Nutritional Benefit of Eggs
Dr. Will Cole has spent years treating patients for different health issues, and has prioritized food as medicine, aligning with Daily Dose’s philosophy serendipitously. He doesn’t believe in dieting as a trend, but rather as an individually-designed, realistic, science-based plan that will help someone live their healthiest life. Chronic illness and dieting are out; science-based eating habits are now in.
In a recent blog from Dr. Cole’s website, he brings up the infamous egg debate — are they good or are they bad? Some say that eggs are an unhealthy source of saturated fat while another side says eggs are a superfood that people aren't talking about enough.
So which side does Dr. Cole stand on this debate?
Are eggs a nutritional superfood?
Dr. Will Cole states in his recent blog about the topic that, "When it comes to the debate over eggs, I’d be remiss if I didn't start out with the fact that eggs contain a lot of beneficial, healthy nutrients. With 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat, and only about 80 calories, an egg is incredibly nutrient-dense. In addition to protein and fat, an egg also contains — 6% of the RDA of vitamin A, 5% of the RDA of folate, 7% of the RDA of vitamin B5, 9% of the RDA of vitamin B12, 15% of the RDA of vitamin B2, 9% of the RDA of phosphorus, 22% of the RDA of selenium, and 100 mg of choline."
That 100 milligrams of choline in an egg is an important nutrient, working to support cell membranes and ultimately, helping with your body's metabolism.
But isn't the cholesterol in egg yolks bad for you?
In Dr. Cole's blog, he talks about the historical debate of eggs revolving around the cholesterol in the egg's yolk. It became common for people to only introduce egg whites into their diet, and just throw the egg yolk in the trash (or save it for baking at a later date!). Throwing out the yolk, however, would be throwing out the majority of an eggs nutrients. Dr. Cole explains that "studies have shown that consuming eggs has been linked to positive changes in LDL and an increase in HDL, which is known as “good” cholesterol."
So, realistically, eggs, and egg yolks specifically, are doing more good for the body. "Not only do egg yolks contain nutrients that alter cholesterol levels in healthy ways, they also contain other nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that can benefit many aspects of health," Dr. Cole says. "Studies have shown that eating 1.3 egg yolks per day for almost 5 week led to significant increases in blood levels of these two antioxidants."
Are eggs healthy for everyone?
Short answer — no. Just like any other food, eggs aren't going to be the best choice for everyone's diet. While eggs do have impressive health benefits, it's also common for people to have sensitivities or allergies to this superfood. These reactions can range from just a simple stuffy nose, to more serious reactions like vomiting and skin rashes. His Functional Medicine Clinic offers food sensitivity testing that can determine if eggs are a healthy addition to someone's diet or not. His book The Inflammation Spectrum has a food plan that helps to eliminate common problem foods, healing the gut so you can look and feel your best again.
What kinds of eggs are best?
If you have a sensitivity to eggs, it's possible that the sensitivity is actually to the food being fed to the laying hens — not the eggs, themselves. When you buy conventionally-raised eggs, you're buying eggs from chickens that have been fed canola and soybean-based grains and grain by-products; and truthfully, you'll never actually know what the ingredients were in the feed those chickens ate.
Similar to Dr. Cole, we recommend buying eggs from your local farmers market, or even your local farm stand (if you're near one!). When buying locally and directly, you can ask your farmer about the way the chicken was not only fed, but how they were raised. Which brings up the next distinction between eggs — pasture-raised vs conventionally-raised. Eggs with no label on them (examples of labels include cage-free, free-range, and pasture-raised) are going to be raised conventionally — this means that the chickens have very little room to move and grow, and are grown in disease-festering warehouse. Opt for eggs that are pasture-raised — this means the each chicken has at least 108 square feet to roam around on, and they live on a healthy, nutrient-dense pasture. Buying eggs from pastured chickens are not only better for you, they're better for the planet.
So are eggs healthy?
Per Dr. Cole's blog:
At the end of the day, the answer to the question “Are eggs healthy, or not?” depends on your individual health and nutritional needs. For most people, eggs are a great, nutrient-dense food that is high in protein and healthy fats. For some, eggs are not recommended. As with most nutrition debates, our time would be better spent asking the question: “Are eggs a good choice for me?”
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.
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