• Geese-A-Layin’: Should You Eat the Eggs?

    A long, long time ago, eggs were a food to avoid. However, for many years health professionals have known that taboo wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Eggs aren’t the demons they were once thought. And, they have not been touted as such for a while. Yet, this attack on eggs just doesn’t want to go the way of shoulder pads and big hair.

    Calories and Protein

    A large egg has 75 calories and 6 grams of protein. Eggs are one the of the best protein sources since it is a complete protein and easily digested. The egg white is about 20 calories and 3.5 grams of protein. Egg yolks are about 55 calories and 2.5 grams of protein.

    Fat and Cholesterol

    A large egg has 5 grams of total fat of which 1.5 grams are saturated (the kind of fat that increases the risk of heart disease). The rest of the fat, 3.5 grams are unsaturated, which are the healthy fats. This makes the egg about 30% saturated fat and 70% unsaturated fats. Really not a bad profile at all.

    The cholesterol content of one egg is about 200 mg. This is what was once thought to make eggs so unhealthy. Today, we now know that cholesterol in our food isn’t the culprit it was once thought to be. Even the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans don’t even have the recommendation to limit cholesterol anymore.

     


    Versatile Food

    While I’m not suggesting the 3-egg omelet every day, I do suggest that the fear of eggs is over-blown. Eggs are ok, and make a great breakfast, snack, or dinner. One or two eggs (or one whole egg and an added egg white) are fine for breakfast with some fruit and toast. A hard-boiled egg makes a great snack or accompaniment to lunch. And if you aren’t sure what to have for dinner, a veggie omelet is perfect. However, I don’t suggest doing this all in one day.

    Make Them Yourself

    Making your eggs yourself is much better than having them at a restaurant. Most people don’t realize that restaurants add fat, a LOT of fat, in the form of butter or oil, in the cooking process. You can ask for the eggs without added fat, but many people don’t remember to do so. If you choose an egg dish as a restaurant, remember there is a high likelihood of much higher calories.

    Food Poisoning

    We still have a risk of getting food poisoning from undercooked eggs. Salmonella is the culprit and even washed eggs can still cause problems since the salmonella can be inside the egg

    For the most part, the risk of salmonella being in an egg is rare: about 1 per 20,000 eggs. The risk increases with poor refrigeration, cross-contamination, or poor quality control at the farm. The problem is we never know which one egg is contaminated, so we must treat them as if they all are contaminated.

    If you need to use raw eggs in a recipe where they are not eventually cooked, you can buy pasteurized eggs, which don’t have the risk of contamination in humans.

    Bottom line: enjoy eggs; don’t worry that eating them is harmful to your health; risk of food poisoning is real but rare.

    Finally:  Egg-laying hens (in the United States) are prohibited from receiving added hormones (they do have hormones already because they are hens and they are laying eggs – kind of a requirement. Therefore the term “no hormones added” cannot be displayed unless it is followed by “federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

    How do you like your eggs?

    Five Golden Rings,

    Four Calling Birds,

    Three French Hens,

    Two Turtle Doves,

    and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.