EGGS ARE NOT BAD FOR YOUR CHOLESTEROL - ANOTHER MYTH BUSTER
One of the most common questions I’m often asked (and acts as proof to many people’s guided misconception) is ‘are eggs bad for me and if not, how many are safe for me to eat?’
I vividly remember the not so long ago times when our governments (and doctors) told us that cholesterol is bad because it increases the risk of cardio vascular disease and that eggs cause increased cholesterol. Therefore it is only logically follows that eggs are bad for you.
But since nutritional science has advanced and professional options have shifted. I have advocated for a long time that provided you cook them properly and source them from a reliable source, eggs are a good and economical source of quality proteins, healthy fats and antioxidants.
Unfortunately the egg scare has been so persistent and long lasting that many people are still scared of eggs because of the risk associated with cholesterol. So it’s time to get on board the new perception that many foods that are rich in cholesterols and saturated fats are not bad for you.
A recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed my own feeling that it’s safe to eat a couple of eggs a day. The researchers gave overweight or obese individuals with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes to eat either a high-egg (a dozen eggs a week) or a low-egg (less than two eggs a week) diet.
Even though both groups ate the same amount of protein, the high-egg group reported less hunger and greater satiety after breakfast. Further, no negative effect on the participants’ lipid profile was detected.
“No between-group differences were shown for total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, or glycaemic control,” the researchers wrote, which shows fears that eating healthy high-cholesterol foods will lead to high cholesterol are unjustified.
One egg yolk has about 210mg of cholesterol, which is why public health agencies in the USA have long recommended Americans limit their intake. In other countries like the U.K., there is no suggested limit on egg consumption.
However, even in the USA there’s a growing consensus that dietary cholesterol from natural sources not only pose no threat to your health but it may even be beneficial to it. The newly released 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines have even removed the dietary cholesterol limit and added egg yolks to the list of suggested sources of protein.
The unsubstantiated cholesterol scare have overshadowed the fact that eggs are a plentiful source of antioxidants and vitamins that many individuals are lacking. For example, an estimated 90% of the U.S. population may be deficient in choline.
Some of the symptoms associated with low levels include memory problems, fatigue and persistent brain fog. One egg yolk contains almost 215mg of choline, a B vitamin known for its role in brain development and memory.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoid antioxidants that are important for eyesight, are also found in eggs similarly to the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine, which have powerful antioxidant properties to help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.
According to one researcher, eating eggs, and particularly the yolks, may even be an ideal way to resolve common nutrient deficiencies, including Vitamin_A, E and B6, copper, calcium and folate. As we can see, eating eggs is not only safe but it’s a great way to enhance nutrient intake.
To ensure the maximum benefits and least harm from eating eggs, it’s important to obtain eggs from high quality sources. Free range organic eggs are by far superior in respect of nutrient content whilst conventionally produced eggs carry a higher likelihood to bacteria contamination such as salmonella.
An egg is considered organic if the chicken was fed only organic food, which means it is unlikely to have accumulated high levels of pesticides from the grains, mostly genetically modified (GM) corn which is fed to typical raised chickens.
However, the organic label on eggs is not an indication that the chickens have been humanely or sustainably raised. In an ideal world, you should get your eggs from chickens that roam outdoors where they can consume their natural diet and lead a happier more natural life.
When it comes to consumption, health agencies warn not to eat undercooked eggs, which could contain pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella. This is primarily an issue with CAFO eggs (and chicken).
In the UK, tests have revealed that more than 23% of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, compared to just 4.4% in organic flocks, and 6.5% in free-range flocks. The highest incidence of salmonella occurred in facilities holding 30,000 birds or more.
From a nutritional standpoint, and assuming the source of your eggs is a small farms that’s raising its hens naturally and ethically, the best way to eat eggs is raw or very lightly cooked, such as poached, soft-boiled, or sunny-side-up with very runny yolks.
Two raw egg yolks have antioxidant properties equivalent to half a serving of cranberries (25gr) and almost twice as many as an apple. However, the antioxidant properties are diminished by about 50% when eggs are fried or boiled, and reduced even more if they're ‘nuked’ in a microwave oven.
Furthermore, the cholesterol in the yolk can be oxidised in high temperatures, particularly when it is in contact with the iron which is present in the whites and cooked for example as in scrambled eggs), and such oxidation contributes to chronic inflammation in the body. Therefore, scrambled eggs are best avoided if you want them to be healthy.
It is possible to tell whether eggs are free range by the colour of the yolk. Foraged hens produce eggs with bright orange yolks. If your eggs have dull, pale yellow yolks you can be fairly sure that they come from caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet. The key to finding truly free-range, pastured eggs is to buy your eggs locally. This is typically preferable to organic eggs from the supermarket. If you live in a city, visiting the local health food stores is typically the surest route to finding high-quality local egg sources
There are other benefits to eating eggs. I have made a list of 10 good reasons