Eggs – One Of The Healthiest Foods You Can Eat

Eggs have got a bit of a bad reputation in the past – not only because industrially produced eggs are infected with bacteria, including salmonella.  But also because they are high in fat and cholesterol.  We are told to limit our consumption of eggs, or to eat only the protein rich egg-whites in order to not gain weight and to keep the cholesterol levels in our blood to within acceptable levels.

The thing is, we don’t need to do this.  While 1 egg contains a large amount of cholesterol compared to other foods (212mg in 1 large egg), dietary cholesterol does not affect our blood cholesterol levels – if we don’t consume enough in our diet, our livers will simply make more.

And consuming eggs will actually improve your blood cholesterol profile.  They will increase the levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol while limiting the “bad” LDL cholesterol to a large “fluffy” subtype that is not associated with heart disease (1, 2, 3, 4).

Not only that, eggs are simply packed with nutrients that our bodies need.

They are full of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.  They also contain choline which is vital for healthy brain function (5).

1 egg will provide you with the following (6):

  • Protein – 6g
  • Fat – 5g
  • Vitamin A – 6% RDA
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)  – 2%RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 15% RDA
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) – 7% RDA
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – 3% RDA
  • Vitamin B12 – 9% RDA
  • Choline 113mg
  • Vitamin E – 3% RDA
  • Folic acid  – 5% RDA
  • Calcium – 2% RDA
  • Iron – 3% RDA
  • Magnesium – 1% RDA
  • Phosphorus – 9% RDA
  • Potassium – 2% RDA
  • Zinc – 4% RDA
  • Selenium – 22% RDA

And all with only 77 calories and minimal amounts of carbs.  Most of the nutrients with the exception of protein are found in the yolks, meaning that if you are eating only the egg whites you are missing out on most of the nutritional benefits of all these vitamins and minerals.

Eggs also measure highly on the satiety index.  This means that they are very effective at satisfying hunger, make you feel full and stay full for longer.  And as a result, you will eat less.  There have been numerous studies that have shown that eating eggs for breakfast leads to weight loss (7, 8).

One thing to remember is that not all eggs are the same.  The vast majority of egg-laying hens are confined in small cages and lead incredibly unhealthy lives.  They are fed a grain based feed that alters the EFA (essential fatty acid) profile in an unfavorable way. And because they are caged with such a high stocking density, a large proportion of the birds will be infected with salmonella and other bacteria.  This can lead to salmonella-tainted eggs

Even eggs that claim to be free-range may not be as free-range as you think – in order to receive the designation of “free-range”, the hens just have to have access to the outdoors for part of the day.  Access is the key – they usually are raised in huge barns, with a tiny little opening to the outside.  The food and water is all in the barn, so guess where the hens stay.  And they are fed the same kind of diet as the caged birds…  one that is too high in omega 6 and too low in omega 3.

If at all possible, buy omega 3 enriched or pastured eggs as they will be laid by healthier birds and have a better omega 3 : omega 6 ratio.

So there you have it – eggs, cheap, nutritious and very tasty.  What is not to like about them?

Another good reason to eat organic and avoid all GMO crops

Research has found a link between Glyphosphate (the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller) and human breast cancer.

This page explains… and this is a link to the original abstract.

The study, which was accepted for publication in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology last month, indicates that glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide due to its widespread use in genetically engineered agriculture, is capable of driving estrogen receptor mediated breast cancer cell proliferation in a parts per trillion concentration range.

What it essentially means is that if you eat something that is genetically engineered, or that has been grown with the use of Roundup, you stand an increased risk of getting breast cancer.  This could be a reason why breast cancer is becoming increasingly more common.

I wonder what Monsanto will say about this – with all their “Roundup ready” seeds.

As far as I am concerned, this is the best reason ever to only eat organic produce and to avoid ALL GMO crops and anything that might contain GMO ingredients, especially since most processed food manufacturers don’t have to reveal that they use GMO ingredients in their products in the USA.

More Research

A quick post about some recent nutritional research that I have found recently…

First up, seafood is still considered a good source of nutrients although consumers are confused about it’s safety.  The current recommendations are to eat two 3-5oz servings a week of seafoods such as salmon, oysters and rainbow trout but to limit consumption of the large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and king mackerel.  They don’t mention it, but I would also say to limit  consumption of farmed fish and stick to wild caught varieties as they will have a better omega-3/omega-6 ratio.

The omega-3/omega-6 issue in farmed fish is mentioned in another study.  Despite the health benefits, most children and adults have a “nutrition gap” in omega-3 fatty acids.  In part, the authors attribute this to under consumption of fish and other omega-3 containing foods.  But they also do attribute it in part to 50% or more of seafood consumed being raised in farms on diets that don’t foster a healthy omega-3/omega-6 ratio.  In other words eat more wild caught seafood.

Eating eggs is not linked to high cholesterol in adolescents.  They have found that it is not unsafe to eat more than 2 eggs a week and it does not increase the risk of heart disease….  something that us Paleo folks have been saying for ages.  They also suggest that blood cholesterol levels are more affected by saturated fat and trans fat levels.  So avoid those over processed industrially prepared foods…

High intakes of milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter were not associated with a significantly increased risk of mortality compared with low intakes.  They do say in this one that high intakes of meat, especially processed meat was associated with increased mortality – I suspect that this is due to the processed meats affecting the results.

And finally habits, not cravings, drive food choices during times of stress.  In other words, when you are stressed and reach for that chocolate bar or the carb laden comfort foods, it is not because of cravings.  It is caused by habits.  And habits CAN be broken.  It usually takes around 21 days to break a habit, the same as it does to create one.

A good reason not to use artificial sweeteners

Some more research…  this time showing that artificial sweeteners are not as good as the manufactures like to claim

“Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome—a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease and stroke. As a result, many Americans have turned to artificial sweeteners, which are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but contain few, if any, calories. However, studies in humans have shown that consumption of artificially sweetened beverages is also associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome as well as cardiovascular disease. As few as one of these drinks per day is enough to significantly increase the risk for health problems.”

If consumption of artificial sweetened beverages results in the exact same health problems that sugar sweetened beverages cause, why not drink the real sugar-sweetened ones in the first place, especially if it means that you avoid the additional problems that artificial sweeteners cause:

“Moreover, people who regularly consume artificial sweeteners show altered activation patterns in the brain’s pleasure centers in response to sweet taste, suggesting that these products may not satisfy the desire for sweets. Similarly, studies in mice and rats have shown that consumption of noncaloric sweeteners dampens physiological responses to sweet taste, causing the animals to overindulge in calorie-rich, sweet-tasting food and pack on extra pounds.”

If these artificial sweeteners do not satisfy the desire for sweet stuff, they could be one very real reason for the obesity epidemic simply because people are consuming these sweeteners, not getting the sugar hit that they are craving and then are overeating, which results in overconsumption.

The best thing would be to just try to cut down on the sugary snacks and sweet drinks in total, but if you simply cannot do that, go for the real deal…  at least it will be more satisfying and won’t lead to over-consumption the way things sweetened with artificial sweeteners will…

But seriously, if you need a fizzy drink, try plain soda water (club soda) either by itself or flavoured with a squeeze of lemon/lime juice.  It still gives you that bubbly satisfaction without all the sugar and artificial additives.  And club soda and lemon/lime juice are paleo/primal.

Fructose Consumption Causes High Cholesterol

A new study that is being published in the Journal of Nutrition has linked high fructose consumption to high cholesterol….

Hopefully this will put paid to the sugar industry’s claims that high fructose corn syrup is not harmful….