Eggs | as healthy as they're cracked up to be?
May 14, 2018
With Easter just around the corner, there's a lot of talk about eggs! Are they good for us? Are they really bad for us? Let's get to the bottom of it!
In August 2012, Cardiologist Dr. David Spence completed a study at University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, in which he claims the cholesterol found in an egg's yolk is almost as dangerous as smoking. His study found egg consumption accelerates atherosclerosis
, or plaque build-up, on arteries, and says the culprit is the cholesterol found in the yolk – 237mgs in a jumbo egg. If you delve into the research further, you will note that the mean age of the 1000 people in the study was 61.5,1
it wasn't a controlled experiment and the study was done on his current patients.
With an active lifestyle, there is no need to fear eating eggs.
We have decades of clinical research demonstrating no link between egg consumption and an increased risk of heart disease!
Despite popular belief, eggs are actually a low-calorie food – about 80 calories each. The yolk of an egg contains a considerable amount of cholesterol and lipids, yet cholesterol build-up in arteries actually begins with arterial wall damage. As your body repairs arterial wall damage, it eventually leads to a waxy build-up — usually due to high blood sugar, not the consumption of cholesterol itself.
I have eaten 4 - 6 eggs a week for as long as I can remember, and according to my last medical check-up, my cholesterol was perfect.
The danger is not the cholesterol itself; the danger is the cooking method.
When you fry an egg, you oxidize the cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is the real culprit for causing heart disease. It's best to poach or soft-boil eggs to protect the delicate cholesterol from damage.
It is also important to eat eggs from organically-raised chickens. When a bird has a happy life of eating flax seeds and seedlings from the grass, it has lower amounts of the Omega-6 fat (called Arachidonic acid) that can trigger inflammation.2
Some studies show that eggs may actually benefit you if you have high cholesterol, due to its Omega fats, protein and antioxidants.3
Eggs also contain high amounts of lecithin, which blocks cholesterol in the egg and stops intestinal absorption, keeping it out of your bloodstream.4
Eggs should be avoided if you suffer from gallbladder issues.
Cholesterol forms crystals in your gallbladder which, in turn, may become gallstones. Symptoms include pain in your upper right abdomen, gas, nausea, abdominal discomfort after meals, chronic diarrhea or constipation an fatigue after rich meals. Clinical research has shown that eggs can cause gallstone attacks after consumption, making eggs one of the major foods that should be avoided if you have gallstone disease.
Is there a nutritional difference between brown eggs and white eggs?
No! The colour of the hen determines the colour of the egg. Brown-feathered hens with red lobes lay brown eggs, and white-feathered hens with white lobes lay white eggs. The American Egg Board says there is no conclusive research that one colour is nutritionally better than the other.
Five Egg-cellent Facts
1. Eggs can prevent macular degeneration.
Eggs contain the antioxidants lutein
, which prevent free-radical damage to your eyes as you age. These are the same antioxidants that prevent damage to your arteries from free radicals.5
2. Egg yolks have Vitamin D.
Consuming enough Vitamin D during pregnancy could decrease a child’s chances of developing multiple sclerosis as an adult, so make sure you eat the whole egg.6
3. Eggs help keep your appetite in check.
Eggs are high in the amino acid, tryptophan
, which is used to synthesize serotonin (feel-good hormone) in your brain and induce the feeling of satiety
, leading to lower calorie consumption.7
4. Eggs are high in antioxidants.
Eggs have a lot of selenium, which is used to create one of your body's most powerful antioxidants : superoxide dismutase
(SOD). Selenium is also fortified into feed to boost hens' immunity and increase the selenium content of their eggs.8
5. Eggs are rich in brain-building choline.
Eggs are high in choline
, a B vitamin shown to help reduce inflammation. In a 2010 study, subjects with a diet deficient in choline typically had 20-percent higher levels of inflammatory cytokines
, meaning that they experienced increased inflammation and pain.9
Are all eggs created equal? What do egg labels mean?
Conventional eggs often don't have their harvesting practices labelled, and are usually the least expensive. In conventional systems, four hens are typically housed in two-square-foot battery cages
, in barns containing thousands of birds. This makes them prone to injury and infection, so they receive antibiotics daily, as well as hormones to increase egg production. Their feed is unregulated, so they're often fed leftover animal by-products mixed with grain. Battery cages are banned in the EU
and are often the subject of animal-rights debates.
Free-run hens are not confined to life in a cage; they're allowed to roam the floor of the barn. They are still densely packed into these barns with no required outdoor access. Free-run hens eat the same feed as conventionally raised hens, and are given antibiotics and hormones.
Free-range hens must have access to the outdoors for the majority of the year, with a roost area for resting. Their feed can't contain antibiotics or hormones, and the roosts must have at least two square feet per hen. The government does not regulate free-range egg farms, so you must trust the farmers. Some farmers call these eggs “antibiotic-free" or "naturally-raised.”
Pastured hens are kept in cages with at least two square feet per hen. The structure containing the hens is moved to different areas of the grass daily so the hens can forage for at least 20 percent of their food. They are also not allowed to be fed antibiotics or hormones in their supplemental feed.
Hens must be raised from birth on organic feed that contain no hormones, pesticides or genetically modified organisms. They must have outdoor access year-round; when they are kept inside, they must be fed organic sprouted grains. They must also be allocated at least two square feet of floor space per bird.
Baking substitutes for egg allergies & intolerances
Any food you are allergic to becomes inflammatory. You may want to consider food sensitivity testing for eggs to understand your body's connection to eggs. Need help with your favourite recipe?
Possible substitutions for one egg
• 1/2 of a medium banana, mashed
• 1/4 cup of applesauce (or other puréed fruit)
• 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp warm water; let stand 1 minute before using
Another allergy option... try eggs from other birds!
You could develop an allergy to chicken eggs and still tolerate eggs from exotic birds very well. Quail, duck, ostrich and emu eggs are becoming more popular at Farmers Markets and are often grown on small farms where the birds eat better and, therefore, supply healthier eggs. A good example, that's easy-to-find in Farmers Markets and Asian supermarkets, is quail eggs. Quail eggs contain 140% of Vitamin B1, compared to only 50% in chicken eggs. Vitamin B1 (aka Thiamine) deficiency can cause optic neuropathology, a condition called Beriberi (involving neurological, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems), malaise, weight loss, irritability and confusion. Quail eggs are also higher iron and potassium. Iron is essential in binding to protein and carrying oxygen in the blood. Low potassium intake can present in the form of muscle weakness, muscle cramps and/or constipation.
- Jason Winders: “Research finds egg yolks almost as bad as smoking.” Western News, August 13, 2012
- DrDoc Online: “The Arachidonic Acid Pathway.”
- Valentine Njike1, Zubaida Faridi1, Suparna Dutta3, Anjelica L Gonzalez-Simon4 and David L Katz: “Daily egg consumption in hyperlipidemic adults - Effects on endothelial function and cardiovascular risk.” Njike et al. Nutrition Journal 2010
- Sung I. Koo, Marcia Molina: “Why Eggs Don't Contribute Much Cholesterol To Diet.” Daily University Science News 29-Oct-2001
- Vishwanathan R, Goodrow-Kotyla EF, Wooten BR, Wilson TA, Nicolosi RJ: “Consumption of 2 and 4 egg yolks/d for 5 wk increases macular pigment concentrations in older adults with low macular pigment taking cholesterol-lowering statins.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1272-9. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28013. Epub 2009 Sep 16.
- Athol Kent: “Multiple Sclerosis and Vitamin D.” Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Summer; 3(3): 141. PMCID: PMC3046757
- “Eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects treated with 5-hydroxytryptophan.” Am J Clin Nutr 1992 56: 5 863-7
- Utterback PL1, Parsons CM, Yoon I, Butler J: “Effect of supplementing selenium yeast in diets of laying hens on egg selenium content.” Poult Sci. 2005 Dec;84(12):1900-1.
- Yong-ping Mu, Tomohiro Ogawa and Norifumi Kawada: “Reversibility of fibrosis, inflammation, and endoplasmic reticulum stress in the liver of rats fed a methionine–choline-deficient diet.” Laboratory Investigation (2010) 90, 245–256
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