Author: Dr. Gary Huber, DO
Eggs are GOOD for you!! Eggs are NOT associated with risk for heart disease and in fact will aid your efforts to lose weight and reduce your risk for diabetes.
In the 80’s and 90’s, low fat diets were being force fed to the American public despite there being little solid evidence that they were healthy. The American Heart Association was in fact telling people to eat sugar, jams, syrup and low fat cookies in order to avoid eating fat. You were there to witness this, and what did you see happen? We got FAT! Diabetes rose through the roof. Millions of Americans ended up with belly fat, bad cholesterol profiles and more excess weight than they could imagine. This initiated an all-out cholesterol-phobia and villainized all fats despite the presence of good research showing that healthy fats from animal sources were safe while the true devil was vegetable oils as these are artificial and hydrogenated leading to trans fats and other man-made evils. Saturated fats have never been the problem despite certain political and medical groups selling that bag of bad science as fact.
Instead of promoting higher protein, nutrient-rich foods such as eggs, these diets ostracized these nutritional wonders and prohibited them from the diet. Current research, however, is giving the egg another chance. Lower carbohydrate diets which include and in fact promote healthy fats are proving themselves to be the old truth and present guiding light. Eggs, it seems are not the villain and in fact, are more beneficial than we ever imagined. Cholesterol found in eggs is actually beneficial to our bodies and is crucial in the production of hormones and a key component of cell membranes as well.
Our liver produces 1000 mg of cholesterol every day, which is then used to make hormones that serve us in many capacities. Eggs offer approximately 213 mg of cholesterol but also add 30 mg of good omega 3 essential fat. Range free eggs offer as much as 20 times more omega 3 fats than regular eggs. Most if not all of the cholesterol found in eggs is found in the yolk but contrary to popular belief, you need not discard this part of the egg. Studies have shown benefit from consuming the whole egg. The Journal of Nutrition and Biochemistry in January 2008 showed that mice fed egg yolk (0.8gm/kg per day) for 3 months had a reduction in triglycerides and with no increase in cholesterol. The Journal of Nutrition in January of 2008 fed 3 eggs per day to 28 obese and overweight men who were instructed to follow a low carbohydrate diet. The results showed a slight decrease in triglycerides and an increase in HDL which is the “good fat”. These type of changes predict reduction in heart disease. A study completed in 2007 at Louisiana State University showed that eating eggs for breakfast enhanced weight loss by increasing feelings of satiety (fullness) therefore reducing the need for empty calories as the day wore on. A landmark study at the Harvard School of Public Health found that eating more than one egg per day did not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Another study performed at Michigan State in 2000 found serum cholesterol to be lower in people who ate more than 4 eggs per week compared to those that ate no eggs at all. And in 2013 a study of people eating 3 eggs every day showed improvement in their cholesterol levels and it lowered risk for diabetes.
It is important to understand that tendency to gain and retain cholesterol and triglycerides in unhealthy amounts is directly correlated with your ability to process glucose and avoid insulin rise. The consumption of processed food which contains high fructose corn syrup will halt your ability to burn fat and in fact trigger your liver to start producing fat and cholesterol. Eating grains like bread and crackers turn to sugar in a heart beat and result in the same ill effect, rising insulin and the inability to burn fat. This reaction is largely responsible for Americans tendency toward high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Your body is pretty smart and is able to sense cholesterol intake and regulate how much is absorbed, how much is made and how much is excreted. You are far more complex than a simple cholesterol bucket.
So have an egg and enjoy it. Benefit from its highly bioavailable protein and smile with the knowledge that your insulin and blood sugar are better controlled because of it. Eating eggs in the morning has far more benefit to offer than consumption of a highly processed cereal that will absolutely elevate your insulin level.
Eggs have long been considered “brain food” as they have a high amount of choline in the yolk which is key for the body to make the memory molecule, acetylcholine. The presence of acetylcholine in the hippocampus of the brain is critical for good memory. The yolk is also the source of most of the valuable vitamin A and other nutrients that we derive from eggs. So, if you have not been convinced to eat your yolks with confidence then please do me a favor and don’t discard them into the trash. Save them up and bring those valuable little golden orbs to me and I will put them to good use.
Have a sunny side up day and stay tunes for more articles dispelling the myths of fat as I review the book, “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz. MOST of what you think you know about fats is just plain wrong and these myths could be damaging your health and longevity.