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What Eggsactly is the Deal With Eggs and Health?



Photo: Shutterstock

Jefferson Dietician Cracks the Case

One-minute eggs are a healthy diet choice. The next they are not. Then they are again. Cathy Ricker, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, clinical dietician at Jefferson University Hospital, gives eggs the once-over to make it easy to figure out the health effects of a favorite breakfast food.

First: the known health value of eggs. They are full of protein and amino acids, Ricker says. For only 75 calories each, they contain 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, with just 1.5 grams saturated fat. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals—including iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, folate, and carotenoid, which is very good for the eyes.

But what about cholesterol? Eggs have been found to have a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels. While it’s advised not to down a dozen at a time, for the most part, eggs are healthy, and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Of course the way you prepare your eggs could fowl up the positive health benefits.

“You want to be mindful of how much butter or oil you are using to cook the egg, as well as how much sodium you’re consuming when you top it with salt,” she says. Favorite omelette ingredients such as cheese, bacon, and ham can add more than just a paltry amount of unhealthy fats and sodium.

The healthiest ways to prepare your eggs is hard-boiled and poached, according to Ricker, who also suggests egg-white omelettes with veggies to make your meal more low-fat and nutrient-dense.

Ricker warns never to add raw egg whites into your morning smoothie—there is no nutritional benefit, and it puts you at risk for the foodborne illness salmonella. And that’s no yolk!