“The people who told us about sun block were the same people who told us, when I was a kid, that eggs were good. So I ate a lot of eggs. Ten years later they said they were bad. I went, ‘Well, I just ate the eggs!’ So I stopped eating eggs, and ten years later they said they were good again! Well, then I ate twice as many, and then they said they were bad. Well, now I’m really #$%&ed! Then they said they’re good, they’re bad, they’re good, the whites are good, th-the yellows—make up your mind! It’s breakfast. I’ve gotta eat!” —Lewis Black
Contradictory reporting on the positive and negative nutritional properties of eggs has long perplexed consumers as well as health care practitioners. As noted by the Harvard School of Public Health, doctors and researchers have been maligning eggs for many years, mostly due to their high cholesterol content. However, studies have concluded that, generally, the cholesterol present in food has a much smaller effect on total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol blood levels than does the amount of saturated fat in the diet. They state that a moderate amount of egg consumption, up to 1 per day, does not increase cardiovascular risk in healthy individuals.
Recently, a study was completed that confirmed the health benefits of eggs. However, like eggs themselves, this study should be taken with at least a grain of salt. It was conducted by the American Egg Board, which has reintroduced the egg as having 14% less cholesterol than previously thought (185 mg instead of 215 mg). They proclaim that the high-quality protein in eggs helps to make people feel fuller longer and can help with maintaining a healthy weight. The protein can build muscle strength and prevent muscle loss in middle-aged and older adults, and the choline present can aid brain function in adults by maintaining brain cell membrane structure.
The fact is that eggs are nutritious. One egg has only 75 calories but also contains 7 grams of high-quality protein, along with iron, vitamins A and B, potassium, minerals, and carotenoids. Unfortunately, it also has 5 grams of fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat. Therefore, for most people, eggs can probably be eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. So eggs are good, until we’re told they’re bad again.
- Djousse L, Gaziano JM. Egg consumption and risk of heart failure in the Physicians’ Health Study. Circulation.2008;117(4):512-516. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=18195171.
- Egg nutrients. American Egg Board. http://www.incredibleegg.org/health-and-nutrition/egg-nutrients.
- Eggs and heart disease. Harvard School of Public Health. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/eggs/.
- Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2006;9(1):8-12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=16340654.
- Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB, et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999;281(15):1387-1394. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=10217054.
- Weil A. New risks to eating eggs? Weill Lifestyle Web site. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400406/New-Risks-to-Eating-Eggs.html.