EGGS AND FAT LOSS: SUPERFOOD OR SUPERFAT?
For the longest time, the fitness and health industries have been at odds trying to decide if eggs are a great and nutritious food for people or if it is a source of high cholesterol and heart disease.
In today’s article, we try to shed some light on what the research shows about the nutritious value of eggs, safety and health concerns, and more specifically some practical advice for our weight loss goals
Eggs are a very nutritious food. A great source of protein, with about 7 grams of protein
on a large egg, around 4.8 gr of fats and dietary cholesterol (mostly in the yolk) which we’ll discuss in this article, and lots of other nutrients both in the yolk and the whites.
The yolk, often demonized and avoided, contains:
Vitamin E: which might lower if the egg is refrigerated for a long time and is essential for our nerve and muscle health.
Leucine, and essential aminoacid
While the white, or albumen, contains:
A very varied content of proteins
An egg is also a good source of iron, folate, vitamins A, E, D, and B12, and selenium, which, when paired with vitamin E, functions as an antioxidant.
And all of this in a small package with only 70-80 kcal
EGGS AND CHOLESTEROL
But why then a portion of food that seems to have all these nutritious elements can be deemed unhealthy? The answer is in its dietary cholesterol content, more specifically the yolk’s lipid content which most people like to avoid claiming it leads to weight gain and heart disease.
To really understand what’s going on, let’s first define what cholesterol is: it is a fatty substance that is present in the cellular wall of every cell in our body. It serves many functions in our body like aiding in the production and balance of steroidal hormones: testosterone, ADH, cortisol, etc. And many other functions.
It is carried in our blood by two kinds of proteins LDL (known as the “bad cholesterol”) and HDL (the “good cholesterol)
Many people believe that due to their dietary cholesterol and lipid content eggs have the potential to raise cholesterol levels in the blood, especially LDL levels. However recent studies (if interested you can find them here, here, here, and here) have shown that it is in fact not the case for most healthy people, and it should not be a concern to eat whole eggs as part of your regular diet.
Having said that, there are some studies that show that some populations might be at risk of increasing blood cholesterol levels if consuming eggs regularly such as diabetics, or people with already high blood lipids and high cholesterol,
But it’s important to mention that even in these populations the risk of cardiac complications is not higher than for people who don’t consume eggs, mainly due to a simultaneous surge in HDL (the “good cholesterol”) when LDL raises in hyperlipidemic or diabetic populations.
RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
There have been several studies that found no association between egg consumption and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease, and no increase in the risk of stroke or coronary artery disease.
Even in the diabetic population, there was not an increase in cardiovascular risk factors, this is true even for a consumption of 2 eggs 6 times a week, actually showing an improvement in inflammation markers, insulin sensitivity, and lipid profiles.
It can also carry all the benefits of a high protein diet and losing weight.
EGGS FOR WEIGHT LOSS
In fact, a comparison between an egg breakfast and a different kind of the same caloric content showed a 61% greater reduction in weight and BMI for participants of an 8-week study. It has also shown improvements in blood lipid and glucose profiles as part of an energy-restricted high-protein diet.
So including them as a protein source on a calorie-restricted diet can be a powerful tool to achieve our weight loss and health goals.
So with all this information, here are our key takeaways to include eggs in your diet to support your weight goals:
But not only the whites, the yolks also have a great diversity of nutrients good for your health.
Cholesterol happens to be one of the most important nutrients in our bodies. It's part of every cell membrane, it's a requirement for growth, and it's required for the production and regulation of many hormones.
Different types of eggs contain different nutrients. Duck eggs, for example, have a higher protein content than chicken eggs. So having a lot of variety in your diet will definitely help.
Always track your results, symptoms, and how you feel with a particular diet or meal plan to know if something is doing you good or bad, and adjust accordingly, always keeping a critical mind to your observations.
Remember that consistency is key and having a meal plan you enjoy grants better results. Eggs are delicious and so you can include them in your diet safely and reap amazing results.