If you are not an egg lover or a vegan, just stop reading now. However, if you absolutely love eggs but have been scared by pseudoscience about eating them, sit down, get comfy, and let me learn ya a tasty lesson.
Poor eggs, much like their distant cousin butter, have received an unjustified bad rap. Think about it, scientists and doctors over the years have been systematically ruining the “All American Breakfast”, demonizing bacon, eggs, bread, and butter. They’ve left us with empty plates and tears in our eyes, holding cold containers of plain yogurt. But when you think back to how the generations before us were eating the “All American Breakfast” and didn’t experience the insane levels of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that we do now, things just don’t quite seem to add up…
Why the Bad Rap?
The whole “eggs are evil” mantra began because of this jerk:
Nikolai Anichkov, a crazy Russian who apparently hated the taste of eggs, came to the conclusion that eggs were harmful after force-feeding innocent rabbits pure cholesterol and documenting the build up of plaque in their arteries. This study had a couple issues:
- Claiming eggs are bad on the basis that a specific nutrient that was extracted and then fed only to a non-human test subject isn’t correct. That’s like claiming all fruit is bad for you because sugar alone has been shown to raise glucose levels, ignoring the fact that the fiber in the fruit (the very thing that slows how your body digests the sugar) and all the antioxidants/vitamins were stripped out.
- A rabbit’s diet is not similar at all to humans and they never consume cholesterol. Another analogy to that would be like feeding a carnivore vegetables and grains, the very thing their bodies aren’t built to process, and coming to the conclusion that vegetables/grains are harmful to the human body because they’re harmful to carnivores. Pffft!
So you combine ole’ Nikolai’s research with the “ZOMG gotta count calories” craze, and the result is people shunning eggs completely, or recommending you only eat my most hated version: Egg whites. Those flavorless, squishy, whitish-grey blobs of gross goop. Just a tip, if your animal product comes out of a container with a screw top…it’s probably not good for ya… Thanks a lot Nikolai!
The problem is that most research referenced by doctor’s stating that, “cholesterol is bad for you m’kay”, comes from antiquated, poorly conducted studies. Thankfully, more and more well-researched modern studies are coming out and proving them wrong. The new studies (actually performed on humans) are finding the following:
- Dietary cholesterol has hardly any effect on the cholesterol levels in our bodies, certainly not enough to harm us. In fact, our bodies produce more cholesterol on their own than what we consume from our food.
- A study of 80,000 nurses who consumed an egg per day showed no higher risk of coronary heart disease than those who didn’t.
- Less than a third of the population are called, “hyperresponders”, meaning that when they eat cholesterol, both their HDL (good) and LDL (bad) levels go up equally. But even for that group the levels are not raised drastically and the ratio of good vs. bad cholesterol does not change.
And if you don’t believe me about these new studies, believe the American Heart Association, who gave eggs the green light in the year 2000 (this link is not a boring article, it’s one of my fave skits from Conan) for regular consumption. Take that Nikolai!
Why Defend Eggs?
Duh, cuz they’re tasty! Also because eggs are an amazing source of nutrition, but only when the most delicious part, the yokes, are included. Some of the awesome nutrients whole eggs contain are:
- Vitamin A, D, E, K, and B12
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin
However, when you remove the yolk, choosing to eat watery egg whites, you miss out on:
- 96-100% of Vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12
- 99% of the fat (No, this isn’t a good thing)
- 95% of the Folate
- 47% of the Protein
- 60% of the Selenium
- 94% of the Iron
Why would you want to deprive yourself of flavor AND nutrients just because of some old Russian dude?
On top of all the nutrients, the amount of protein and healthy fat in eggs keeps you full. Numerous studies have shown that when a person eats eggs for breakfast, they actually eat less throughout the day. That’s some yummy weight loss folks!
So raise your eggshells and toast with me (Hah! Get it? Toast?)! Here’s to health and here’s to a happier pallet! Down with the egg white terror!
I am not sorry if this song gets stuck in your head ALL day.