By: Nutrition expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.
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Eggs are a convenient, affordable and nutritious source of key macro and micronutrients. They are an integral and established part of breakfast in numerous cultures and may be eaten safely on a regular basis. Discretionary use of eggs has been traditionally advised due to their cholesterol content and saturated fat content.
Nutritive value of eggs: (1)
A large egg contains (50g)
- Calories : 80 kcal
- Protein : 6.3 grams
- Carbohydrates : 0.6 grams
- Total Fat : 5.0 grams
- Monounsaturated fat : 2.0 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat : 0.7 grams
- Saturated fat : 1.5 grams
- Cholesterol : 213 milligrams
- Sodium : 063 milligrams
Nutritive content of egg white and egg yolk
- The nutritional value of an egg is divided between the egg white and the egg yolk.
- The white contains more than half the egg’s total protein, niacin, riboflavin, chlorine, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulphur and all the egg’s zinc.
- The yolk contains all of the fat in the egg and a little less than half of the protein. It also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E.
- Egg yolks are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D.
- The yolk also provides vitamin B 12 and folic acid, and the minerals iron, calcium, copper and phosphorus.
- The yolk contains approximately 190 mg of cholesterol and 5 grams of fat, less than a third of which is saturated fat.
- While each egg white is fat and cholesterol free, yolks contain 213 milligrams of cholesterol and 5 grams of total fat.
- Only 1.5 grams of the yolk’s fat is saturated, the kind of fat that is most likely to increase blood cholesterol levels.
Health benefits of including egg in our diet:
The egg is a wholesome, nutritious food with high nutrient density because, in proportion to its calorie count, it provides 12% of the daily value of protein and a wide variety of other nutrients such as vitamins, essential amino acids and minerals.
- A study compared egg-based and bagel-based breakfast. The egg-based breakfast (EGG) consisted of 3 scrambled eggs and 1.5 pieces of white toast. The bagel-based breakfast (BAGEL) consisted of 1 white bagel, 1/2 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese, and 6 oz. of low-fat yogurt. Results from this study demonstrate that consuming eggs for breakfast can more effectively promote satiety and reduce subsequent energy intake (2).
- A study conducted by JS Vander Wal showed that; the egg breakfast enhances weight loss, when combined with an energy-deficit diet. The inclusion of eggs in a weight management program may offer a nutritious supplement to enhance weight loss (3).
- Intestinal oxidative stress has been associated with the initiation and propagation of chronic intestinal pathologies such as inflammatory bowel diseases, ischemic-re-perfusion disorders, and intestinal cancers. Oxidative stress is a consequence of an excess of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which participates in cellular damage by reacting with lipid membranes, proteins, and DNA. The authors Denise Young et al concluded that supplementation of the diet with egg yolk-proteins is a novel strategy to reduce intestinal oxidative stress (4).
- An egg is equipped to support life, with a profile of essential micro-nutrients that is unparalleled by any other food. Eggs are relatively low in energy (326·35 kJ (78 kcal)/medium egg) and saturated fat (1·7 g/medium egg) in comparison with other animal products, and can boast the highest quality of dietary protein, compared with certain dairy foods (5).
- A study summarized that; carotenoid-enriched eggs could represent a cost-effective and readily bio accessible source of the macular carotenoids as an alternative to over-the-counter formulations and could impact favourably on vision (6).
The BIG Cholesterol myth:
- Reports from the two large prospective cohort studies, namely, the Nurses’ Health Study (1980–1994) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986–1994), indicated that intake of dietary cholesterol consumed as one egg per day was not associated with increased risk of CHD in healthy men and women. Similar findings were summarized by Kritchevsky and colleagues (6), (7).
- Eggs, and dietary cholesterol derived from eggs, exert a relatively small and clinically insignificant effect on serum LDL-cholesterol in comparison with other lifestyle factors. In one study, modifiable lifestyle factors accounted for <40 % of CHD mortality, to which eating one egg a day contributed <1 % (8).
- Evidence from prospective cohort studies suggests that this relatively small increase in circulating cholesterol does not correspond with an increase in CHD risk. In recognition of these facts, advice in relation to eggs as a source of dietary cholesterol has changed in recent years. Most health and heart advisory bodies in the UK, Europe and elsewhere no longer set limits on the number of eggs people should eat, provided they are consumed as part of a healthy diet that is not high in SFA (9), (10), (11).