The Incredible, Edible Egg*


Nakia, one of our MM Followers, has a recipe that calls for egg substitute.  She'd rather use real eggs and is wondering how to make the change.  I'll bet many of you have wondered the same thing. Just keep in mind that one large egg is about 1/4 cup.  If your recipe calls for 1/2 cup egg substitute, simply replace it with 2 eggs.  If you would rather use all egg whites in a recipe, 2 whites are the equivalent of 1 whole egg.

Substituting is easy, but are you jeopardizing your health by using real eggs?

Eggs are an inexpensive nutritional powerhouse. One large whole egg comes in at only 71 calories, and offers protein, vitamins A, B-12, D, K, folate, riboflavin, selenium, choline, iron, and the disease fighting carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Since choline plays a role in brain development, I used to tell my kids that eggs were brain food.  I always made eggs for my kids on mornings before any big tests. I should point out that all 3 of them certainly ended up with high functioning brains!

Eggs took a big hit in the 1970's when the connection between higher blood cholesterol levels and an increase in the risk of heart disease became apparent. Experts warned us to consume fewer than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.  Since one large egg yolk has 211 mg of cholesterol, people were advised to limit their egg consumption to no more than three a week. While both the white and yolk contain complete protein, it's the yolk that houses all those other nutritional wonders.

But, all the cholesterol in your blood does not come from the cholesterol you eat. Your liver produces the majority of the cholesterol zipping around in your blood stream.  Genetics play a major role in determining whether it produces more or less cholesterol. This is where if you chose your parents wisely, you're much better off.  Exercise, soluble fiber (found in oats, beans and fruit pulp) and some medications have been shown to help reduce the amount of cholesterol your body produces.  On the other hand, eating more "evil" saturated fat, especially trans fat, seems to tell your liver to make more cholesterol. The cholesterol you eat actually has much less impact on the total blood cholesterol. That being said, if you are at high risk for heart disease, it's important to diminish the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat, eat soluble fiber, and to minimize the amount of cholesterol consumed.  In this situation, every factor impacting total cholesterol can make a difference.

As more research is completed, more is understood about cholesterol and heart disease. One study of 117,000 nurses found no difference in risk for developing coronary heart disease in people who ate more than one egg each day. Another study found that people who start the day with eggs tend to be less hungry and consume fewer calories throughout the day. Could it be that eggs help with weight control?

At this point, the majority of us can and should enjoy eating nutrient-rich eggs; experts now say an egg a day is just fine. Now the question is, do I go with scrambled, sunny side up, or poached?
*The American Egg Board