What exactly is an egg?
A chicken egg is made up of the protective shell, the albumen (egg white) and the vitellus (egg yolk).
The eggs we eat are unfertilized. For an egg to be fertilized, the hen and rooster must mate prior to formation of the egg. Hens still lay eggs when they’ve had no contact with a rooster that result in what we find in grocery stores.
What is the difference between a brown egg and a white egg?
The difference is related to the source of the egg. Although there are exceptions amongst breeds, for the most part, white-feathered chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs; red-feathered chickens with red-ear lobes lay brown eggs.
There is no difference in taste and nutrition level of a brown egg versus a white egg. Brown eggs sometimes cost a little more because the hens that lay them tend to eat more than their white-egg laying counterparts driving up the cost of each egg.
Nutrition and Benefits of Eggs
The nutritional benefits of eggs are hard to beat.
A large egg contains 78 calories; 1.6 g of saturated fat, .7 g of polyunsaturated fat, 2 monounsaturated fat; 186.5 mg of cholesterol; 62 mg of sodium; 63 mg of potassium; .6 g of sugar and 6 g of protein.
The protein in eggs contains all essential amino acids. They are also rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among others.)
One egg also contains 113 mg of Choline. Choline is very beneficial to brain development and memory among other things. Eggs also contain disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin which may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older adults.
The Egg Cholesterol Issue
“Should I avoid eating eggs because they contain cholesterol?”
This is people’s biggest fear and the reason why, for the longest time, it was thought that eating eggs was bad for your heart and arteries. Here’s why it is not an issue. Your body (specifically your liver) produces cholesterol daily.
Why would it do that? Well cholesterol is one of the most important nutrients in our bodies. It’s a requirement for growth in both babies and adults. Plus it’s necessary for the production of most hormones.
When you eat cholesterol your liver produces less of it. What’s more when you eat cholesterol it improves your cholesterol profile. The cholesterol in eggs raises your good cholesterol (HDL) and changes your bad cholesterol (LDL) to a large subtype which has no association with an increased risk of heart disease.
Are Eggs Good for Weight Loss?
The short answer: Yes, and here’s why.
The Satiety Index, which rates 38 foods on how well they satisfy people’s hunger, rates eggs high on their scale. The Satiety Index compares food items to white bread which is ranked as 100%. Eggs are ranked at 150%.
In a 2011 study published in the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition, researchers found that the egg lunch was significantly more satisfying than a potato lunch. The study concluded that eggs for lunch could increase satiety more than a carbohydrate meal and might even help reduce between-meal calorie intake.
What about people that have a diabetes diagnosis?
If you have diabetes or a familial hypercholesterolemia (which affects 2% of the population) you should consult your doctor about whether eating eggs is right for you.
That’s it for today. Next month, I’ll take a look at some other benefits to consuming eggs, the egg white versus the egg yolk, some egg eating tips and how many are safe to consume per day among other things.