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Do we need eggs in our diet ?

Updated: May 9, 2023

There is a lot of controversy about eggs, are they good or bad for us? should we include them in our diet?

Very often eggs are described as a perfect protein - the biological value (a measure of protein quality) of a food is often evaluated by comparing it to that of eggs.

The consumption of egg white is recommended for athletes and those who training intensively. This ‘myth’ is for example debugged in ‘The Game Changers’ documentary so I don’t feel the need to delve further into the details of animal derived proteins for athletes.⁠

Let’s look where the eggs are coming from, as I believe many people are not aware of the full process. Female chickens have a menstrual cycle, during which a hen's ovary sends a yolk on its path. As it moves though the reproductive tract and into the shell gland, the yolk forms into an 'egg white'. So your scrambled eggs are the results of her period.

That moral / palatable aspect of this is very individual and everyone should answer for yourself whether eggs are an acceptable choice.

What about the nutritional the aspect?

Dr David Katz (a recognized authority on lifestyle medicine) refers to the egg as a ‘lesser evil’. It’s true that it’s better to have a veggie omelette than a doughnut or pastry for breakfast, however Dr Katz clearly indicates that oats with berries are a much better option.

Dietary Guidelines in the US are tailored for an average American ; consuming a lot of processed foods, where breakfast often consist of pastries consumed on the go. This being the case, eggs can seem like an healthy alternative. I believe that our ‘quality of life’ is directly linked to our diet so we should aim higher than ‘lesser evil’. There is enough evidence that a whole food plant based diet (which doesn’t contain eggs) can help to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer or dementia.

Egg yolks are loaded with cholesterol - a known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. A medium-sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62 percent of the recommended intake. Consuming even one egg a day may exceed the safe upper limit for cholesterol intake.

Interesting studies in the Journal of Atherosclerosis Research (Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque August 2012) indicate that eating one egg per day is just as bad for your heart as smoking five cigarettes a day. Consumption of even small amount of eggs can significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular diseases and premature death. Cholesterol consumption is also linked to liver cancer.

Another substance found in eggs which can be harmful is choline, this is converted, by the body, into a toxin called trimethylamine by bacteria existing in our guts. The toxin was found to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and premature death.

Dr Greger refers to Harvard University research which followed more than a thousand men with early-stage prostate cancer for several years. Compared with men who ate eggs (even one per day), appeared to have twice the risk of prostate cancer progression, compared to those that never, or rarely, ate eggs.

It’s definitely something to consider before serving scrambled eggs for breakfast to your menfolk.

Eggs are served in numerous different ways and many believe they cannot live without them, but there are so many other healthy and delicious options. You can try scrambled tofu for breakfast or chickpea ‘’egg salad’’. You can use chia seeds, flax seeds, silken tofu, fruit puree (apple, banana), aquafaba (chickpea water), chickpea flour or a commercial egg replacement.

For the characteristic eggy flavour try kala namak – black salt – it has truly transformed my cooking. Due to the high content of sulphate it works great as an egg flavouring.

Bearing in mind the health issues associated with eating eggs, personally I would recommend individuals to explore and use the many plant based options which are easily available.

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