The Egg: Good or Bad?
The egg can be a very confusing food when it comes to nutrition. On one side, the egg is an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. It is also relatively inexpensive and readily available. But on the other hand, the egg contains a large amount of cholesterol which can increase our risk of heart disease. So are eggs good or bad for you?
An egg contains 2 parts- the white and the yolk. The white (or clear if uncooked) part of the egg is made of mostly protein. The yolk (central yellow) part of the egg contains numerous nutrients along with cholesterol. In fact, a single medium sized egg contains about 160mg of cholesterol. This is 62% of the daily recommended value. (Gunnars, 2016).
For years, dietary guidelines suggested that we eat less than 300mg of cholesterol d a day in order to decrease our risk of heart disease. But in January of2016, the US Dietary Guidelines did not specify an upper daily limit for cholesterol. This is due to new research indicating that when we eat more cholesterol our bodies produce less. And conversely, when you consume less cholesterol, your body produces more. Cholesterol has gotten a bad rap, and to an extent for a good reason. We all understand that the cholesterol consumed in a large fast food cheeseburger and fries is a very unhealthy intake of cholesterol. But it is important to remember that cholesterol is vital to the production of vitamin D and hormones within the body as well as bile acids which help us digest food. Cholesterol is a part of every cell in our bodies. (Spritzler 2016).
So do eggs increase the risk of heart disease? Studies show that eating 1-2 whole eggs per day does not increase cholesterol levels or heart disease factors. As it turns out, eating eggs as part of a low carbohydrate diet improves these risk factors in those with type 2 diabetes. LDL (bad cholesterol) shows to stay the same or increase very minimally while HDL (good cholesterol) tends to increase. And eating eggs enriched with omega-3 helps to lower triglyceride levels. (Spritzler 2016).
The egg also has numerous nutrient and health benefits that are important to address when discussing its value. Eggs are an amazing source of protein and contain several important vitamins and minerals. One large eggs contains 72 calories, 5% of your daily vitamin A, 14% of your Riboflavin, 11% of vitamin B12, 6% of folate, 5% of Iron, and 23% or selenium. Eggs have many health benefits such as helping keep you full, promoting weight loss, protecting brain health, reducing eye disease risk, and decreasing inflammation. (Spritzler 2016).
So while eggs have gotten a bad reputation over the years, the truth is that in moderation, eggs are a great part of your healthy diet. But if the idea of consuming all of that cholesterol makes you a little nervous, opt for the whites only!
Want to learn more about the health benefits of eggs? Check out this evidence –based article! https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-health-benefits-of-eggs/
Gunnars, Kris, (2016, August 8). Eggs and Cholesterol- How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat? Retrieved from https://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=drip-bc&__s=qeqru1cjqps74qp6rvdn
Spritzler, Franziska. (2016, July 12). Are Whole Eggs and Egg Yolks Bad For You, or Good? Retrieved from https://authoritynutrition.com/are-egg-yolks-bad/
Cage-Free, Free-Range, Pasture-Raised or Organic Eggs: An Egg-ucation. Digital Image. The Huffington Post. September 7, 2016.
The Other Half of the Egg. Digital Image. NPR. March 30, 2011. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/30/134953739/the-other-half-of-the-egg
Bacon and Cheddar Deviled Eggs. Digital Image. Incredible Egg. 2017. https://www.incredibleegg.org/recipe/bacon-cheddar-deviled-eggs/