The health benefits of eggs have been a hot topic for years, even if you eat them cold. Ok, bad joke… but I really like eggs and I like to eat healthy, so I decided to reach out to seven health and nutrition gurus and ask the question “How can I make my eggs more nutritious?” Here is what they had to say:
He says, “We all know that the anti-egg hype is hugely overblown, to the point where Canada’s Food Guide removed its warnings against it in 2010. But let’s talk about some different considerations when it comes to eggs, like: organic vs. non-organic; egg whites vs. egg yolks; how many times a week you eat eggs; and duck, goose and quail eggs.”
He continues, “As I often say in one of my one of my corporate seminars, Healthy Foods that Poison: Why You’re Getting Sicker and Fatter Despite Eating Healthier, there’s no such thing as a “bad food,” only the wrong food, for the wrong person at the wrong time. The opposite is true as well: there’s no such thing as a “good food” only the right food, for the right person at the right time.
The most classic example of this is peanuts. Are they good for you, or bad for you? Well, they have a decent amount of protein (not the best source, but not the worst, either), and a decent fat profile. But if you have an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts, they’re literally deadly. Did the food change? No. But the person eating the food did. The same is true for eggs, and every other food – it depends on the person as much as the food itself.
Organic Eggs vs. Conventional
As my knowledge is in the realm of nutrition, I won’t discuss things like methods of raising the chickens, or price of organic vs. conventional. I’ll stick to what I know – nutrient profile.
Overall, organic eggs have a slightly better nutrient profile – more omega 3 fatty acids. That’s often why they’re a deeper orange colour, compared to conventional eggs (and some would argue, taste better, but taste is subjective).
As for the remainder of the nutrient profile, it’s quite similar in terms of the content of carbs, protein and fats, as well as the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Eggs in general are a powerhouse when it comes to selenium (a mineral important for thyroid function, as well as many others in the body), and are an excellent source of vitamins B2, B6, and B12. They’re a decent source of iron as well.
Egg Whites vs. Egg Yolks
Years ago, it was popular to separate the two. Why did people avoid the yolk? Because of the cholesterol myth. Eggs have a lot of cholesterol – that’s true. But the cholesterol in eggs does NOT increase cardiovascular risk. That’s well established.
Whether you eat cholesterol or not, your body will make it anyway. Eat a little cholesterol, and your body will make a lot. Eat a lot of cholesterol, and your body will make a little.
So the whole egg whites vs. egg yolks debate is hugely overblown. I mean, can’t we all just get along?
As I see it, there may be only 2 legitimate reasons to avoid the egg yolks:
1. You just don’t like the taste. Fair enough. Taste is subjective.
2. You’re preparing for some kind of competition where your bodyweight, and body fat are important, and every calorie counts. If you’re already eating super clean, and are just looking to reduce calories more, go ahead and avoid the yolk for a few weeks, until the date of your competition.
How Many Times a Week Should You Eat Eggs?
No limit here. You like eggs? Have them every day. Don’t like eggs? Don’t eat them. You can get the nutrients of eggs from other foods.
Put it this way: there’s no harm in eating eggs daily. Again, the cholesterol myth has been heavily overblown. However, I will say that eggs are a relatively common food sensitivity, so if you’re sensitive to eggs (and you’d know by different symptoms, from bowel movements, to skin quality, to nasal congestion, to joint pain), it may be best to reduce or eliminate them. If you’re not sensitive to eggs, eat them to your heart’s content.
Duck, Goose and Quail Eggs
Different foods have different nutrient profiles.
Duck eggs have more protein than chicken eggs, similar levels of B12, and less B5 and B2. They also have significantly less selenium
Goose eggs have a very similar profile to duck eggs, with slightly more protein. Everything else is about the same
Quail eggs have less protein than the other 3 (chicken, duck, goose), and less of almost every other nutrient, except for B2.
If you really want to vary your nutrient profile, and prevent your body from becoming sensitive to one type of egg, I recommend cycling through different types eggs.
So many mixed reviews and misinformation on eggs. As a woman, I like to stick to 4-6 eggs a week. You want diversity in your diet. I large egg has about 6-7 g of protein…they are a healthy food contrary to what has been said about them that they are high in cholesterol and therefore, will raise your cholesterol (that’s a myth) or cause heart disease…what people don’t know is that we need cholesterol and that our bodies actually produce 80% of it and only 20% comes from diet. What’s happening in our body and lifestyle play a much more important role in cholesterol production. Obviously, stay away if you know if you have an allergy/sensitivity/intolerance to eggs.
Eggs- You want organic, pasture-raised eggs…chickens that are left to roam to eat bugs, critters, grass, etc. Organic means squat if chickens are fed grains and/or soy. You are what your chickens eat and are injected with. Stay away from conventionally produced eggs.
Boil, poach, steam is better than frying at high temps. Low temp prevents the omega 3 found in yolk from being destroyed (omega 3s are unstable and are destroyed when exposed to high heat). When you fry, the yolk is oxidized. It’s this oxidation and other factors that are happening in our body that is harmful to our health. This is a whole other topic.
Eat the whole egg (none of this nonsense only egg white stuff!!!). The omega 3 are found in yolks. The yolk is where all the goodness is. If anything, for many people, it’s the egg white proteins that can impact inflammation.
We have enjoyed duck eggs. People who have issues with chicken eggs may better tolerate duck eggs. Having said that, all eggs are eliminated in the beginning on an Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. Again, healthy depends on the individual. What is healthy for one person may prove to be the contrary for another person.
I have tried quail but they are so small. Maybe on a gourmet dish it might be cool but not to buy on the daily.
Organic versus non organic
Although there is little nutritional difference – they contain similar amounts of protein, carbohydrates and cholesterol – recent research show that organic eggs may have three times the Omega 3 fatty acids and more vitamin A and vitamin E. Hens that lay organic eggs eat organic feed and do not receive hormones, vaccines or antibiotics. The land the hens live on must be free from the use of toxic and chemical pesticides and fertilizers for three years.
Egg whites vs egg yolks
The yolks contain a fair amount of cholesterol and most of the fat and calories. But it contains most of the nutrients. The egg white contains most of the protein and is fat free with no cholesterol. If weight control is an issue, it’s better to eat more whites.
For the optimum nutrition it’s best to eat the whole egg. But is there a limit? You can safely eat seven eggs per week with no increase in heart disease risk. It’s still best not to exceed 300 mg of cholesterol daily and that’s the amount of cholesterol in one egg.
Different types of eggs
Bigger isn’t always better when looking at different varieties of poultry eggs. The quail spotted small egg are creative if using eggs as bite size treats. They contain antioxidants that may treat symptoms of allergies.
Duck eggs are a bit larger than chicken eggs and have a creamy, rich consistency due to the larger yolk. They do have more calories, fat and cholesterol. They are not commonly sold or consumed. The thick shell makes them hard to crack. Those with chicken allergies can often eat duck eggs.
Goose eggs are equal to two or three chicken eggs. It’s best to share them when cooking due to the excess calories, fat and cholesterol. The flavour of goose eggs are much stronger than other varieties of eggs so they are not commonly consumed. More often, the shells of goose eggs are used for arts and crafts projects.
I think whole eggs are fine. The trend toward egg whites (and “Egg Beaters”) was based on the belief that saturated fat increased serum (blood) cholesterol levels. Research has shown that that’s not true. Most of the cholesterol that’s in our blood is cholesterol we made from frequently spiking insulin (caused by starchy and sugary carbohydrates); it is not from cholesterol (nor saturated fat) we ate. I was experiencing high cholesterol when I was eating “low fat” (egg whites) and high starchy carbs, and then reduced my cholesterol significantly when I eliminated my starchy carbs and drastically increased my dietary fats (whole eggs, ghee, coconut oil, nuts, avocados and olive oil).
Paul Gagne – Posturologist, somatherapist, strength and conditioning specialist, and co-founder of Desmotec Training Systems (DTS)
Organic omega 3 eggs are my choice. Organic Flax seed fed free range chicken produce higher amounts of omega 3 , combined with the natural high amount of vitamin D and phospholipids and lutein, already present in the eggs, these nutrients are very efficient to help reduce inflammation levels
Soft yolk hard boiled eggs, or soft yolk, poached eggs seemed to retain the most of their nutrients values. I like to add some organic curry powder , and himalayan pink salt to my eggs to increase their anti- inflammation values. I also add some fermented vegetables, cabbage, carrots, beets to help with the nutrients absorption.
As far as eggs go I prefer to do a combination of real eggs with Egg Whites. Typically I’ll do four egg whites with two real eggs six days per week, I use the real eggs for a combination of wanting more protein, egg whites typically have half the protein of one real egg and to add more taste, I found that egg whites don’t have the exact flavor that real eggs have. Every once in a while I love having fried eggs and a piece of toast.
However I also use egg whites in my protein shakes instead of water, this gives me much more protein compared to using water only & it gives the protein shake considerably more flavor.
I suggest mixing things up and try different formulas of egg whites and eggs, maybe even trying some of the exotic eggs that are out there. But by mixing things up it keeps things new and fresh.
On the subject of eggs, a lot of people that get food intolerance tests done find that egg whites and egg yolks come up a lot. This is, I find, a false intolerance since eggs are not that crunchy and people don’t chew them enough. Digestion starts in the mouth. Your saliva has enzymes that help breakdown food to make it easier once in the stomach. Mix your saliva well with the food before gobbling it down.
Eating them once every five days, if not already intolerant or sensitive to them, is what I recommend, and to chew them very well before swallowing. I never overly cook the yolks, so as not to oxidize all the good stuff in them. Keep the yolks liquid.
Never eat egg whites without the yolk or another form of fat. Always a good idea to have fat along with protein, as found in nature, and as nature wanted it to be.
Organic free range is always the best, from local organic farms that have the chickens actually roam free.