by Karen Geary, a Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, mBANT, CNHC at Amplify
Ever since Edwina Curry and the ‘salmonella in eggs’ controversy, the media love a good egg scare story.
Back in November there was a piece of tabloid science with a screaming headline about eggs being associated with an increased risk of diabetes that came from a Chinese study. This was somewhat confusing given diabetes is the inability to handle glucose and eggs contain very little carbohydrate.
Unless you scoured what the research geeks were saying in their analysis, nothing was written in the mainstream press about the way in which the statistics were analysed, nor the fact that in this particular group the high amount of ultra-processed foods being consumed was likely a key issue.
In other words, don’t blame the eggs for what the cake did!
On the positive, more recently a study of 50 overweight participants in Australia showed that 2 eggs eaten at breakfast instead of cereal reduced how much was eaten at lunchtime. Participants reported less hunger and consumed less calories when compared to those who ate cereal at breakfast. It seems to confirm previous studies in non-overweight individuals who also ate less and felt more satisfied when they had 2 eggs for breakfast.
My view is that protein in eggs is inherently more satiating, whereas cereal is mostly pure carbohydrate, creating spikes and subsequent dips in blood sugar. These spikes and dips make you feel hungry quicker.
The reason why I love eggs? Choline. Choline is a misunderstood and little known nutrient – often grouped in the B vitamins, but it is not a vitamin, nor is it a mineral.
Eggs have one of the highest amounts of choline compared to other foods.
Choline is an organic, water-soluble compound or micronutrient vital for a number of bodily functions including liver health (that’s why eggs are ideal when you are hungover), brain health, metabolic health, nerve function, muscle movement as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding.
There are some groups that have a higher need for choline than others:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women require higher amounts as choline is rapidly used by the foetus in its development. It is a protective factor for developmental problems, brain abnormalities, neural tube defects, and is associated with increased brain functioning in healthy babies.
Oestrogen is also instrumental in choline production. This means that post-menopausal women have a higher need for choline in order to support optimal health in ageing.
Endurance athletes, eg marathon runners experience a fall in choline and have a greater need.
Eggs are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin – antioxidants that reduce your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.
The controversy around eggs and cholesterol is a topic for another day. But the latest research is that we should not worry about the cholesterol in egg yolks – and they are likely supportive in building the ‘good’ HCL cholesterol.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient dense foods we have, containing vital compounds. They are safe, cheap, tasty, easy to prepare and their benefits far outweigh any potential media scare story.