Eggs have long been a subject of debate amongst health
experts and consumers. Some people will tell you not to eat them at all, while
others will swear they're a miracle food. When it comes to eggs and your
health, the number one thing people are concerned about is the high amount of
cholesterol in eggs. But is that cholesterol really bad for you? And, if so,
just how much is too much?
Egg Nutrients and Benefits
Although eggs often get a bad rap, they are, in fact, a very
nutritious food. Not all of the fat(s) in eggs is bad for you, but eggs contain
some healthy unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a high quality source of protein,
and the protein in them has a high biological value (BV), which means it's easy
for your body to digest and use. In fact, eggs have a higher BV than any other
source of protein. Lastly, eggs are full of essential vitamins and minerals,
such as B12, choline, and calcium.
Yolks vs. Whites
It is important to understand the difference between the
white of an egg and the yolk. An egg white contains roughly half of the protein
and trace amounts of other nutrients, but virtually none of the fat and
cholesterol. An egg yolk also contains about half of the protein and the bulk
of the other nutrients, but virtually all of the fat and cholesterol. Egg yolks
are also higher in calories. This is why some people choose to discard the
yolks and only eat the whites.
A large egg contains approximately 211 mg of cholesterol,
which accounts for 70% of your daily value. This is a large amount and should
be taken into consideration for those who have or are at risk for high LDL
cholesterol. For those who have healthy cholesterol levles, according to Dr.
Clare Collins, eggs do not have a big effect on your LDL (bad) cholesterol as
long as the rest of your diet is low in saturated fat. The key is moderation
and a balanced, healthy diet.
Consuming approximately six eggs per week is a safe range,
but it's not recommended to eat more than two whole eggs per day, maximum. If
you want to eat more eggs for the extra protein, just eat the whites. You can
actually mix one yolk with a few whites to retain the healthy vitamins,
minerals and fatty acids while increasing the amount of protein without any extra
fat or cholesterol.