Over the years, the debate and controversy around eggs has gone up, down and around. To a point, where people ask, is it okay to eat eggs?
Let’s crack this!
Research shows that eggs are a healthy food when they are a part of a healthy diet. Let’s stop and think about this. If we combine eggs with butter laden kaya toast, roti prata, sausages, hash browns or bacon. Are eggs likely to be the problem? Or are their high in saturated fat, sugar and salt companions more likely to be the problem?
What is in an egg?
Eggs are a great source of protein and contain an important array of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fats and antioxidants.
70% of the fat in eggs comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Protein foods like eggs have a greater effect on satiety compared to carbohydrate and fat. Satiety is the satisfied feeling of being full after eating.
Thus, due to their protein content eggs are going to keep you feeling full for longer. More so than a sugary breakfast cereal or roti prata. Which means you are more likely to make better food choices mid-morning and at lunch time.
Why all the hoopla over eggs?
Traditionally the cholesterol content of eggs was thought to be a problem. It is now clear, that it is not the cholesterol we consume from food that impacts our cholesterol levels. It is foods high in saturated and trans fat that have the biggest impact on our cholesterol levels.
So rather than worry about eggs alone, be mindful of your whole diet. In particular foods that are high in saturated and trans fat.
Foods high in saturated and trans fat include:
- Meat- such as fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb and chicken (in particular chicken skin) and processed meats such as salami
- Full fat dairy products such as butter, cream, milk and cheese
- Palm oil, coconut oil, milk, flesh and cream
- Cooking margarine
- Fatty snack foods- potato chips, crackers
- Pastries and pies (croissants, meat pies, curry puffs, quiches)
- Cookies and savoury biscuits
- Bakery goods-cakes, muffins, creamy desserts
- Deep fried and high fat take away foods
It is particularly important for people with diabetes to eat these foods as little as possible as due to an increased risk of heart disease. By limiting your intake of these foods you can improve your lipid profile, making you and your doctor very happy!
So how many eggs can I have?
A recent study conducted in Australia, showed that a high egg diet (two eggs a day) over three months, did not increase the blood cholesterol of people with type 2 diabetes over a three month period. BUT, this was when those two eggs were combined with a healthy balanced diet (low saturated fat, high unsaturated fat, low GI and high fibre). Just like we said before, it is about your whole diet not just the eggs!
Aside from this study, the current guidelines suggest that if you have diabetes, you can have up to 6 eggs a week in conjunction with a healthy diet without increasing your risk of heart disease. So 6 eggs a week, or more loosely an egg a day, might be a number to run with at this stage.
The healthiest way to prepare your eggs:
* Poach, scramble or boil
* Pair them with vegetables and wholegrains, and enjoy!
Check out this scrumptious recipe for Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon from the Glycemic Index Foundation.
So when it comes to eggs it is important to treat them as you would any food. They need to be part of a healthy balanced diet. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels and heart health. Start first by reducing your saturated and trans fat intake.