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Nutrition tip: Eggs are not Evil
01.2.2017
Nutrition tip: Eggs are not Evil
Just one look at the list of nutrients contained in eggs shows the health value of a food that was appreciated for centuries, before the high cholesterol content brought it into disrepute. Now new findings show that our treasured breakfast favourites are not all bad.
Photo: ©Photostudio Lang/backaldrin

Rich in nutrients


An average chicken egg weighs about 60 grams, with 11% being shell weight, 58% the egg white and 31% the yolk. Egg whites consist mainly of water (88%) and protein (9%), while the yolk consists of water (51%), fat (31%) and protein (16%). This protein is considered to be of a particularly high quality.

The biological value of an egg is 100%. This means that, out of 100 grams of chicken egg white, the body is able to absorb 100 grams of protein. In addition, eggs supply the body with calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, iodine, fluorine and selenium.

Eggs are also rich in vitamins A, B3, B12, D, E and folic acid. A British survey concluded that the intake of vitamins B12, A and D, as well as niacin (B3), iodine, zinc and magnesium, was significantly higher in adults who consume 3 or more eggs a week than when no eggs are consumed. The vitamin D content is especially high and worth mentioning, as very few foods are recognised suppliers of vitamin D.

Valuable lecithin


Lecithin is found in egg yolks and is absorbed from the food during digestion in the small intestine. The body can also form lecithin independently. It is an important component of every cell membrane and nerve cell. As a component of bile, and because of its emulsifying properties, it is involved in the digestion of fat. A study using rats showed that lecithin inhibits the mechanism responsible for the absorption of cholesterol through the intestinal wall, thus reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the chicken egg.

How did the egg get such a bad reputation?


During the middle of the 20th Century, scientists found that patients with high cholesterol levels in their blood had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. So, they condemned foods rich in cholesterol as “evildoers”. During the Sixties, health campaigns warned against cholesterol. However, recent studies indicate that low-cholesterol diets only slightly lower blood cholesterol. The cholesterol in food usually has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than the quantity of fat absorbed from the food. Saturated fatty acids (fatty meat, sausage and bacon) have a far greater effect on blood cholesterol. Current knowledge suggests that the consumption of eggs, as part of a healthy, balanced diet, does not cause a significant increase in blood cholesterol in the majority of the population. An exception applies to those who have a particular sensitivity to cholesterol and who must pay attention to their intake of fat and cholesterol.

Good for the eyes


According to current findings, the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are contained in the egg yolk, reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness in the elderly. A 12-week study showed that the consumption of six eggs a week, for the duration of the trial, resulted in an increase of zeaxanthin in the blood and in the optical density of the macular pigment, which reduces the effects of exposure to sunlight.

Conclusion


Eggs are valuable suppliers of nutrients and contain almost everything the body needs. A chicken egg does nourish a growing animal, after all. The consumption of eggs is an important contribution to a healthy, balanced diet. Those with congenital cholesterol sensitivity should, however, take care to moderate their intake of cholesterol and fats..

For further reading on the subject of eggs, we recommend the following links: www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs or
heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol-and-diet.


The Kornspitz team is always there for you. If you have any questions, requests, suggestions or tips, please send an email to marketing@kornspitz.com.

Mag. Gerda Reimann-Dorninger
Nutrition Scientist

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