Cracking The Truth About Eggs

Have you been told to avoid eggs because you have high cholesterol? At one point, it was thought eggs were damaging to our hearts, but we now know they aren’t nearly as harmful as they were once cracked up to be.

Going back about 45 years, Americans were consuming about 320 eggs per person per year: that’s almost one egg per day. Once fat and cholesterol in the diet became more concerning, eggs were pinpointed because of the cholesterol found in their yolks, and egg consumption dropped drastically.

So what do we know now?

Dietary cholesterol actually has less of an effect on our cholesterol than was once thought. For healthy adults, it’s recommended to limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams a day. For individuals with heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol, it’s recommended to limit dietary cholesterol to less than 200 milligrams per day. You can find cholesterol amounts on food labels. In general, it is suggested to limit egg yolks to 4 times a week or fewer.

Eggs and Nutrition

One large egg contains around 70 calories, 215 mg cholesterol, 6g protein, and 5g fat. So, what are their benefits?

  • They are the gold standard in terms of protein: an egg contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs; it’s a great protein source that may also help you feel fuller for longer.
  • They are a good source of choline which enhances brain development and memory.
  • They are a good source vitamin A which acts as an antioxidant, protecting your body from damaging environmental factors. Vitamin A may also reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
  • They also contain a number of other vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, and thiamin.

Tips on How to Use up Those Leftover Easter Eggs

  • Slice or dice a hardboiled egg and add it to your salad greens for a lower calorie, high protein option that will also add flavor and texture to your meal.
  • Pair an egg with a slice of whole grain toast for an open-faced breakfast sandwich or mid- morning snack for a quick energy booster to get you through a busy morning.
  • Add curry powder or some of your favorite herbs to spice up your egg salad. Mix in a dab of plain non-fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo for a tangy lower fat option.

How to Tell You’re Purchasing Fresh Eggs

  • Egg cartons generally contain a “pack date” and an “expiration” or “sell-by” date. The “pack date” is most often represented by the Julian date. This date is a three digit number that represents the day of the year the product was packaged on. For example, December 31st would be coded as 365, and January 1st would be coded as 001. If eggs are properly refrigerated, they should maintain their quality three to five weeks after they are purchased, or four to five weeks after the Julian date.

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Our Be Fit Nutritionists are comprised of dietetic interns studying at Massachusetts General Hospital. During their internship, they receive training on acute care nutrition, ambulatory and community nutrition, food service systems management, and research. Their comprehensive work is done in collaboration with registered dietitians.

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