There are a lot of myths in medicine and arguably even more in nutrition, so today let’s bust one.
Hi, I’m Doctor Joe.
For perhaps understandable but arguably wrong reasons, in the 1970s, eggs started to get a bad rap. And I won’t sort of go into all the details, but essentially the idea was that eggs had a lot of cholesterol and therefore they were bad for you because they led to heart disease. It was a nice theory perhaps but essentially it has been shown now over an extended period of time that it is just not the case.
So eggs are not only not bad for you, eggs are good for you.
Alrighty, so what’s good about eggs? They have a source of protein and that’s probably the key component. So these days, particularly with people watching their weight, we want to be getting a good protein source and being careful particularly with our carbs. So eggs are an excellent source of protein.
Eggs also do have some good fats in them and they have vitamins as well including vitamin D and Vitamin A. So they are a very nutritious food. They don’t have a huge number of calories and the other good thing with eggs is that they fill you up.
There has been work done that shows that people who have eggs for breakfast on a weight loss plan do better than people who have carbs for breakfast, so we’re talking here about toast or muesli or some other form of carbohydrate. Now of course you can combine these things and I think that most people you know don’t mind eggs on toast. But certainly we know that if people have had one or two eggs for breakfast that they will feel full for a longer period of time, so you don’t get the munchies, you know in the middle of the morning, so you’re less likely to go for the biscuit or the donut.
Alright, so how many is too many? And I’m not sure there’s an absolute answer to that. If people like to have one or two eggs per day, then really there is nothing that says that that is a problem. Now some people might say, “That’s more than what I want to have,” and that’s fine too. But as a protein source one or two eggs per day is fine to have.
People also get into arguments about cage eggs or free range eggs and I suppose that’s slightly more a political and personal preference thing. I think there is a trend for people to want to source free range eggs. Whether there is a nutritional difference between them, that would be a source of quite a degree of argument.
Personally, and this is just speaking for myself, I quite like the free range eggs but for people who are wanting to buy the caged eggs, they still have the proteins and the vitamins and minerals in them.
So to sum up, look, if you’ve been of the view that eggs are a problem, they are not. So you can enjoy eggs, they can be scrambled, they can be poached, you know you can lightly fry them, don’t drown them in lots of oil obviously, but fried eggs is okay as well. You can make frittatas with vegetables. You know a really great breakfast if you’re watching your weight is some eggs with some sautéed mushrooms or spinach and that really gives you a nutritional punch to start the day.
So, if you like your eggs, go out and enjoy them.
“But wait, Dr Joe! What about cholesterol?”
So let’s put it on the table. There is some cholesterol in eggs and that’s partly the reason that eggs did get an undeserved bad name back in the seventies. However two important points. Number one, as part of an overall healthy, balanced diet, some cholesterol is fine, because after all there is cholesterol in each and every cell of the human body. So if you’re having on average one egg per day, that’s not going to be a problem. The total amount is not going to upset your system.
|For more information on food groups and components, see Types and Composition of Food.|
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