Whole eggs: dietary evil or the new superfood?


QUESTION:

I’m really confused about eggs. I’m not sure if you’re going
to be able to answer this or not, but to me and I’m sure others
it’s a very confusing and important topic. I only use egg
whites because I did believe that the yolks are bad because
of cholesterol and saturated fat. But with the studies coming
out saying we are missing all of the best nutrients by throwing
the yolks out it is very confusing. Could you please help
clarify this issue?

Mike

ANSWER:

It’s overly simplistic to say that the saturated or animal fats
cause heart disease. It’s even more simplistic and incorrect
to say that foods high in dietary cholesterol such as egg yolks,
will always lead to an increase in cholesterol in the blood.

Many other factors are involved, including the type of saturated fat,
individual genetics, current health status, exercise and the big
picture of what else is consumed in the rest of the diet.

Recent research has been showing that the cholesterol in eggs is
handled by most people’s bodies in a way that doesn’t cause heart
disease and that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily translate
to increased blood cholesterol or an unfavorable ratio of HDL to LDL
cholesterol.

Dr. Udo Erasumus in his book, Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill,
said that “In 70% of the affluent populations of the world,
increased cholesterol consumption decreases cholesterol
production in the body through a regulating feedback system
that protects them. The other 30% of the population may not
have adequate feedback, and are wise to limit their dietary
cholesterol consumption.”

After a recent study published in The Journal Of Nutrition, Dr. Robert
Nicolosi at the University of Massachusetts said, “Our data show that
eating an egg a day isn’t a factor for raising cholesterol.”

A study reported at the 2006 experimental biology meeting in San
Francisco made similar findings. The researchers discovered that
when people ate three or more eggs per day, the amount of low density
lipoprotein (LDL) in their bloodstream did in fact increase as
previously reported.

However they also found that the subjects actually made bigger LDL
particles which were less likely to enter artery walls and build up
as artery-clogging plaque.

As a result of these and similar findings, head researcher Christine
Green said that a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that
eggs shouldn’t be considered a “dietary evil.”

Whole eggs have a lot going for them nutritionally speaking. The egg
yolks contain a highly bioavailable source of lutein and zeaxanthin
which are carotenoids that protect against cataracts and macular
degeneration.

Eggs are a great source of high biological value complete protein and
the protein is split almost evenly between the yolk and the white.
One large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein with 3.5 grams in the white
and 2.8 grams in the yolk.

Although whole eggs appear to have been exonerated, it may be
premature to suggest to the entire general population that eating
yolks in “unlimited quantities” is safe for ones health. 30% of
the population are hyper-responders who may experience a
potentially harmful change in blood lipids as a result of eating
dietary cholesterol.

It’s also not wise from a caloric perspective. In a fat
burning program, you need to consider calories as well
as nutritional value and health impact.

Whole eggs are not low calorie foods – they are very calorie dense,
while egg whites are extremely low in calories, which is why egg
whites are one of the top choices for lean protein on fat loss and
bodybuilding diets.

Now that this news about the health value of whole eggs is starting
to become more widely circulated, bodybuilders are getting criticized
for their long held practice of throwing away the egg yolks.

However, In all my years of training and consulting, even back
in the late 1980’s, and 1990’s I have almost never thrown away
all my yolks.

My menu plans typically contain one or two whole eggs with 8-12 egg
whites. I know that’s a lot, but that’s a man-sized bodybuilder meal.

For non bodybuilders or people with lower calorie needs, it might
be one whole egg and 3-6 whites.

Why do I do this? Because I want the high protein without so
many calories.

Take a look

3 whole large eggs: 225 calories, 18.9 g protein, 15 g fat

8 egg whites & 1 whole egg: 211 calories, 34.3 g protein, 5 g fat

Do you see what I’ve accomplished here? I didn’t remove egg
yolks because I’m afraid of cholesterol. I removed most of
the egg yolks because I was on a calorie budget and I was
on a higher protein diet and I wanted more protein with
fewer calories. Make sense?

And by the way, the reason bodybuilders use liquid eqq whites
so often is for convenience. They can pour them right into the
fry pan and they don’t have to do all that shell cracking and
egg white separating.

Let me leave you with a funny story. (I swear this is true!)

When I started bodybuilding as a teenager, I latched onto the
teachings of a bodybuilding guru trainer from North Hollywood
named Vince Gironda.

Gironda trained all the top movie stars back in his day including
Erik Estrada, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Chong, Carl “Apollo Creed”
Weathers and too many others to mention.

He was also the Trainer of bodybuilding champions such as Larry
Scott the First Mr. Olympia, and believe it or not, he was
Arnold’s first trainer when Joe Weider sent the budding young
star to America from Austria.

Gironda had been saying from day one that the whole egg was
“nature’s perfect food” and he compared them to “natural steroids.”

On some of his low carb “muscle definition” diets, he said you
could eat as many whole eggs as you wanted and even scramble
them in butter. He said that he had some of his champion bodybuilders
on up to three dozen eggs a day!

I didn’t really understand what a ketogenic diet was at the time,
but being a young, obedient, blindly-guru-following teenage
bodybuilder, desperate for muscle, I did what he said. I ate up
to 3 dozen whole eggs a day for months on end.

Well, there was no miraculous steroid-like effect, but I didn’t
drop dead of a heart attack either.

On a slightly off tangent note, I DID NOT LOSE FAT like Gironda
said I would.

The reason should be obvious: three dozen whole eggs is 2700
calories (more if you use extra large or jumbo eggs). I was
at nearly maintenance calories from the eggs alone, and eggs
weren’t the only thing I was eating.

Gironda, like many other low carb gurus, did not place any
restrictions on calories, only on foods. That was the flaw
in that program. Even on low carb diets, you STILL need a
caloric deficit to burn bodyfat.

Thus, my approach changed and I started removing yolks to keep
me more easily within my caloric deficit without losing the
quality protein.

However, to this day, I still keep one or two yolks in my
omelettes and scrambles… sometimes more, as long as it
fits in my calorie budget.

Get crackin!

Train hard and expect success,

Tom Venuto

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