I'm confused about how many eggs I should eat each day as I hear they're high in fat and cholesterol.

The British Nutrition Foundation who released a medical research paper on eggs in February 2009 shining a golden yolk coloured light on the health benefits of eggs. The poor egg was seen to be a fat making, cholesterol raising food group only to be eaten 3 times per week. It seems that the humble egg has been given bad egg status for no apparent reason at all. Here's why eggs should be part of your healthy balanced diet:  

EGGS ARE A GREAT SOURCE OF PROTEIN: 1 medium number 5 egg (49g) contains 5.9g of protein. Eggs are a complete source of all amino acids and don't need to be supplemented with any other protein source.   Just over half the protein of an egg is contained in the white with the remainder in the yolk.    Be wary of eating only raw egg whites though. Raw egg whites also contain a protein called avidin. Excess consumption of raw egg whites (over months or years) can lead to a Biotin deficiency as the avidin binds strongly to biotin preventing its absorption. For most of us, this is something we don't need to worry about.  

THE FAT ISN'T THAT BAD:  Firstly, eggs contain their own built in fat demolition crews. Each egg yolk contains lecithin which is a fat emulsifier.  Of these fats, only 1.7g is saturated fat in our 49g egg example. 150g chicken breast contains approximately 1.1g and 150g beef 2.5g of saturated fat. Egg fat will not make you fat. Cooking eggs in butter and serving them with hollandaise sauce will, as will eating 10 eggs every day. 

Eggs are just the same as any food healthy or otherwise, if you eat more than the body can use, then it will store it.   Depending on what the hens are fed with will determine the exact composition of the fats in an egg. Some feed includes seeds containing Omega-3 Fatty acids which produces eggs with high levels of Omega-3s.   Eggs contain cholesterol, but this has no effect on your blood cholesterol, in fact it may just improve it! Research has found that the higher the dietary intake of cholesterol, the lower the percentage absorbed. Cholesterol isn't made from the cholesterol we eat, it goes through a raft of different chemical processes in the liver before becoming cholesterol.  

YOU EXPERIENCE HIGH SATIETY: With equal amounts of fat and protein, eggs are very satisfying and filling. This is fantastic news for dieters - Just 2 eggs with a big salad for lunch or with some fruit for breakfast will come in at approximately 200-250 calories and keep you satiated until your next meal without voraciously reaching for the nearest processed item of food.  

AND ALL THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF A FULLY FUNCTIONAL FOOD: As a functional food eggs provide great physiological benefit over and above meeting basic nutritional needs, eggs are a whole food with active components.   Eggs are a great source of B-Vitamins (Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, B12). These nutrients are essential for metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Eggs also contain Choline which assists in the synthesis of cell membranes and the transport and metabolism of fats and cholesterol.   Egg yolks contain Vitamins A, D, E and K. These are fat soluble vitamins, which makes the egg yolk the perfect partner to assist in the absorption into the body. Vitamin A contributes to a healthy immune system, bone growth, reproductive system, and eye health. Vitamin E improves the absorption of Vitamin A and is a potent antioxidant. Vitamins D and K are essential for healthy bone growth. Egg yolks are one of the few foods that actually contain Vitamin D. Egg yolk also contains highly bioavailable forms of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which help in the prevention of macular degeneration.  

AND THEY WON'T SEND YOU BROKE: Find a tray of 30 eggs for $4.99 (yes they do exist). That's just 17c an egg! And if you're into eating 10 egg whites at a time you're looking at only $1.70. Even a dozen eggs for $3.60 is still only 30c an egg. With all its nutritional benefits and the ability to keep you feeling satiated until your next meal, the egg definitely provides more bang for your buck.

Stacey 2009

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