Metformin and Eggs

It can be hard for people with diabetes to find the right foods that won’t increase their blood sugar. And that can be even harder if you take medication that has diet restrictions. Metformin is one of the most common diabetes medications and the good thing is there’s not a lot of foods you have to avoid. Eggs are great source of protein, low in carbs and can be made in a variety of ways. So can metformin and eggs be taken together?

Absolutely! Read about how Metformin works and why eggs are great for a diabetes diet.

What is Metformin

Metformin Hydrochloride (aka Metformin) is very common medication and first line treatment for people with diabetes. 

It’s a generic drug that has been around for decades and sold under brand names like Glucophage, Frotamet, and Glumetza.

How Metformin Works

Metformin lowers the glucose made by the liver and reduces glucose absorbed in the intestines.  It also improves insulin sensitivity by increasing glucose uptake and usage by the limbs. 

To put it simply, Metformin makes your body use and store blood glucose more effectively.

Metformin is usually taken as a pill with a starting dosage of 500 mg twice a day or 850 mg once a day for immediate release Metformin.

Common Side Effects

Like other diabetes medications, Metformin also has side effects but they’re usually not severe.

The more common reactions are diarrhea, gas, nausea or upset stomach, which typically happen at the start of treatment.1  These conditions don’t usually last long but talk to your care provider if they last for several days.  

A more severe side effect of Metformin is lactic acidosis, which is a build up of lactic acid in your bloodBut according to studies2 the incidence of Metformin-induced lactic acidosis is very low and is often linked to when there’s kidney complications or disease.

Liver inflammation or damage is also a possible side effect but appear to be very rare based on these studies.3

Foods to Avoid While on Metformin Treatment

While some medications have a long list of of foods to avoid, fortunately Metformin doesn’t require you to avoid specific foods.

Metformin is generally well tolerated with foods. Actually, it’s recommended to take this medication with food to help with absorption.

However, there is some data showing grapefruit may lead adverse side effects but it was based on animal studies. And if you already know of foods that tend to give you an upset stomach, then it’s a good idea to avoid those while taking metformin.

Yes, You Can Eat Eggs While on Metformin

Eggs are a low-carb, high protein food making it a great option for people with diabetes. And you can definitely eat eggs while on Metformin.

Nutritional Value of Eggs

Below is the nutritional info for one large egg based on the USDA food database.

  • Calories – 74

Macronutrients

  • Total Carbohydrates – less than 1g
    • Fiber – 0.75
    • Sugars – 0.2
  • Total Fat – 5 g
    • Cholesterol – 207 mg
  • Protein – 6 g

Key Vitamins and Nutrients

  • Choline – 169 mg
  • Lutein – 116 mcg
  • Zeaxanthin – 115 mcg
  • Vitamin A – 90 mcg
  • Vitamin D – 50 IU

We see that there’s very little carbohydrates in eggs so it won’t spike blood glucose levels. Eating carbs increases blood sugar so it’s important for people with diabetes to limit their carb intake on a daily basis.

Instead, eggs are mostly fat and protein. Fats provide energy and satisfies your appetite. And proteins are the building blocks the body needs.

Health Benefits of Eggs

In addition to their low carb content, eggs offer other health benefits for people with diabetes.

Egg omelet with fresh vegetables

Has all the Essential Amino Acids

The protein in one egg contains all 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are important because the body uses them to grow cells, repair body tissue and are important for other body functions. The main types of amino acids are:

  • Essential: these amino acids cannot be made by the body so they have to come from your diet. There are 9 essential amino acids: valine, isoleucine, methionine, leucine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, lysine, threonine, and histidine.
  • Non-essential: these are the amino acids the body makes sufficiently.
  • Conditionally essential: these amino acids can be made by the body under certain conditions, like times of stress or sickness.

Because our bodies really can’t store protein, we need to make sure to get enough protein everyday. Eating just one egg gives you all the essential amino acids the body needs.

Supports Brain Development

A single egg has nearly 30% of the recommended daily intake of Choline, which your body needs to support the structure of your cells and important nervous system functions like memory, muscle control, and mood.

Healthy Fats

Eggs have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are known as the good fats because they can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

LDL is called the “bad” cholesterol because too much LDL builds up in the walls of blood vessels and linked to heart disease.

Eggs and avocado are both good sources of healthy fats.

Eggs and Cholesterol Levels

In the past, eggs got a bad reputation because their fat and cholesterol was said to give high blood cholesterol levels, being linked to heart disease.

But now the research shows that the dietary cholesterol in food is not as strongly linked to blood cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk.

Instead, it’s recommended to focus more on a healthy diet and patterns like avoiding processed foods (that are often high in added sugars and trans fats) and choosing whole foods like fresh vegetables and lean protein.

Egg Yolks vs Egg Whites

People previously thought it was better to avoid the egg yolk because it had cholesterol and to just eat the egg whites. However, the egg yolk is where almost all of the egg’s nutrients and vitamins are.

Nowadays it’s generally recommended to eat the whole egg so you get all the nutritional benefits of the egg yolk and the protein from the egg white.

FAQs

How many eggs can a diabetic eat a day?

There is no set number of eggs you can or can’t eat in a day but rather, the focus should be on controlling the trans and saturated fats from your overall diet. If your diet is generally low in fats or cholesterol then you may be OK eating more eggs.

Other factors that could affect how many eggs you eat is genetics. For instance, if you have family history of metabolic syndrome and have to careful of your fat intake then you may want to limit eggs to 1 or 2 a day.

Are Boiled Eggs Good For Diabetics?

Yes, people with diabetes can eat boiled eggs and it’s a great way to preserve most of the egg’s nutrients. I n fact, boiled eggs may be a better option because it doesn’t have any extra calories as it would from cooking eggs in oil or fat.

Can Diabetics Eat Deviled Eggs?

Generally yes, deviled eggs are OK for people with diabetes. The main ingredients are soft boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and seasoning. Both eggs and mayonnaise are very low in carbs so you don’t have to worry blood sugar spikes. But deviled eggs are high in calories so it may be idea to limit eating them on occasion.

Summary

Metformin helps lower blood glucose levels and has been used for decades. And thankfully, you don’t have to avoid specific foods with Metformin so eating eggs should not be a problem.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein and has nearly zero carbs so it won’t spike you blood sugar. They’re also packed with important nutrients and have all the essential amino acids that the body needs.

While eggs do have saturated fat they also have healthy unsaturated fats that can improve your ‘good’ cholesterol levels. Also, research today is showing that dietary cholesterol is not the main factor to heart disease risk as we previously thought so don’t worry too much about the cholesterol in eggs.

Keeping a healthy diet that’s low in carbs is critical for people with diabetes and glycemic control. Eggs are tasty, versatile and will make a great addition to your diabetes diet.

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