The Incredible Edible Egg
By Sahar Kosari, Dietetic Student
We’ve all heard that catchy slogan. Whether they’re scrambled, fried, baked, or boiled, eggs are an everyday staple. Not only are they delicious and versatile, but also contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein, are rich in vitamin A, and B vitamins. Eggs are particularly high in the micronutrient choline, which is essential for the proper functioning of our cells, as well as healthy growth and development.
Despite the nutritional benefits, egg yolks contain high amounts of cholesterol, and for that reason have a bad reputation. Simply put, cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from both your body and your diet. Sources include meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Studies suggest that excess cholesterol intake may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
But before you decide to ditch egg yolks completely, you might want to reconsider:
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans previously recommended that cholesterol intake should not exceed 300 mg/day. However, according to the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, current evidence shows “no appreciable relationship between the consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol” and that overconsumption of the nutrient is not of concern.
Does this mean we can eat an unlimited amount of eggs? Not so fast! Regarding dietary cholesterol, it’s still a good idea to limit foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, especially in people that have a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
So, how much is acceptable to eat? Recent research suggests that moderate egg consumption (up to one egg a day) does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy individuals and can be part of a healthy diet. However, people who have difficulty controlling their total and LDL cholesterol, or are diabetic should limit their egg consumption to no more than three yolks per week.
If you need to be cautious about the amount of cholesterol you consume, consider choosing one whole egg and two egg whites when making your next omelet. Add in your favorite veggies and you won’t even notice the difference!
“About Cholesterol.” About Cholesterol. 31 July 2014. Web. <http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/About-Cholesterol_UCM_001220_Article.jsp#>.
“Eggs and Heart Disease.” The Nutrition Source. Web. <http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/>.
Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee