Eggs have long been touted as a cholesterol enhancer. You were led to believe for years that eggs are not good for only in moderation. Well let’s dispel this old wives tail once and for all.
Eggs can be high in the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid, partly because chickens are fed soy and corn rather than their natural diet. One large conventional egg, to be exact, contains a woefully imbalanced 574 mg of omega-6s and 37 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
1 egg packs about 7 grams of very high-quality protein. While their saturated fat sometimes gets an undeserved bad rep, eggs actually provide a balance of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats.
Yes, the fat is all in the yolk; so are the nutrients. Among its array of nutrients, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports 1 egg yolk provides:
• 245 IUs of vitamin A • 37 IUs of vitamin D • 19 mg potassium • 25 mcg folate • 22 mg calcium
According to Dr. Jonny Bowden in his book The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, one large egg yolk also provides 300 mcg of choline, which forms betaine to help lower homocysteine (a risk factor for heart disease). Choline also helps make phosphatidylcholine to benefit your liver, nervous system, and brain.
Experts, including my friend Dr. Stephen Sinatra in his new book The Great Cholesterol Myth, have come out against the rampant anti-cholesterol mania. We now know that dietary cholesterol has almost no impact on blood cholesterol, but some people still fear this crucial molecule that helps make your sex hormones and vitamin D.
However, the problem we have today is that there are several varieties of eggs available in stores today.
Brown or white eggs
Sizes like jumbo, large, medium, small, peewee
Standard cage eggs, cage-free, free-range, organic, and specialty type eggs like omega-three fatty acid and other nutrient-added eggs
So how do you choose?
Free range – this term is essentially meaningless. Government only loosely regulates the definition of “free range,” and egg producers have jumped at the opportunity to print some new labels and charge more money in return for giving their hens occasional access to a tiny patch of dirt. According to the Department of Agriculture, egg “producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the Outside” In other words, there needs to be a door to the chicken cage, and it needs to be open part of the time, but the chickens can still eat substandard food and live in cramped conditions.
Cage Free – Even more meaningless than “free range,” this term has no legal definition. Technically, cage free hens don’t live in stifling metal cages; instead, they might still live in hot, smelly, overcrowded henhouses! Some cage free hens’ lives aren’t much qualitatively better than those who live in cages and most still aren’t getting any access to the outdoors, but they’re generally raised with better food and better treatment.
Organic – Organic is more useful and easy to pin down. Organic egg producing hens are given organic feed, no antibiotics (unless in the case of an outbreak), and limited access to the outdoors (just a door to their cage or barn, really). These are better than your average mass-produced egg, but your best bet is still to find a truly pasture-raised egg.
All Natural – This is the most useless, all-encompassing term for anything. All produce is natural. These eggs weren’t created in a lab by a team of white coats. Even the most steroid-pumped, antibiotic-immersed hens produce “natural” eggs the way nature intended: by laying them.
Omega 3 fortified – Omega-3 fortified eggs come from hens fed flax, linseed, or a direct supplement. Omega-3 fortified eggs also tend to come from organic, cage-free birds, so they’re generally better – but stick with the fish oil, too like the Chiroblend Ultra Pure Omega.
Now the only time I have found eggs to be bad for my clients is when they test high on the food allergy scale. More often then not it’s because they are eating low quality eggs from chickens that are eating a menu of GMO corn and feed. If my clients test high on this scale then I get them off of eggs for a few weeks then gradually re-introduce them back into their menu but only the organic kind.