I have to admit I love eggs, they are easy to cook, quick and packed full of protein. However, for many years eggs have been branded as the villain of the breakfast world. This is because of the misguided belief that cholesterol in eggs (found in the yolk) raises the cholesterol levels in your body, putting you at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.
So what is the real truth about eggs?
Effect on heart disease
With regards to eggs having the effect of raising cholesterol. Resent studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition would suggest there is no link in healthy people between eggs and either heart attack or strokes. Cholesterol feeding studies demonstrate that dietary cholesterol increases both good and bad cholesterol with little change in their ratio. As the ratio between good and bad cholesterol is the determining fact as to whether an individual is at risk of heart disease, this would suggest that dietary cholesterol is not related to heart disease.
A whole egg is one of the best sources of the nutrient choline (a type of vitamin B). It has been shown that women with a high intake of choline are 24 % less likely to get breast cancer.
Egg yolks are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that have been shown to delay muscular degeneration of vision with age.
Good source of protein
Eggs are high in protein and are known as a complete protein. They contain all the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) the body needs. Complete amino acids are amino acids that the body cannot manufacture on its own and must be obtained from dietary sources. This makes eggs an ideal post exercise snack for muscle recovery.
A trial study consisting of 160 over weight people compared the effects of starting the day with either two eggs or a bagel. Both meals contained the same amount of calories and weight mass. Those who started their day with eggs lost more weight demonstrated a bigger drop in their waist size and reported feeling more energised than those who ate the bagels. This is because eggs and protein in general make you feel full, preventing you from eating foods high in fat and sugar that would otherwise prevent you from achieving your goals.
So… how would you like your eggs this morning?
Rong, Y et al (2013) Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ vol. 346 pp. e8539