Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
28 Feb

Smart Fuel: Eggs

Remember in the movie Runaway Bride when Julia Roberts’ character could never decide how she liked her eggs? We say, don’t worry about it Ms. Roberts, with so many health benefits associated with the consumption of eggs, you should eat ’em however you can get ’em!

On the most superficial level, eggs are an excellent source of protein, providing 5.5 grams per 68 calorie serving and all 9 essential amino acids (all for less than 0.5 grams of carbs!)

Digging deeper, eggs are perhaps best known for supplying choline, an “unofficial” B vitamin that our bodies can only produce in limited quantities (often too limited for optimal health, with one study indicating that 90% of Americans are currently choline deficient. Among choline’s many benefits, it is considered a key component of fat-containing structures in cell membranes, particularly those associated with the brain, making them particularly important for fetal brain development as well as overall brain function and health.

In the mineral department, eggs are an excellent source of selenium, which is thought to prevent cancer, particularly tumors affecting the prostate (although researchers are currently going back and forth on this one!) Eggs are also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two types of carotenoids important for eye health (with several studies indicating that these compounds may prevent macular degeneration as well as reduce the risk of developing cataracts). Additionally, eggs are thought to be one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D, providing roughly 10% of the recommended daily intake per serving.

Still need convincing? A 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that eggs keep hunger at bay longer than bagels (or “dietary disasters” as they should be renamed!). In addition, eggs’ high sulfur content and wide variety of vitamins and minerals can promote healthy hair – and may even speed up growth rate in those with such deficiencies – as well as help nails grow.

And now to address the bad press. In recent years, eggs have come under considerable fire for their high cholesterol content, with many suggesting that they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a 1999 Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and even went as far to say that regular egg consumption may actually prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Not bad, eh?

So, there you have it. Eggs really are egg-ceptional. Some might even consider them egg-cellent and still others would even go as far to call them eggs-quisite (ok, we promise we’ll stop now!)

sir chalky Flickr Photo (CC)

Drop us a line with your favorite egg dish!

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol

Duck Eggs

Best Brain Foods (hint: eggs are one of them)

Conditioning Research: Make Sure You Have Eggs in Your Low Carb Diet!

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. An egg a day keeps the doctor away! (No offense apple.) ;0

    Crackumin wrote on February 28th, 2008
  2. I say: Real men eat the yolks!

    Moe wrote on February 28th, 2008
    • RAW!!!

      Dio wrote on March 13th, 2013
  3. I’ve been eating the Eggland Best because they claim to have a high Omega 3 content. However, after reading Mark’s info on balancing O-6 with O-3 I checked out the Eggland website and found out they are still 6-1 in favor of the O-6. Since I eat two eggs every morning at work, and have at least one three-egg omlette every weekend, I’m going to be rethinking that one. I know I saw some eggs on the shelf at my local supermarket that were considerably more expensive. I’ll have to check them out.

    Dave
    http://davegetsfit.blogspot.com

    Dave C. wrote on February 28th, 2008
  4. Good to hear, I love eggs unfortunately they don’t like me much. I eat one tiny slightly undercooked egg and its like a lactose intolerant person chugging a gallon of milk. Never have been able to find out why. Runny scrambled eggs are murder on my stomach..

    Richard wrote on February 28th, 2008
  5. Are the same benefits found in cartons of egg whites or products like egg beaters? It seems these would be highly processed and wouldn’t yield the same nutritional benefits. What about just eating the whites of a whole/fresh egg?

    Anna wrote on February 28th, 2008
  6. I’m with Moe, Anna. Why would you eat cartons of egg whites when you could be eating free range, omega 3 supplemented eggs with the YOLK! Don’t fear the fat! Of course, you can just eat the whites of a whole/fresh egg. Nothing REALLY wrong with that. But if you ask me you would be skipping the best part.

    Crackumin wrote on February 28th, 2008
  7. Some eggs are even more nutritious than others. A recent study compared supermarket eggs with eggs from pastured poultry (chickens moved frequently to different area of pasture and allowed to graze). The result: eggs from pastured poultry are more nutritious than supermarket eggs, including double the omega-3s and seven times the beta carotene. Aside from supporting local farmers and sustainable practices, spending a little more for pastured eggs at the farmers’ market means getting more nutrients. Plus, they’re delicious.

    One of my favorite small, local farms participated in this study. Their website links the original article here: http://www.skagitriverranch.com/pictures/Better%20Eggs.pdf

    Huckleberry wrote on February 28th, 2008
  8. I was eating those fake eggs for a while when I was under the misinformed stage about eggs. Now I only eat real eggs. It’s ashame that so many people have been given false information about eggs and are resorting to highly processed eggs and losing so much nutritional value because of it.

    Jerry wrote on February 28th, 2008
  9. Gimme a break, Crackumin. I’ve heard that egg yolks have high levels of Arachidonic Acid. I happen to find it easier to pour my eggs in the morning than to carefully crack and omit the yolks (to avoid AA build up). Seriously, there are so many “experts” out there, and I try and get my information from robust sources and discern for credibility as much as I can. I happen to find MDA credible and enjoyable to read, but sometimes it conflicts with other sources I find credible. Just opening up the opportunity for further learning.

    Anna wrote on February 28th, 2008
  10. Different Anna chiming in here. I just adore eggs. Real eggs. Between the excellent nutrition, fantastic nutrition-to-cost ratio, as well as being so wonderfully adaptable to every meal and plain, sweet, and savory dishes, they are practically the perfect food. Our family of three goes through about 4 doz a week on average, though we do without when the chickens are molting and seasonal egg production is down. I panic when my egg supply is too low (just kidding, well, sort of).

    I’ll never understand egg white omelets. I can’t imagine anyone actually eats them for the taste. I tried one once. Abominable. The folks I see eating them don’t look like they are savoring their eggs either, just getting it over with. I think if I was going to discard or reduce anything of from an egg, it would be the whites, not the yolks (though I can usually find a use for extraneous egg whites, too). The yolks are “where it’s at”! All the flavor and the majority of the nutrients.

    My husband and I have at least 2, but usually 3 local “hobby” farm eggs nearly every day, cooked over-easy in lots of butter (with a pat of butter on top, too). I like the whites set, but the yolks still runny. Call me OCD, but I make an effort to get at least some yolk with every bite of egg white – egg whites are just too boring on their own. But yolks, ooooh….

    I avoid fake foods and false convenience. Therefore, I make the enormous effort to crack my eggs. It takes all of about 10 seconds per egg, at most, even if I am separating them for a particular recipe. The shells are good for the garden compost, too.

    I try to find the most credible health info, too (who doesn’t?). Often (but certainly not always) the conflicting info ends up being most credible and that’s what I ultimately adopt, as it shows a willingness to investigate independently, without the groupthink that is so pervasive these days, especially in nutrition science (which often isn’t nearly rigorous enough). My husband is a research scientist (biochemistry), so that has influenced me to be a lot more skeptical of the mainstream health advice that is based on epidemiology (he never thought low fat made sense). I try to view things through an evolutionary lens, too. Bottled, fractionated, and manufactured egg substances don’t look very good through that lens. Real eggs from local, running around chickens, AA and all, look much better. And taste better.

    Anna wrote on March 1st, 2008
  11. I love eggs,and we as humans are unable to produce many compounds,vitamins and minerals that our body needs.Eggs are the ideal way to supplement our body.

    Dr. Raliph Schwarzenegger,MD wrote on January 13th, 2009
  12. just came across this post. I heart my eggs & get them at my local farmer’s market. I recently read “The Paleo Diet” & author Cordain discourages the consumption of more than 4-6 eggs a week! While I consider myself totally on board with the PB, I’m not sure where Mark & the gang weigh in on this, or where my fellow Apples do.
    Frankly I cannot see eating a fish filet or steak(my fave protein) for breakfast!

    marci wrote on April 1st, 2009
  13. I played college football for five years and took a shot at the NFL, having tryouts with the Jets and Packers, and when I needed to put on good healthy weight I would eat about a dozen eggs a day on top of a healthy diet. Four eggs in the morning, four after my workout, and four right before I went to bed. Fastest and easiest way to gobble up eggs, for me, was to throw them in a blender with milk, fruit (bananas, strawberriers, etc.), small scoop of whey protien powder, and sometimes a spoon full of peanut butter. Hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper is a great snack and a quick energy booster.

    Travis wrote on September 14th, 2009
    • did you eat the eggs raw in your smoothie? what kind of eggs did you buy, just wondering?

      lauren wrote on March 9th, 2012
    • Great, but you did not relate all those eggs to the present condition of your arteries…

      Richard wrote on April 5th, 2013
  14. More excuses to eat eggs! I’m incredibly happy!

    Theresa wrote on March 31st, 2010
  15. Hi, I am a vegetarian who eat eggs. I am currentlly eating about 4 in the morning and 4 eggs for dinner. please let me know if this is okay for someone trying to lose body fat. my carb intake is around 100 gms a day.

    Arun wrote on May 12th, 2010
    • I’m a pescatarian, but have been eating more eggs and organic non-gmo-sourced butters in my diet. and i’ve noticed that whenever i need a quick energy boost, an egg (or two) sauteed with some butter and a little salt is amazing. i don’t know if there is a limit, either, but I don’t think so. As long as the chickens are fed healthy diets, as we are eating their direct products, I don’t see any problems?

      lauren wrote on March 9th, 2012
  16. I can’t seem to start my day with out my 3 egg omlete. I’m lucky enough to have a local farm nearby that sells eggs. There is a huge difference between those and storebought, even the “free-range” and organic version. Today I cracked 2 of the farm eggs and one storebought and the difference in color was like day and night. The farm eggs are a deep orange while the “organic” eggs are the standard yellow. It’s all in the food the chickens eat. If you guys can, look for farms around your area that sell eggs, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of em.

    Michael wrote on July 29th, 2010
    • Lynnette wrote on February 5th, 2012
    • agreed. When the farmer’s market was still operable, (it’s closed until the summer :/ here, I would pick up a dozen every week. golden, rich hue, creamy yolk, thick solid protein source… they were incredible. the organic, free-range eggs I buy from trader joe’s are delicious too, however

      lauren wrote on March 9th, 2012
  17. I could eat bacon and eggs for every meal. True story

    John Peace wrote on September 12th, 2010
  18. eggs will always be a staple in our breakfast.

    windshield repair kits wrote on October 14th, 2010
  19. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/eggs-versus-the-double-down-guess-who-wins/article1781455/

    What about this article that came out today? Yolks are worse than KFC when it comes to cholesterol.

    East coaster wrote on November 1st, 2010
    • More of the same nonsense that has been force fed to us for decades. The fact they are even comparing eggs to a processed, piece of crap sandwich is laughable at best.
      Cholesterol has become such an eveil word for no reason at all, based off research that has many faults in eat. Yet we still follow this same advice- same with advice as ultra low fat, more grains, saturated fat is bad, and on and on. Yet Americans are about as unhealthy as ever….

      In the past year, I ate tons of pastured eggs, grass fed butter, grass fed beef and lamb. I pan fried the meats in butter and coconut oil, a recipe for health disaster according to modern “researchers”. Funny thing though…my blood tests compared form last year to this year had my cholesterol going down. My HDL/LDL ratio also skyrocketed from .29 (low) to well over .45(above optimal). All from eating all the evil foods…..Oh, did I mention how my weight has dropped almost 80 pounds since giving up the standard american diet?

      James wrote on April 5th, 2011
  20. I’ve been eating my eggs raw. I blend it into my morning smoothie.

    Jeff wrote on November 10th, 2010
  21. Anyone know if century eggs and salted eggs are considered primal? The Chinese have a savory custard dish that consists of regular eggs, century eggs, salted eggs, and your choice of meat. My attempt in photos below:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ferrum/sets/72157625398700701/

    HK wrote on December 5th, 2010
  22. You mentioned the amino acids. Eggs are notably high in L-glutamine, which is an essential amino acid that basically feeds enterocytes (intestinal cells). Glutamine from eggs, or other sources, can help restore and maintain the lining of the intestinal tract. Plus, there’s nothing better than a fried egg over your leafy greens … try it!

    Brandon wrote on May 24th, 2011

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