After lots of research, I finally want to share with you some information I found about eggs.
Everyday I see my instagram feed filled with gorgeous photos of eggs oozing their yellowy golden yolks all over the plate. Captions usually boast about their health benefits and how they are nutritionally balanced. Have you ever been told that research has shown eggs don’t affect cholesterol levels? Research has also shown that eggs are great for eye health because of the zeaxanthin and lutein they contain.
But did you know that some of these studies are funded by the egg industry? The antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein in eggs are also minuscule…
This post is intended to educate and inform you about the misinformation we have previously been given about eggs.
I used to eat eggs all the time and after developing horrible stomach cramps from them a few months ago, I haven’t had any since. It was only until recently, I read a meta-analysis about egg consumption and type 2 diabetes – say what? I thought eggs were good for you!
During my days as a university student, eggs were always praised at university as ‘nature’s multivitamin.’
Unfortunately, it’s not the case anymore.
Cholesterol & Diabetes Connection
A meta-analysis of studies, published in 2001, shows that eating just one egg per day or more increases a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 42%. Among diabetic patients, those who consumed eggs were 69% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease. The reason for this is unknown with some studies proposing the idea that dietary cholesterol might be associated with chronic, low grade-inflammation – an underlying cause for the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
There are two types of cholesterol; HDL (good) & LDL (bad). The ratio of these two are important with higher blood concentrations of HDL considered more favourable than LDL.
Back to eggs:
Eggs are studied to increase HDL levels which is fantastic! However, they increase LDL as well. The ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol is affected with the ‘bad’ outweighing the ‘good.’ The favourable HDL-cholesterol rise fails to compensate for the adverse rise in LDL-cholesterol concentrations which isn’t good as high LDL levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease. LDL cholesterol is atherogenic, meaning it contributes to atherosclerosis (plaque build up in arteries). As plaque builds up in a heart artery, over time, it can suddenly rupture – allowing blood to clot inside the artery and cause a heart attack.
The choline content of eggs is also associated with increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
One argument in favour of eggs (from the egg industry) is their carotenoid content; zeaxanthin and lutein – great for eye health and for reducing cholesterol oxidation. However, the amounts of these antioxidants found in eggs are minuscule – one spoonful of spinach contains more of these nutrients than 9 eggs!
To put it into perspective; 1 egg can have up to 250mcg of carotenoids. Compare this to a cup of kale, which has 24,000mcg.
Interestingly, the current RDI guidelines for carotenoids for eye health is around 10,000mcg daily – that’s a lot of eggs (or a little bit of kale). Most green leafy vegetables satisfy the recommended daily intakes for carotenoids in just one serving. Eggs are actually quite low in these nutrients. According to one USDA database, eggs have lower concentrations lutein and zeaxanthin than Corn Flakes!
If you liked this mini post about eggs, I’d love to hear from you! All of my writing is backed up using evidence based research so if you would like to know where my sources are from, feel free to ask. Alternatively, visit Nutritionfacts.org and watch Dr. Greger’s video’s on eggs – they’re definitely worth a watch.
Happy Friday Everyone. Have a happy and healthy week!
Love Stace x