The Not So Simple Egg
Apr 14, 2011 09:53AM
● By Deepti Sadhwani, MD
Scientists, farmers, and food manufacturers have found ways to change the nutrient composition of eggs. In addition to the standard white and brown eggs, you can buy eggs that are cage-free or organic. Plus, you can choose ones that have increased levels of omega-fatty acids or vitamin E.
Consumers are buying eggs in record numbers-a far cry from egg consumption during the 1980s, when consumers were taught to avoid eggs and, in particular, egg yolks. There are three reasons for this recent surge in popularity. The first is current research indicating that moderate egg consumption can be part of a healthful, low-eating plan. The second reason is that we are eating more processed foods, which require eggs. And third is the popularity of both high-protein and vegetarian-based diets.
The standard egg is an economical source of nutrition. Eggs contain 13 vitamins and minerals, including zinc, iron, folate, vitamins, E, and B complex-all this for only 75 calories! Egg protein is of such high quality that it is the standard reference for comparing the protein content of other foods. Current nutrient analyses suggest that the cholesterol content of an average egg is about 213-220 mg, rather than the previously estimated 274 mg. All of this cholesterol is contained in the yolk part of the egg.
During the past several years, scientists and egg producers have joined together to produce specialty or so-called “designer eggs”. According to the Egg Nutrition Center, an industry research group, these specialty eggs account for a growing percentage of market sales.
One such egg is the high omega-3 egg. Hens are fed special oil that accumulates in the egg yolk, increasing the omega 3-fatty acids, while decreasing the saturated fat. Retail omega 3-fatty acid eggs contain three to four times the content of the standard egg. Egg substitutes are another type of specialty egg. These liquid egg products are cholesterol –free, because they’re made from only egg whites.
One research study from the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that healthy people who ate up to seven eggs a week were no more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who ate fewer eggs. The study tracked more than 37, 000 healthy men aged 40 to 75 and 80,000 healthy women aged 34-59 for more than a decade.
The American Heart Association continues to recommend that people limit their cholesterol intake to 300 mg per day, and their whole egg consumption to 3-4 per week.
Deepti Sadhwani, M.D. is located at Quality Health Care in Sebastian. She specializes in fighting obesity, aging and helping people reduce and eliminate the need for medication. For more information call Dr. Sadhwani at 772-581-2373.