Many healthy foods have been unfairly demonized in the past.
This includes coconut oil, cheese and unprocessed meat, to name a few.
But probably the worst example is the false claims about eggs, which are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
Historically, eggs have been considered unhealthy because they contain cholesterol.
A large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a lot compared to most other foods.
However, it has been shown in many studies that eggs and dietary cholesterol do not adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood.
In fact, eggs raise HDL (the good) cholesterol. They also change LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (which is bad) to large LDL, which is benign (, , ).
A new meta-analysis published in 2013 looked at 17 prospective studies on egg consumption and health. They discovered that eggs had no association with either heart disease or stroke in otherwise healthy people ().
This isn't new data. Multiple older studies have led to the same conclusion ().
Bottom Line: Despite the false claim of the past few decades, eating eggs has no association with heart disease.
Eggs are particularly rich in the two antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.
These antioxidants gather in the retina of the eye and protect against the eye diseases macular degeneration and cataracts (, , ).
In one study, supplementing with an average of 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks increased blood levels of lutein by 28-50% and zeaxanthin by 114-142% ().
Bottom Line: Eggs contain large amounts of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which dramatically lower your risk of age-related eye disorders.
Just think about it, one egg contains all the nutrients and building blocks required to grow an entire baby chicken.Eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients.
A large egg contains ():
- Only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
- Rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among others).
- One egg contains 113 mg of choline, a very important nutrient for the brain, among other things. A study revealed that 90% of Americans may not get enough choline in their diet ().
Make sure to eat the yolks, because they contain pretty much all the nutrients!
Bottom Line: Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids, are highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals and are among the best sources of choline you can get. Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
Eggs score high on a scale called the satiety index, which means that eggs are particularly capable of making you feel full and eat fewer overall calories ().
Eggs only contain trace amounts of carbohydrates, which means that they will not raise blood glucose levels.
In a study of 30 overweight or obese women that ate either a bagel or eggs for breakfast, the egg group ended up eating less during lunch, the rest of the day and for the next 36 hours ().
In another study, overweight men and women were calorie-restricted and given either a breakfast of 2 eggs (340 kcal) or an isocaloric breakfast of bagels. After 8 weeks, the egg eating group had a ():
- 61% greater reduction in BMI.
- 65% more weight loss.
- 34% greater reduction in waist circumference.
- 16% greater reduction in body fat.
Bottom Line: Eggs are a nutritious, protein-rich food with a strong impact on satiety. Studies show that eating eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.
If you need any more reasons to eat eggs, they are cheap, go with almost any food and taste awesome.
If there was any food I'd be willing to classify as a superfood, it would be eggs.