The egg appears to be the healthiest staple food on the planet. The egg is nutrient rich containing 13 essential vitamins and minerals and all 9 essential amino acids. An egg only contains 72 calories and provides 6.29 g of protein. So, why is the American public afraid to eat such a wonderful healthy food source?
People have been consuming eggs for a long time. Europe has had domesticated hens since 600 BC. Christopher Columbus brought hens with him when he came to the New World on his 2nd voyage in 1493.
60 billion eggs are produced in the US each year. And yet many of us consume eggs and love them yet feel guilty for our pleasure. We are irrationally afraid of the danger of eating something that contains cholesterol. In 1972 the government got involved and placed dietary restrictions on eggs. So many of us have grown up with thinking eggs weren’t a good health choice. Let’s look at some of the latest research and get rid of the guilt for good.
Eggs and cholesterol: There is a difference between dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol you consume in foods) and blood cholesterol (cholesterol in your bloodstream made by your body). Dietary cholesterol is present in varying amounts in some foods; meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy. However dietary cholesterol does not automatically become blood cholesterol (which is what you need to keep an eye on). Blood cholesterol is made by your body and each person makes their own unique amount.
A controlled trial of 160 overweight or obese men and women were divided into two equal groups. One group was given a two egg breakfast and the other group was given a bagel breakfast. Both groups’ breakfasts supplied the same calories and weight mass. They were to eat their prescribed breakfast 5 days per week for 8 weeks while maintaining a low fat diet with a 1000 calorie deficit. The egg group lost 6 pounds of weight compared to the other group that lost 3.5 pounds. (That is almost twice as much). The egg group had an 83% greater decrease in waist circumference and self reported having more energy. There were no significant differences in HDL and LDL cholesterol between the two groups. (Dhurandhar N. Vander Wal J. et al FASEB Journal 2007; 21:538.1) WOW! They lost more weight, felt more energetic and did not increase their cholesterol levels and were eating at least 10 eggs per week per person.
In a study of a total of 37,851 men aged 40 to 75 yearsat study outset and 80,082 women aged 34 to 59 years at studyoutset, free of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia,or cancer. It was found that consumption ofup to 1 egg per day is unlikely to have substantial overallimpact on the risk of heart disease or stroke among healthy men and women. (JAMA. 1999; 281:1387-1394)
Yes, eggs are high in dietary cholesterol. But Donald J. McNamara, Ph.D.at theEgg Nutrition Center, Washington, DC did a study showing that dietary cholesterol is not related to coronary heart disease incidence or mortality across or within populations. (J Am College Nutrition Oct 2000, 19:540S-548S)
Another recent study published in an American Heart Association journal showed that 20 healthy young men and 13 young women with normal blood cholesterol levels were able to consume up to two eggs per day while on a low-fat diet without significantly raising their blood cholesterol levels.
Even the American Heart Association changed it dietary allowance in 2000 to 1 egg per day up from its earlier recommendation of 3 per week.
In 1945 Americans were consuming 402 eggs per person per year. Now Americans consume 235 eggs per person per year. Heart disease rates rose while egg consumption has declined.
The Good News about EGGS:
- Highest quality of food protein known.
- Long shelf life.
- Provide 13 essential vitamins and minerals.
- Provide all 9 essential amino acids.
- Easy to prepare.
- One of the few foods that contains Vitamin D.
- “>Good source of choline which is important for sending messages between nerves and muscles.
- Good source of Vitamin B6 which is used for treating hardening of the arteries.
- A whole natural food.
- Provides protein which stabilizes moods and helps control hunger.
- Egg yolks contain lecithin a brain-healthy nutrient. (The brain is made up of lecithin and cholesterol).
- Contains antioxidants; carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.
- Good source of Vitamin A, B12 and folate.
- Provide lutein which protects eye sight, slows macular degeneration and cataract formation.
Are you now over your egg phobia?
When a food provides more nutrients than calories to the average American diet it is called “nutrient dense” and that is exactly what an egg is, good for your health!