Once considered the perfect food
Full of nutrients
Eggs were once thought of as the perfect food. And for good, reason - they contain protein, vitamins, minerals, fat, are easy to digest and are relatively inexpensive. Marion Harland in her 1889 book Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper said, "Authorities agree that there is more nutrient in an egg than in any substance of equal bulk found in nature...They are much used for food the world over."
Marion was right; eggs are nutrient-dense. The protein in egg whites is the standard by which all other protein is measured. It is the ideal protein. Eggs are high in many vitamins (folate, biotin, choline, and vitamin E) and carotenoids (β-carotene and lutein). Pastured eggs are a great source of healthy fats , specifically ω-3s and monounsaturates.Credit: Rachel HamCredit: Rachel Ham
Along came cholesterol
Eggs are bad for you
With the discovery of cholesterol, eggs became a no-no. In fact, between 1945 and 2000, per capita egg consumption in the United States dropped from 400 eggs/year to 180/year. Why? Dietary recommendations in the late 1960s set an upper limit of 300 mg/day of dietary cholesterol. One egg contains about 275 mg of cholesterol. Unfortunately, experts admit that "dietary recommendations had little scientific evidence other than a known association between saturated fat and cholesterol."
Eggs are the perfect food once more
Research vindicates the egg
What about eggs and blood cholesterol? Clinical research (carefully changing the diets of people and observing what happens) shows that eating more eggs will increase LDL, the bad cholesterol, but will also increase HDL, the good cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol actually lowers the small, dense LDL particles, the most dangerous kind of cholesterol in your blood.
No research has yet shown that people who eat more eggs have more heart attacks. Epidemiological studies (looking at patterns of disease in populations) have not shown a relationship between high dietary cholesterol and higher rates of heart disease. In fact, in a 1999 study of 118,000 men and women, people who ate five or six eggs a week actually decreased their risk for heat disease compared to those who ate less than one egg each week.
What now? Turn back to the age-old tradition of eating eggs - for breakfast, lunch, dinner, in desserts, salads, and sauces. A breakfast of eggs will keep you full longer than one of cereal with milk or a pastry. The higher protein content will help you not eat as many calories at lunch or dinner. What are you waiting for? Go, break an egg.