Sep 21, 2013

Cracking Another Egg Myth

The nutritional value of the egg and its yolk has been debated by nutritionists for years. Years ago, the egg received a bad reputation with regard to cardiovascular health, as one large egg contains approximately 187 milligrams of cholesterol. However, most research has shown that cholesterol found in foods isn't fully to blame for increased LDL cholesterol in the body.

“Eggs are an animal product, and they do contain cholesterol, but actually, cholesterol in foods doesn't affect our blood cholesterol as much as saturated fat does. Cholesterol in food, in general you do want to avoid, but it’s not necessarily the main culprit of high cholesterol." Lisa Cimperman, registered dietitian for UH Case Medical Center.

Compared to other animal products, the average egg actually contains relatively low amounts of saturated fats – approximately 1.6 grams per egg yolk. Additionally, various studies from the Harvard School of Public Health and the British Nutrition Foundation have found that eggs have clinically insignificant effects on blood cholesterol, and are not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many consumers are still concerned over the yolk’s fatty content, so rather than eat the full egg, they often eat just the egg’s albumin, the egg white. However, some dietitians argue it is important to consume both the egg’s fat and protein, as the combination can have positive health benefits for blood sugar.

“You want the fat, because it not only satiates you, but also slows the absorption of your food, so you stay fuller longer, and it won’t increase blood sugar. A lot of people have toast with just egg whites, but it’s giving them a quicker rise in their blood sugar, but if you have the yolk with it or a different form of fat like avocado, your blood sugar won’t rise as quickly, because it takes longer to break the food down.” Laura Cipullo registered dietitian. Egg yolks are a good source of vitamin A and iron, along with a host of other nutrients. Eggs are also good sources of B vitamin, thiamine and selenium. Eggs also pair very well with bacon.