In Egg’s Defense

I hope you all had an egg-cellent weekend. Sorry, couldn’t resist some nerdy nutrition humour. There is a lot of misinformation about eggs, so let’s do some myth busting.

Eggs are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And, they’re really inexpensive source of protein, weighing in on average about $0.14 cents per egg.

Egg Whites are full of high quality protein, there’s  ~4 grams per white. And, it’s low in fat making it low in calories.

Egg Yolks holds a little less than half of an egg’s protein, having ~ 3 grams per yolk. In addition to protein, yolks hold the fat, in particular saturated fat and cholesterol, vitamins A,D, B12, folate, essential nutrients like choline and 2 antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin. Choline promotes memory development in infants, while lutein and zeaxanthin promote eye health. If you have seen the recent Similac commercials you’ll see they now add lutein, which is also found in breast milk, to promote infant eye health. So, although yolks have a bad rap, when eaten in moderation can actually be beneficial, especially to growing children.

Comparison of the calories and fat in a whole egg, egg white and yolk:

So, as you can see most of the calories and fat are in the yolk, but the yolk really only has 1.6 grams of saturated fat, which is not a lot when compared to the 6 gm of saturated fat in 1 oz (about 1 slice) of cheddar cheese. Eggs are often eaten with high fat foods like bacon, butter, cheese, so it is often thought of as a high fat food. If you are at risk or have heart disease, you have to be really strict with your saturated fat intake and the American Heart Association recommends limiting your intake of egg(yolks) to 2 per week.

Cracking the egg myths:

Fact: Eggs are high in cholesterol so they raise blood cholesterol.

FALSE. It’s well known that eggs have cholesterol, however dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol. Rather, it’s saturated fat, which eggs contain, that raises blood cholesterol.

Fact: Brown egg are more nutritious than white eggs.

FALSE. Eggshell color has nothing to do with quality, flavor, nutritional value or cooking characterists. The eggshell color is a result of  the breed of the hen.

Ways to eat eggs healthfully:

  • Omelette, scrambled, frittata with 1 whole egg + 2 whites + veggies (spinach, mushroom, shredded potato, peppers)
  • 1 whole + 2 whites on whole wheat bread or English muffin + pesto + low fat cheese (swiss) + tomato
  • Throw sliced egg whites on salad
  • Egg salad made with 1/2 whole eggs + 1/2 egg whites. Use lemon juice, mustard, olive oil or hummus instead of mayo. Add some onions, celery or peppers for healthy crunch

When to introduce eggs: 

The old school thought was to wait to introduce babies to eggs until 1 year of age due to risk of allergies. However the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their guidelines last year, stating that there is no strong evidence to support that delaying or early introducing foods has any impact on the development of allergies, and therefore it is safe to introduce as a “first food.” Many pediatricians will still recommend to wait, so follow your provider’s advice.

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