If we took a vote for the most maligned food over the last decade or two, eggs will win hands down. They have faced flak of all kind, and were painted as a cholesterol raising, heart punching devil via unceasing media reports, mostly based on baseless cues.
Eggs suffered because fat had become a foe and cholesterol the worst enemy possible of health. But thankfully all that is in the past now. Fat is no longer a demon and cholesterol from food sources has been announced perfectly safe to partake.
So eggs are out of the blue too, and considered safe to eat again.
But the fact is, eggs are more than just safe. They're a complete food and pack quite a nutritional punch. They deliver protein that builds and maintains muscles, Vitamin A, which is important for eye sight, B Vitamins, which are essential for efficient metabolism, Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, calcium that builds strong bones and teeth, phosphorus that is important for healthy bones and teeth, iron that carries oxygen to muscles, zinc that helps the body grow, selenium, another important antioxidant, and even has the rare-in-food-sources Vitamin D, which is important for the development and maintenance of healthy bones, among other things.
Busting the Myths
Thankfully it is now clear without doubt that eating eggs does not lead to rise in cholesterol levels in the body. That’s because roughly ¼ of our body's blood cholesterol comes from diet, ¾ is produced by the body and is entirely unrelated to the amount of cholesterol we eat in our diet. What this means is that while our dietary intake of cholesterol does impact our blood cholesterol levels, the impact is fairly insignificant. And how much cholesterol our body will produce and how much it will absorb is mostly genetic.
So while it is true that eggs have a lot of dietary cholesterol (about 200 mg), it does not impact dangerously our blood cholesterol levels. An egg a day should, therefore, fit easily into a normal diet.
Another myth that needs to be buried is that one should have only egg whites. The whites have about half an egg’s protein content, and almost all of its sodium, and trace amounts of other nutrients. That’s pretty much it. In fact, nutrition in albumen (egg white) is fairly pointless – particularly when contrasted with the yolk, which is loaded with the goodies.
Helps Knock the Pounds
But the most interesting news by far about eggs is the fact that eating them regularly can actually help you lose weight. Yes, that’s true ‘coz they are:
Low in Calories
The no-brainer way to lose weight is to keep a tight lid on calories. One egg delivers only between 60-80 calories, and you can actually make a decent, satisfying meal out of just two eggs and some accompanying vegetables. The math adds up pretty friendly for our weight!
High on Satiety
Eggs are loaded with protein (deliver about 6 grams), which increase a feeling of fullness and reduce appetite. In fact, an egg meal even helps reduce food intake during other meals. For example, an egg breakfast can keep you full till lunch and also ensure that you eat less calories during the rest of the day. This leads to active weight loss.
Eggs aren’t just a great way to start your day, but can be part of any of your main meals during the day.
Has Weight Loss Nutrients
Some of the nutrients that eggs pack are actually weight-loss-inducing. They are one of the best sources of choline, which is known to facilitate the digestion of fat and regulate fat metabolism in the liver, where it helps prevent excess fat accumulation. Eggs also deliver some Vitamin D and good fats which, again, helps keep our metabolism humming.
Gives a Fibre Boost
Eggs pair rather well with most vegetables, so are a great tool to boost fibre intake in your diet. Role of fibre in weight loss is well documented. Besides, all of us need to increase the amount of vegetables we eat – and eggs can help us do that.
So how about whipping up Eggs Florentine today?
Spread some spinach over the bottom of a pan and add a little water. Then season the spinach with a little salt and pepper. When spinach is hot, crack eggs on top. Salt and pepper the eggs and put a lid on. In a few minutes, the eggs will be steam-cooked. When they are almost how you like them, sprinkle cheese on top of the eggs and put the lid back on until the cheese is melted.
(Kavita Devgan is a weight management consultant, nutritionist, health columnist and author of ‘Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People’.)