Ah, eggs! People love them so much that they have become one of the most important ingredient our diet. Millions of people eat them everyday for breakfast or as a part of their everyday diet. Probably eggs were among the first things people started to eat in the prehistoric era and they have nutrients that are vital for our daily food. Eggs even became part of our culture, most noticeably at Easter.
Over 79 billion eggs are consumed each year in the U.S. alone. Nevertheless eggs have been a target to some strong hate during the past decade or so. The main reason is the yolk, which many believe to be harmful to our bodies. The biggest problem, according to those who taunt egg yolks unhealthy, is the cholesterol. Egg Whites have exactly 0 mg of it, and yolk contains roughly 185 mg. of it, which is about 65% of the recommended dosage for a grown person. This means that many people around the world leave their home in the morning having consumed way more than their daily doze of cholesterol.
In the late 1990’s we began a war against cholesterol since it was linked to cardiovascular diseases. Media have helped greatly with spreading the fear and ultimately many people started to think twice before they ate their beloved eggs. But since it was the yolk that contained the whole cholesterol, a solution was quickly devised – use only the egg whites and throw away the sweet,sweet middle part of the egg. Thus the era of egg whites only omelets and scrambled eggs began.
But is the yolk such a demon? Are there actually scientific researches and studies that support the theories that yolk is the Hitler of all foods?
Before we answer this question first we need to talk a bit about cholesterol. Cholesterol is carried through blood vessels in particles known as lipoproteins. There are two kinds of lipoproteins in our body – Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein. The LDL is the bad one, which sticks to your blood vessels, leading to coronary heart diseases. HDL on the other hand is the good kind of cholesterol, which cleans your blood vessels form the LDL and takes them to the liver, where they can be safely decomposed, thus preventing any health hazards.
Egg yolks are known to increase LDL, but at the same time it promotes the HDL which leads to balance in your body. On the other hand our bodies protect us as well. The marvelous machine which we occupy our entire lives is a true genius, when it comes to balancing the chemicals and components of our body. This is especially true when it comes to cholesterol. Our bodies can easily adopt to the amount of cholesterol we consume. Studies have shown, that when we consume cholesterol our bodies compensate for the higher consumption with lower production, thus maintaining balance in the cholesterol levels. Researchers concluded that when you eat more cholesterol, your body will produce less, and vice versa. This fact was proven beyond doubt with an extreme case from 1991 when a 88 year old man had been eating 25 eggs per day and no changes to his cholesterol levels had been detected.
Studies have shown that consuming egg yolks is generally safe, except for the cases when a person is already predisposed to coronary heart disease, dealing with type two diabetes or have an outstandingly bad diet to begin with. If you by any chance are part of one of those groups, yolks can still be a part of your diet, but you must be careful with them.
On the other hand people who avoid yolks all together are missing on a small gem of nutrients that is this yellow delicacy. The yolk is packed with a tone of minerals, vitamins and nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, copper,manganese, choline, phosphorus, thiamine, vitamins B,5,6,9 and 12 as well as vitamin A,D,K,E and omega 3 fatty acids. Probably the most important of all though is Leucine, which is the primary amino acid for muscle growth. The only downside of yolks are calories. One yolk is around 18g. (for L sized eggs in the US (M in EU)). In this 18g it contains 55 kcal, and since we usually eat 2 or more eggs we tend to forget that 3 eggs which has 54g. of yolk contain around 10% of our daily calorie intake. So if you want to lose weight than eggs yolks are probably not the best food for you.
Otherwise enjoy those delicious yellow balls of wonder and don’t mind the fear mongering media outbursts. Yolks are perfectly healthy for you.