I get asked all the time whether eggs are a good choice for weight loss, cholesterol, and health. As you all know, the research on eggs seems to change on a weekly basis, but there are some good basics that are important to know when making your decision.
- Eating cholesterol (which is high in eggs) is not the enemy. When we restrict cholesterol, it just causes our bodies to over-produce it anyway. Allowing ourselves to eat cholesterol rich foods can actually have great benefit to the brain as well as the brain is made up of 70% fat. For more fantastic information on cholesterol, I would highly recommend that anyone read The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra.
- Eggs are one of nature’s perfect foods, containing all the vitamins and nutrient necessary to create a WHOLE CHICKEN.
- Eggs actually help change LDL cholesterol particle size. New research is emerging that the size of our LDL (bad cholesterol) particles is more important than the total LDL number. Small, dense particles are more likely to get stuck in the arteries and form plaque, while larger particles are more likely to bounce off. Eggs actually help change small particles to large ones!
- Eating pasture raised eggs helps to decrease triglyceride levels. Pasture raised eggs are high in omega 3’s which is key to brain and heart health as well.
- Eggs score high on a scale called the satiety index. This measures the ability of foods to induce feelings of fullness and reduce subsequent calorie intake. In one study of 30 overweight women, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and made them eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours. That is a far-reaching consequence just from switching your breakfast!
The above reasons are not an exhaustive list, but provide a great argument for the consumption of eggs. When buying eggs, always look for local, pasture raised eggs first. If you don’t live near a farm, buying organic, free range eggs at the grocery store will also give you great benefit. Making sure they are free range or cage free will ensure that the eggs are high in omega 3’s.
Now that we have made the argument for eggs, is there ever a reason to eat egg whites instead? Yes. For about 30% of people, eating eggs will raise cholesterol levels. Though it is changing the particle size to one that is healthier, many individuals are afraid of even a small increase in number, so eating egg whites might be a better option for these people. Also, as calories are important (though not the only factor in weight loss by any stretch), egg whites are a great addition to a morning omelet to provide additional protein and bulk without as many calories. With my clients, I recommend a balance of both. Some people are more sensitive to diet changes than others, so it is important to make changes carefully and monitor results with your own body composition.
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- If you are not already, switch to free range/cage free organic eggs.
- If you are eating a diet of all whites for breakfast, try adding in just a few whole eggs per week to see how your body feels. Eggs are an amazing protein source, and you may find that adding some yolks into your diet increases your satiety.