Cracking Down on Egg Myths
Thursday, March 23, 2023
From individuals selling eggs hatched in backyard coops to massive poultry operations with hundreds of farms and millions of chickens, eggs are big business. According to the American Egg Board, in 2022, consumption of eggs in the United States was estimated at 278 per person. This figure was projected to reach 289 eggs per person in 2023.
All the more reason to dispel some of the myths surrounding these compact-sized nutrient powerhouses. We’ll start with two of the biggest misconceptions about eggs.
Myth 1: Eggs are high in cholesterol
This myth has been around for years. In 1999, the Harvard School of Public Health reported no relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease or stroke in a multi-year study of female nurses. In 2020, they updated the study with 32 years of follow-up data, reporting that regularly consuming eggs is safe, even for those at risk for heart disease. The strongest influence on our blood cholesterol levels is how much saturated and trans fats (the 'bad' fats) we eat rather than the cholesterol in foods.
Myth #2: Egg whites are healthier
You’ll find the option to substitute egg whites for whole eggs on many breakfast menus. Without the yolk, however, an egg is missing almost all its fat- and water-soluble vitamins and nutrients. Eggs contain many healthy nutrients: lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for the eyes; choline, which is good for the brain and nerves; and various vitamins (A, B, and D). In fact, just one large egg contains 270 international units (IU) of vitamin A and 41 IU of vitamin D. The yolk also contains nearly half of an egg’s protein, the nutrient that keeps you more satisfied throughout the day and less likely to overeat later.
The real villains
It's the foods that accompany egg dishes (like omelets) that give eggs a bad rap. Bacon (processed meat), pancakes (white flour and sugary syrups), hash browns (deep frying), and even toast with butter contain more sugar, fat and calories and less protein and fiber than whole eggs. A study conducted by the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy reported that eggs are the only dietary source of cholesterol that is low in saturated fatty acid but is also nutrient-dense, economical, and affordable.
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