Eggs—omelets, quiches, scrambles, frittatas and more—are a delicious and satisfying part of Atkins for many of you. And I’m sure you’ve read that the poor egg has been accused of raising cholesterol levels and increasing health risks. Not true. In reality, eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume. One large egg provides 6 grams of high-quality, easily digested protein and all the essential amino acids.
Eggs are also a significant source of a number of vitamins and minerals. The yolk of a large egg has about 4 to 5 grams of fat, mainly the unsaturated type, and also contains choline, an important substance necessary for fat breakdown and brain function. Eggs also provide high-quality protein at a lower cost than many other animal-protein foods. And research continues to show that eggs are a perfectly acceptable part of your daily meal plan.
In new analysis published this month in BMJ, researchers reviewed eight studies including 263,938 subjects and concluded that eating up to an egg a day does not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.
More Good News
A large body of research over five decades has revealed no association between eating eggs and heart disease. Here are some of the highlights:
- No impact on cholesterol or triglycerides or blood. Research by A. I. Qureshi et al., published in Medical Science Monitor in 2007, involving 9,500 overweight but otherwise healthy adults showed that eating one or more eggs a day had no impact on cholesterol or triglyceride levels and didn’t increase the subjects’ risk of heart disease or stroke. There also appears to be an association between egg consumption and decreased blood pressure.
- Enhanced weight loss. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2008 by J. S. Vander Wal et al., subjects who ate eggs also lost more weight and felt more energetic than subjects who ate a bagel for breakfast. Both groups were on reduced-calorie diets, and the egg and the bagel breakfasts both contained the same number of calories.
- Enhanced satiety. Research published in 2005 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, by J. S. Vander Wal et al., indicated that individuals who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and were likely to consume fewer calories at lunchtime. Compared to the bagel eaters, egg eaters lost 65 percent more weight and had a 51 percent greater reduction in BMI.
- Increase in “good” cholesterol. Finally, a 2008 study led by G. Mutungi, published in The Journal of Nutrition, that compared the results of following the Atkins Diet both with and without eggs found that eating three eggs a day is associated with a greater increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
So go ahead and enjoy your breakfast—or lunch or dinner—of eggs in all their wondrous variety, without a smidgen of guilt.