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You Can’t Eggs-aggerate the Benefits of Eggs!

I love to think about words.  Changing how you interpret common words offers insight into a new way of thinking.  Exaggerate means to represent (something) as being larger, greater, better, or worse than it really is.

As a registered dietitian and one who’s radar is always in the ‘on’ position in terms of food marketing awareness, I rarely say “bad” or “good” when discussing food.  Don’t give human characteristics to food: label food factually and take the emotional quotient off the table.  A food can be high in fat, or low in sugar, etc.

People definitely may be ‘bad’ or ‘good’ but food…well, food consists of nutrients…protein, carbohydrate, fat.  There are good and bad choices to be made in terms of health.  Refined carbs from white flour have been stripped of nutrients (with just a few essential added back); whole grains are full of natural phytochemicals and fiber, so helpful in keeping your arteries unclogged.  Some unhealthy fats can be avoided completely…many cities have banned trans fat or hydrogenated fat, a man-made fat that’s “bad” for your health (trans fat raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol and lowers your “good” HDL cholesterol). What you eat, how much and when you eat is happily your choice, for the most part.

So, thinking of eggs, it’s actually hard not to exaggerate when thinking in terms of making wise choices for nutrition and health.  They’re a perfectly genius combination of protein, healthy fat, vitamins, minerals, and taste.  And, there’s some exciting health news to share, so let’s get crackin’!

Health:

Did you think that eating eggs contribute to high cholesterol?  Think again!  In fact, countries in the European Union, Japan, India, Canada, and New Zealand have no upper limit on dietary cholesterol.  Why?  Because research links egg consumption to better health. (1)  In the USA, where currently recommendations are for a single daily egg, our biggest problem is…how big we are.  Obesity is linked to a myriad of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. We know that metabolic syndrome (MetS) can predispose individuals to heart disease and type 2 diabetes (MetS is a cluster of risk factors that includes abdominal obesity (waist size men: 40 inches or more; women 35 inches), low HDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure, triglycerides and blood sugar.  Almost 25 percent adult Americans currently have MetS and experts link it to obesity. (2)

So the good news?  Egg-citing research shows that diet quality does make a difference.  In a recently conducted study, participants ate either three whole eggs or equivalent of yolk-free egg substitutes daily over a 12-week period, while at the same time reducing the percentage of calories from carbohydrate foods to 25-30%.  Results? Both groups enjoyed improved blood cholesterol ratios and improved insulin resistance, and what’s really exciting is that the 3-a-day whole-egg group had even better improvement in “healthy” HDL cholesterol compared to the egg substitutes. (3)

The Takeaway:

Fuel up with some high-test nutrition.  Eggs are high quality and highly digestible too.  American health experts call for a re-evaluation of eggs in light of research that eggs are a healthful food: it’s important that sensible strategies be recommended for inclusions of eggs in a healthy diet. (4) Sensible strategies, that’s a whole ‘nother column!  But suffice to say, whole eggs, cooked in a weight-wise way, without added fats, are smart strategies, and are so tasty, too! Read more about egg nutrition.

Healthy meal that includes eggs: Fresh green salad with baby spinach, lettuce, blue cheese and poached egg

  1. Fernandez ML, Calle MC. Revisiting dietary cholesterol recommendations: does the evidence support a 300 mg/d limit? Current Atherosclerosis Reports 2010; 12:377-383.  Accessed online November 2, 12.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683785
  2. Despues, JP.  Is visceral obesity the cause of the metabolic syndrome?  Annals of Medicine 2006;38(1):52-63.  Accessed online November 2, 12.  informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07853890500383895
  3. Blesso CN, et al.  Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism. 2012 Sep 26. pii: S0026-0495(12)00318-6.  Accessed online November 2, 12. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23021013
  4. Kanter MM, et al. Exploring the factors that affect blood cholesterol and heart disease risk: is dietary cholesterol as bad for you as history leads us to believe?  Advanced Nutrition 22012 Sep 1;3(5):711-7. Accessed online November 2, 12.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22983850