Eggs are one of the most preferred light eat options available and are packed with a good amount of protein and fat content. Eggs suit the young as well as the old alike and are easy on the digestive system. Several types of eggs are available in the market, the most common of which are chicken eggs, ducks’ and goose eggs as well as quail’s eggs. Some of the rather exclusive options include roe caviar, pheasant as well as emu eggs. Whatever the type of egg, the basic constituents are the same, which include proteins and fat.
Eggs are rich in amino acids, the basic building blocks of proteins, necessary for the growth and development of the tissues as well as the muscles of the body. One of the most preferred options of including protein in children’s diet is to add an egg to the meal. Eggs are digested easily by the system while providing the necessary nutrients. The taste as well as the texture can be enhanced and altered by the various preparation options available. From bull’s eye to scrambled and hard boiled to omelets, the egg is one of the most versatile cooking options available to man.
There is a raging debate about the good as well as the bad effects of consuming eggs with respect to the cholesterol levels of the body. Recent studies, however, have shown that eggs do not have any harmful or negative impact on cholesterol levels in the body but still there is a section of people who believe that consuming eggs regularly can have a harmful impact by increasing cholesterol levels and triggering the related ailments.
Constituents of an Average Egg
Whether duck eggs or chicken eggs, eggs in general are made up of protein and fat. It is mainly composed of two parts, the albumen or the egg white and the yellow yolk which remains suspended in the albumen.
The albumen is the main storage spot for all the protein in the egg. The yolk also contains a percentage of protein, but the egg white is almost completely composed of protein. The yolk is the only location of fat storage in the egg. Egg yolk consists of omega 3 fatty acids that have extremely beneficial effects on the body, especially when it comes to the functioning of the nervous system, be it proper functioning of the brain and the Central Nervous System or the positive effects on vision.
One large egg is composed of around 220 milligrams of cholesterol; A 100 gram serving of egg usually has around 420 mg of cholesterol when boiled. Since it is the egg yolk that is rich in cholesterol, consuming the egg white or the albumen is considered rather safe.
Methods to Alter Cholesterol Content through Different Preparation Methods
The cholesterol content of the egg can be regulated by the way it is prepared. Raw eggs have a higher cholesterol content compared to the boiled and the poached ones.
- Poached eggs are lowered cholesterol levels and so are the ones that are boiled.
- Eggs scrambled with skimmed milk are lower in cholesterol.
Chicken and quail eggs are the ones with the lowest cholesterol content. Goose eggs probably have the highest concentration of cholesterol in comparison followed by turkey eggs.
Cholesterol and Eggs – Myths and Confusions
One of the biggest and most dearly held myths for generations is the one that accuses eggs of increasing the cholesterol levels of the body and thereby aiding in the onset of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and attacks. Few research findings support the idea while an equal number of counter findings are also present to support the opposing view. A relatively large egg yolk is believed to contain a little over 200 mg of cholesterol, which is almost close to two thirds of the dietary cholesterol requirement.
Another commonly held notion is that eggs are not good for children and the high fat content cannot be digested easily by the system.
- Certain research studies lean towards establishing a negative relation between eggs and cholesterol levels. Dietary intake of rich cholesterol in the form of egg yolk is believed to tip the delicate lipid profile of the system.
- Some research studies have shown that consumption of eggs have an adverse effect on the cardiovascular system and increase the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases. This is seen to have an even more adverse impact on patients suffering from diabetes.
- The saturated fatty acids present in the egg yolk are the one’s to watch out for. This form of fatty acids is harmful and is related to increasing levels of cholesterol in the system. The unsaturated fat is not harmful and does not interfere much with blood circulation and cardio vascular functioning.
Cholesterol and Eggs – Facts established by Recent Research Studies
A balanced diet chart indicates the necessary amount of the various nutrients that need to be ingested for the normal functioning of the body. Eggs are high in cholesterol and consuming eggs fulfill a high percent of the cholesterol requirements of the body. The egg white contains only a miniscule of the total fat content, approximately one per cent of the total fat content. It is the yellow yolk that is the store house of fat in the egg.
- Cholesterol per se is not bad for health. Here we need to differentiate between the two major types of cholesterol – the LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) and the HDL (High Density Lipoprotein). The HDL is known as ‘Good’ cholesterol while it is the LDL that is bad for health.
- Eggs are rich in cholesterol, no doubt, but whether they actually contribute to increasing cholesterol levels is questionable. Several researches have been conducted over the years to disprove this wrongful notion that consuming eggs regularly is both harmful as well as unhealthy.
- When the high cholesterol content of the egg is ingested in the blood stream, the natural production of cholesterol is regulated and the required balance is maintained by the body. Such a mechanism prevents any harmful reactions from taking place in case of consumption of cholesterol rich egg yolk.
- More than the fat and cholesterol content of the egg yolk, various other lifestyle factors contribute heavily towards spiraling cholesterol levels. Eggs should probably figure in ‘least concern’ section and the emphasis should be shifted towards replacing sedentary lifestyle with a more active and a healthy one.
Positive Effects or no Effects of Eggs on the Cholesterol Levels of the Body
Research studies greatly support the positive or at least the no effects that eggs have on the cholesterol levels of the body and help break the long held notion that eggs are bad for health, especially worse when it comes to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Consuming egg yolk alone does not increase the risk of heart attack and the other related ailments. Several components come to play and it is the LDL or the Low Density Lipoprotein which is the main culprit behind all cholesterol woes.
Anything, when overdone can be injurious to health and consuming food items in excess is no exception. Dieticians and doctors consider it safe to consume about two to three eggs a week with no marked effect on the cholesterol levels of the body. Any amount of egg white can be consumed with no specific cholesterol worries as it is rich in protein and has very minute quantities of the total fat content of the egg. When consumed in moderation, eggs can be extremely beneficial as they are a rich source of low cost protein as well as a repository of the essential amino acids required by the body.