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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Eggs- you can enjoy them again



Eggs, who doesn’t like eggs?  Hard-boiled, egg salad sandwiches, scrambled, so many ways to enjoy eggs for breakfast and lunch.   But for years, eggs have gotten a bad wrap.  Many people avoid eggs or eat them sparingly because of the cholesterol scare.  And for years, the American Heart Association recommended limiting our egg consumption. But newer research says we can enjoy eggs once again.

What about eggs and cholesterol?
New research has not found a link between egg consumption and heart disease, even among men at genetic risk for heart disease.  It seems high blood cholesterol levels are more linked to the saturated fat in meats rather than the cholesterol in eggs.  In one Finnish study, over 1,000 men were followed for 21 years.  They found egg consumption and dietary cholesterol did not significantly increase risk of heart disease.  But they didn’t over consume eggs either, about one egg a day.    

How many eggs?
Some nutrition experts say you can enjoy from 5-7 eggs a week.  Keri Gans, R. D. states,For the average person, two eggs a day is totally fine.”  Another source states, “… recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it.”


Enjoy the eggs but still limit the saturated fat from some sides
Too often eggs are accompanied with bacon, sausage and hash browns.  Bacon and sausage are high in fat and in saturated fat.  Hash browns are high in fat.  Enjoy the eggs, but limit the sides or enjoy healthier sides, such as whole wheat toast.  Limit bacon to one to two slices and occasionally.

What do the Dietary Guidelines  say?
These government guidelines provide us “rules for eating” and how we can eat healthier.  The old Dietary Guidelines told us to limit our cholesterol to 300 mg a day, or about 2 eggs a day.  The latest round of Dietary Guidelines takes away the limit of 300 mg of cholesterol and even notes that eggs are good sources of protein and are nutrient rich. 

Why eat eggs?
  • Protein – eggs are not only a great protein source (6 grams protein per egg), but egg protein is a very high quality protein.
  • Nutrients – eggs, especially the yolk are rich in many vitamins and minerals and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Low cost – eggs are low in cost, about 25 cents an egg depending on brand.
  • Calories – eggs are low in calories

What do Nutritionists say?
Ruth Kava, director of nutrition for the American Council on Science and Health told WebMD:  “I am very happy with eggs.  Eggs have a high nutritional value, an excellent quality of protein, are only 70-80 calories each, and are not high in fat.”

So, enjoy some eggs this week.  For scrambled eggs, add some cheese to increase the protein and the calcium level.  Or make some egg frittatas with diced onion, green and red pepper.  Add some fresh cut up spinach leaves to boost vitamin A and folic acid.  An easy egg frittata muffin recipe has some chopped zucchini, red pepper and red onion. As noted in the recipe, you can make them ahead and then microwave in the oven for a quick snack or a quick breakfast.   They offer a lighter version with reduced fat-cheese for those interested in lowering the calories and the fat.



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