One of my biggest pet peeves when I look around at all the “healthy” Instagrammers, bloggers and other health-nuts out there is that a lot of them are still eating egg whites only.
I thought by now everyone had gotten the memo that yolks don’t really contribute to bad cholesterol and heart disease, but are also where all the good nutrients and fats are. Yet I keep seeing Instagrams of "healthy" omelets made with only egg whites, as well as clients that are shocked when I tell them to eat the whole egg.
So, rather than keep telling people how good they are, I thought would show how good they are backed up with research studies, cause that’s how I roll.
Let’s just start off with the biggest myth out there around eggs and in particular the yolks: THEY ARE BAD CHOLESTEROL AND CAUSE HEART DISEASE.
This thinking was initiated around 1950-60's, from studies stating saturated fat was bad. Health experts at the time interpreted that to mean anything that had saturated fat in it must be bad for you. Therefore, egg yolks must “spike your heart disease” and cause “high blood cholesterol raising your risk of diabetes.”
We now know that not all saturated fat is bad for you (if you're still not convinced of this, please read this), but also, recently Wake Forest University researchers found that there is actually no link between eggs and heart disease.
In fact, some people think eggs might be the perfect food. They are nutrient dense, have lean protein (the whites) and wonderful fat. The yolks (where the fat is) contain vitamin A, iron, zinc, choline, B6, folate and B12. Without the yolk you get little to zero of these nutrients. These nutrients help with good mood, flight fatigue, a healthy brain and contribute to better eye sight.
You need the egg in all it's whole food glory. The white are high in protein, about 6-7 grams per egg. The yolks are a good source of fats, 30% of the yolk is saturated fat and the rest of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are proved to contribute to a heathy heart. Additionally, without fat we can’t properly absorb those fat-soluble vitamins form the eggs, like vitamin A, D, E and K as well as omega-3s.
Dr. Mercola, a highly-regarded functional medicine doctor, says “for people with type 2 diabetes, the DIABEGG study, determined that you can consume two eggs a day, six days a week, and only be healthier for it.”
Quick tip: when talking about eggs let’s talk about what the best kind to buy is, because I know you, like me, have stood in front of the egg case wondering why all the different labels, prices and such mean.
- “Cage-free” – this means up to 11 birds can roam free in no less than a 16x20 inch cage. They don’t have to be allow to go outdoors.
- “Free range” – this means the hens have access to the outdoor. However, they may still be inside a warehouse mostly, just not in tiny cages, they may in fact not be outside or see any daylight, but should have access to an outdoor area, note that a lot of larger producers say they do this but don’t in fact. Smaller farms usually do follow these guidelines.
- “Pasture-raised” – this is the best kind to buy, they get to be outside and roam around and forage for food, but do note that this is not UDSA regulated yet.
- “Organic” – they are not fed anything with pesticides or GMO products in them, given antibiotics, they also must be cage-free or free-range.
- “Grade A” – means the egg shells are unstained and yolks and whites are free from defects.
- “Pasteurized” – means they are heated to a temperature just hot enough to kill salmonella.
- “Hormone-free” – means the birds that lay the eggs are not given any hormones
- “Vegetarian-fed” – the hens laying the eggs are fed vegetarian feed, but note that these animals are not naturally vegetarians.
- “Omega-3 enriched” – these birds are fed a special high omega-3 diet
- “Certified-Humane” or ”Animal Welfare Approved” – means they don’t starve them or cut their beaks or use other cruel methods with the hens and they are able to nest naturally.
- “Natural” – this term means nothing; these hens can be given antibiotics or GMO food.
The eggs I most often buy are the Vital Farms Organic Pasture-Raised Eggs (about $0.67 per egg). However, I recently when to my local farmers’ market and bought a dozen eggs there for about $1 a piece (a bit pricey) but not only were they gorgeous colors, like teal, pink, brown and white (pictured above), but they were also the best tasting and the yolks a brilliant orange color. I will definitely buy from them when I can.
From Dr. Mercola: “For help in locating a small organic and sustainable egg producer in your area, try visiting both the following websites:
- eatwild.com with a directory listing more than 1,400 pasture-based farms
- localharvest.org featuring a list of farms, food co-ops and farmers’ markets in your area”
The only warning I’d like to give on eating eggs is that it’s on the list of foods that our bodies can be highly allergic to. So, if you know or think you are allergic to eggs please avoid them, as eating food we are sensitive or allergic to put a lot of strain on our digestive and immune system, causing a whole host of minor and major health problems. If you aren’t sure if you are sensitive or allergic to them you can do a blood test with your functional medicine or naturopathic doctor or you can do an elimination diet with your nutritionist.