Eggs have been making a comeback as recent research debunked a decades-old theory on its role in heart disease. From yolk to choline, here’s why it’s time to reintroduce eggs back into our balanced diets.
BY: NICK BIASE, RDN
As heart disease emerged as a leading cause of death in America in the 1950s, cholesterol became a hot topic. Unfortunately, many believed that dietary cholesterol in egg yolks was the main cause for high cholesterol, resulting in clogged arteries. This led to an influx of egg white options which still exists today.
However, research on egg consumption collected in recent years shows no association with heart disease, and identified excessive intake of saturated fat and refined carbohydrates as the main culprits behind elevating serum cholesterol (in particular LDLs). Heart disease and cholesterol shows a more complicated link than simply due to cholesterol, as inflammation also proved to play a large role in the development of clogged arteries.
Let’s welcome eggs back into a balanced diet for these 3 great reasons:
#1: Good Source of Protein
Whether you’re looking for a more fulfilling breakfast or an ideal go-to post workout protein; eggs are an excellent choice. A single egg contains 6 grams, or 13% of the recommended daily value, of high quality protein, prepared countless ways in very little time.
Proteins found in eggs, such as albumin, qualify them as a complete protein, which means they have all nine essential amino acids. This makes eggs a great go-to protein for vegetarians who will still eat them.
#2: Keep The Nutritious Yolk
Although yolks have often been demonized in popular media, the science shows dietary cholesterol in yolks having no significant effect on active people without genetically high cholesterol. Rather, the saturated fat in foods leads to raising cholesterol.
The yolk contains just about every vitamin and mineral needed in our diets. In addition, that’s where you’ll also find the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA; an essential nutrient for our brain and cardiovascular health.
The most recent national average cost of eggs is $1.69 per dozen. That’s roughly 2 cents per gram of protein when compared to over 9 cents per gram from top sirloin steak. On another note, egg whites generally cost you more out of pocket when ordering out, which now seems silly because you’re literally paying more for less nutrients.
While it is generally safe for healthy individuals to consume eggs, those who are at high risk for heart disease still need to limit their egg intake as they do have a small amount (1.6 g) of saturated fat.
#3: Get Your Choline On
Eggs are also one of the richest sources of choline, an essential nutrient needed for brain-to-body communication. Choline is especially important for pregnant or nursing women, as babies will receive a significant amount of mom’s supply.
Higher incidences of prostate cancer have raised concerns among those consuming foods high in choline, like meat and eggs. However, researchers note inconclusive results due to study limitations, as other dietary choices were not properly controlled in those studies.
Regardless, like anything, balance is always still key so don’t go overboard on the eggs.
HEADER IMAGE: JOSEPH GONZALEZ
Nick Biase, RDN is a San Diego-based registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition and wellness. Nick is a Marine veteran, fitness enthusiast, home brewer, and a firm believer that you can keep both 6-packs. To develop your nutrition game plan with Nick, make a visit to Nutrition Cadre.