich source of saturated fat (1.5 grams) and cholesterol (200 mg), but adding three eggs per day to the average Americans’ diet does not raise cholesterol levels. Cholesterol in eggs has very little effect on blood cholesterol levels in healthy adults. Several studies show no relationship between eating eggs and increased risk for heart disease or stroke and most people can eat one egg a day without increasing heart disease risk. (Journal references for these studies) I eat eggs 2-3 days per week and will continue to do so unless more persuasive research comes along.

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Reports from drmirkin.com

Assessing your diabetes risk
How too much insulin makes you fat
Gall stones

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Do athletes have an advantage over non- athletes as they age?

Athletes who compete into their eighties suffer few medical problems, but those who lapse into inactivity regress toward the general population norms for fitness, weight control and health problems, according to a study in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine (November 2008).

People who compete into later life in sports such as running or cycling can maintain their competitive edge into their eighties. Each muscle is made up of millions of muscle fibers. With aging, particularly after age 50, you lose muscle fibers so you become weaker. You cannot slow the loss of muscle fibers, but you can compensate for the loss of fibers by increasing the size of each remaining muscle fiber with regular vigorous exercise. If the results of this study can be extended to all regular exercisers, you can also expect to live longer and suffer fewer health problems than your non-exercising peers.

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Can depression cause a heart attack?

Although many previous studies have shown an association between depression and heart attacks, none have shown that depression causes heart attacks. Now the “Heart and Soul Study” from University of California at San Francisco shows that this association is most likely caused by behavioral factors, particularly physical inactivity (JAMA, December 2, 2008). The authors studied 1017 people from 12 San Francisco area outpatient clinics with stable coronary heart disease and followed them for an average of 4.8 years. After adjusting for other causes of heart attacks, depression was associated with a 31percent higher rate of heart attacks. Depressed people are usually extremely inactive and rarely exercise.

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Recipe of the Week:

Creamy Carrot Soup

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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