The incredible egg....Part 2
Updated: Feb 1
What would we do without the egg? It's a dietary mainstay, not only for breakfast but to feed finicky kids, stand in for a quick lunch or supper, blend raw into holiday eggnogs, and as an ingredient in all kinds of sweet and savory dishes.
But for a few decades there, eggs had a rather unwholesome reputation. Thanks to its high cholesterol content, the egg was deemed villainous. Years went by while many of us shunned eggs, ate only the whites, or ventured into the world of egg substitutes.
Then, in 2000, the American Heart Association (AHA) revised its dietary guidelines and gave healthy adults the green light to enjoy eggs once again. The AHA's guidelines now allow an egg a day for healthy adults while still advising a total daily cholesterol limit of 300 mg.
The confusion over eggs stems from their cholesterol content. One large egg contains 213 mg of cholesterol, accounting for two-thirds of the recommended daily limit.
When scientists learned that high blood cholesterol was associated with heart disease,, foods high in cholesterol logically became suspect. But after 25 years of study, it has become evident that cholesterol in food is not the culprit -- saturated fat has a much bigger effect on blood cholesterol. Full-fat dairy products and fatty meats are examples of foods that are loaded with saturated fat and which trigger the body to produce cholesterol.
With science on our side, we can once again enjoy the wonderfully nutritious egg. Along with milk, eggs contain the highest biological value (or gold standard) for protein. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, one whole large egg provides 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.
The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults. And brain development and memory may be enhanced by the choline content of eggs.
Another good reason to eat eggs is that they help keep you feeling full. An egg, a few slices of whole-grain toast, and half a grapefruit is a low-calorie breakfast that will keep you satisfied until lunch. As you face the challenge of losing weight, it's important to eat foods that are naturally nutrient-rich and stave off hunger between meals. The egg is an "eggcellent" example.
One egg is the equivalent, for protein, of 1 oz. of red meat. Most of an egg's protein is in the white portion while the cholesterol is found in the egg yolk. Despite their cholesterol content, egg yolks also come packed with vitamins and minerals.
Egg protein serves as a standard protein source. In fact, it's such a great source that it sets the standard to which other protein sources are compared. Egg-white protein is referred to as egg albumin and is often used by athletes and bodybuilders in powdered supplement form. So go ahead and eat an egg.
Next we will talk about how the egg is used in cooking and in kitchens worldwide.
Trivia: How many ways are there to cook an egg?