Eggs: Healthy or Not?

How did eggs get so controversial?

A lot of it has to do with cholesterol. A large egg contains about 185 mg of cholesterol. And since the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a limit of 300 mg per day, eat two eggs and you’ve exceeded that limit.

So, eggs are bad then?

Not so fast. There happens to be a problem with the AHA’s recommendation. It assumes that when you eat more cholesterol (from eggs and other animal foods), your blood cholesterol increases.

Assume that and, of course, it makes sense to eat fewer eggs. Your blood cholesterol would be lower. Your heart and arteries would stay healthier for longer.

But here’s the AHA’s dirty little secret: Your body doesn’t work that way.

Indeed, the research consistently and reliably shows that the cholesterol you eat has very little impact on how much cholesterol is in your blood.

If that sounds weird, maybe this will help…

You see, your body makes cholesterol. Lots of it, in fact. Every single day you produce between 1 and 2 grams of it on your own. (That’s 5-10 times the cholesterol in a large egg.)

The interesting twist? When you eat more cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces less of it. And when you eat less cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body produces more.

That’s because you have a cholesterol “set point.” Think of it like a thermostat that’s largely determined by your genetics, exercise habits, and stress. Funny enough, diet plays a surprisingly small role.

And here’s another thing… cholesterol isn’t so bad for you anyway.

In fact, cholesterol happens to be one of the most important nutrients in your body.

It’s in every cell membrane (outer layer). It’s a requirement for growth (in infants and adults). And it’s required for the production of many hormones.

If all this is true, then why do so many people tell you to avoid eggs?

Simple: Egg paranoia has been based on the old assumption that eating the yolks will raise blood cholesterol (and increase your risk for artery and heart disease).

And even though the research has found the hypothesis is not true, for most of the population, the medical community has been slow to reverse recommendations.

Of course, I get it. Most of us aren’t in a rush to admit we’re wrong. Especially when we’ve been wrong for years. And on the world’s largest stage.

Regardless, researchers have looked at the diets of hundreds of thousands of people. And they’ve suggested that consuming eggs every day is not associated with cholesterol problems or heart disease.

(There’s only one possible exception here: diabetics and the 0.2 percent of the population with familial hypercholesterolemia. More research has to be done to confirm this.)

Interestingly, in controlled trials where people were instructed to eat up to three eggs per day while on a weight loss diet, good things happened.

These folks lost weight, decreased inflammation and either maintained or improved their blood cholesterol levels. (They were consuming 555 mg of cholesterol every day from eggs alone!)

Bottom line: Unless you have diabetes or a rare genetic disorder, eating a few eggs every day is not bad for you.

Could eating whole eggs every day (including the yolks) actually be good for you?

A lot of experts think so.

Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich and vitamin-laden foods on the planet! (Compared to the yolks, the whites are pretty much protein and water.)

Egg yolks contain 90 percent of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12 of the egg. In addition the yolk contains all of the fat-soluble components, such as vitamins A, D and E, not to mention the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Egg yolks are also a rich source of some other very interesting nutrients such as choline, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Choline is essential for cardiovascular and brain function. Eating more of it may mean mean less inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer, and more.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the major antioxidants in eggs. They protect the eyes by filtering harmful light wavelengths and lowering risk of macular degeneration.

Indeed, those people eating only egg whites, or avoiding eggs entirely, are missing out on many of these key nutrients.

But, is there ever a time to ditch the yolks?

There probably is. For some; but not most.

We already discussed diabetics and those with familial hypercholesterolemia. For those individuals, it’s probably best not to eat three eggs every single day.

For athletes competing in weight-class sports, every calorie counts. When cutting weight, removing the yolks can help keep protein higher (which helps preserves muscle mass) while keeping calories lower.

(Each egg yolk contains 6 g of fat and 54 kcal. So even though they’re full of nutrients, they still do contain calories.)

And one more consideration: people on high sugar and high carbohydrate diets.

Of course, diets high in sugar aren’t ideal, whether you eat eggs or not. Eat a lot of carbohydrates, sugar, and fat (from eggs or any other high fat/high cholesterol food) and many disease risks go up.

For most people, eggs won’t increase blood cholesterol or the risk of heart or artery disease.

In fact, assuming the diet’s not high in sugar or carbs, eggs are probably even an awesome addition to the diet.

However, there’s no reason to convince everyone to eat whole eggs every single day.

And that’s really what everyone interested in better health should do:

  • Avoid sensationalistic food fads (like banning eggs)
  • Eat a varied diet of nutrient-rich whole foods (including eggs)

Source: Huffington Post

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Source: npr

Classic Egg Dish for Breakfast and Brunch

Ingredients

8 medium eggs
1 lb fresh spinach, tough stalks discarded and well washed
4 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
Warm, crusty bread, to serve

Method

  1. Place the eggs in a heavy saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil gently for 10 minutes, then plunge into cold water. Leave until cool. Peel and cut in half.
  2. Meanwhile, place the spinach with water just clinging to the leaves in a heavy saucepan. Cover with a lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and chop fine. Heat I tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet. Gently saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the spinach, then place in the base of an ovenproof gratin dish. Place the boiled egg halves on top.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a small heavy saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, seasoning, and half the cheese.
  4. To serve, preheat broiler to medium. Pour the sauce over the eggs. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and place under the broiler for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve immediately with warm, crusty bread.

Makes 8 Servings.

Source: Essentials Egg

In Pictures: Breakfasts with Eggs


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