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Why You Should Eat the Whole Egg

By Kalyn Weber Jun 18, 2014

 

To eat or not to eat the chicken’s egg yolk, that is the question.

At least it’s our question. While Mr. Shakespeare may disagree, that is the question that has fueled the egg controversy for the past 10 years. Until recently, Americans were recommended to limit their consumption of eggs, particularly the fatty, cholesterol-containing egg yolks. But current research indicates that these recommendations may be outdated. Read on to find out if you should swap your egg white omelet for a fluffy yellow one.eggs

A 2013 meta-analysis of 16 studies showed that moderate egg consumption (defined as up to 1 a day) is not related to heart disease. Other studies from the past decade have had similar findings. The take away is that, if you’re a healthy individual, feel free to eat your egg a day. But hey, we said one! Daily, four-egg omelets with a mountain of bacon and sausage are still a no-no.

Heart health is important for everyone. Here is what the American Heart Association recommends for protecting your ticker.

An egg-cellent power food

Despite their demonization over the years, eggs are one of nature’s greatest power foods. In addition to being a great source of protein and micronutrients, the average egg is only 70 calories! Talk about getting the bang for your buck. And while many people believe that egg whites are the healthy party of the egg, the truth is that it is actually the yolk that contains some of the best nutrients. Below are some of the nutrients you throw away when you opt for egg whites instead of whole eggs:

Vitamin D: a fat-soluble vitamin that supports your overall health and helps you absorb calcium so can you maintain strong bones Lutein and zeaxanthin – two nutrients found in eggs that keep your eyes healthy by preventing macular degeneration Vitamin B-12:  a water-soluble vitamin that promotes healthy blood and nerve cells and prevents a type of anemia, called megaloblastic anemia, which makes you feel weak and tired Riboflavin: also known as vitamin B-2, this nutrient works with other B-vitamins to support healthy growth and red blood cell production Folic Acid: a member of the B-complex family of vitamins and a form of folate, folic acid also helps ensure adequate energy levels. Pregnant women who don’t consume enough folic acid are at risk of having babies with neural tube defects.

So where did eggs get off getting their bad rep to begin with? It all comes back to the egg yolk and cholesterol. Eggs yolks contain lots of cholesterol: 185 milligrams of cholesterol in a large egg.

Dietary cholesterol: Maybe not so bad after all?

For many years, scientists believed that consuming cholesterol in food products (like eggs) increased the cholesterol in the body and thus led to cardiovascular disease. Emerging research shows that the connection is not quite so linear. It turns out, for healthy individuals dietary cholesterol has a relatively small impact on blood cholesterol. In the egg dilemma, it seems that it is likely the fatty items that often accompany eggs (think bacon, sausage, and cheese) that are contributing to the increase in blood cholesterol. Epidemiological studies demonstrate that, after controlling for these types of confounding variables in the diet, the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease essentially disappears (except in individuals with diabetes).

But there’s a catch: as the old adage goes in nutrition, “everything in moderation.” Experts are giving the green light to eat one whole egg a day… that is still only 7 yolks per week. The research shows that eating more than that may actually increase your risk of heart failure – at least that is what was shown in one cohort study of male physicians. You can still make your four egg omelets with one-part whole egg to three-part egg whites.

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