With a family history of high cholesterol and a total cholesterol number in the 220’s myself, one may be shocked to hear that eggs are my all time favorite source of protein. Many people even think I eat an abnormally high number of eggs, as I go through a few dozen each week! On a typical day, I have a minimum of three of four. Scrambled, hard boiled, over hard, sunny side up, tossed in a stir fry; you name it and I’m in. But…I’m a dietitian with a cholesterol level of 220, so WHY ON EARTH would I be eating so many eggs!? Well, you’re probably basing your thinking on the outdated theory that cholesterol in eggs raises cholesterol in your body, which clogs your arteries and puts you at risk for a heart attack. Right? Relax. Despite what you may have heard, cholesterol does NOT cause heart disease. Despite conventional wisdom, arteries are NOT like pipes, and cholesterol and saturated fat do NOT clog them! (Read more on this… ) But, even if it DID, the dietary cholesterol found in eggs actually has a VERY MINIMAL effect on the cholesterol in your blood (less than a half of a percent!) On the contrary, eggs actually PROTECT your heart. To make a long story short, eggs can actually make more of the healthy fluffy, type A particles that make up your cholesterol (for more on that, please read this book and this one. All of that being said, I’d go as far as saying that one of the greatest nutritional myths is people thinking eggs are bad for your heart, and because of this, refrain from eating one of the healthiest, most versatile foods around!
Let’s take a look at the incredible egg: eggs contain 6 grams of perhaps the world's highest quality protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids for brain health, which also aid in healing internal inflammation, thus protecting your heart. Eggs are considered the most bioavailable source of protein. What this means is that your body digests, absorbs and uses the protein in eggs better than in any other food. Because eggs are ranked at the top of the biological value scale, other proteins are actually compared against eggs to determine their quality. Egg protein is quickly digested and absorbed, and because of this, it makes for an excellent pre-or post-workout food. (I like to have a couple eggs before and after marathon training runs.) Eggs also contain all of the essential amino acids that your body requires. Eggs have been shown over and over again to help with weight loss. Eggs help to increase your focus and keep your mood and energy levels stable. They're good for your cells, eyes, heart and metabolism.
My challenge to you is this: whether you believe all of the science I’m throwing out there or not, try it for yourself. I tell new clients to have eggs for breakfast every day for a week, and if they don’t feel good, they can go back to eating whatever they were having before. I’ve never had anyone go back. My clients who swap out their morning bowl of sugar (er, cereal) for a couple of eggs find themselves feeling more focused and productive throughout their morning. They have less cravings and don’t feel the crash they felt when they were eating a bowl of cereal, granola bar or even oatmeal. The innocent, incredible egg has been attacked for too long, and it’s time we all see it for what it’s worth.
So, my question after understanding the overwhelming list of benefits of egg consumption is, why WOULDN'T I be eating so many eggs? Well, I’m hoping to address all other EGGS-cuses below:
But… Should I toss the yolk? NO! The yolk contains the healthy fat and most of the nutrients! In all actuality, the whites are pretty worthless. It truly breaks my heart to see consumers dutifully ordering egg whites or egg “beaters,’ thinking they’re doing their body good. They’re not. If this is you, it’s normal to feel frustrated and/or betrayed. But it’s not too late to change what you do with this information. Starting now, eat the whole egg.
But… I don’t have time. Don’t think I don’t have a solution for that excuse! I’ve only gotten great feedback on my Egg Bake Recipe. It takes very minimal preparation, uses all your leftover veggies, and you can whip it up on a weekend and reheat for breakfasts all week long.
But… why spare a baby chicken so that we can have a few grams of protein? Relax. I understand where you’re coming from on this one, but hear me out: there was a period of time where I wouldn’t eat eggs either (gasp! I know, right!?) because they reminded of, well, an abortion. It just didn’t seem right for a chick to sacrifice its own life just so I could get a healthy breakfast. Thankfully, I looked into this and the truth is that most eggs sold in grocery stores are “unfertilized,” meaning they never would have hatched anyway. And if for some reason you do get a fertile egg, well, refrigeration stops the growth process anyway.
But.. I’m allergic. Okay, you stumped me on that one. Roughly 1-3 percent of you have a true allergy to eggs. If this is unfortunately you, then I’m sorry to hear this. You can still get a high quality protein at breakfast. Breakfast food doesn’t have to be breakfast food. Go for some salmon, or chicken breast, or at least have a balanced smoothie with some whey protein powder — just make sure it's PFC balanced. Full blog post on non-egg breakfasts here: Breakfast Eggceptions.
So, you’re saying I should have eggs every day for breakfast? Yes. This is an EGGScelent way to rev up your metabolism first thing in the morning (I recommend eating within 30 minutes of waking up) and keep you feeling satisfied and focused! Alright, enough of my EGGtastic puns. Go make an Egg Bake and order the Great Cholesterol Myth and Cholesterol Clarity so you can further EGGsucate yourself! (I know.. that last one was pushing it!)