Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

The Great Egg Debate

Did you know that approximately 80 million eggs are sold during the week of the Easter holiday? It should come as no surprise given that the holiday is centered around the infamous Easter egg! With that many eggs presumably consumed, it's no wonder we often blame heart disease on eggs. But are eggs really to blame? One day we are told eggs are good for us yet another day we are told to stay away from eggs. Which one is it? Are eggs really the culprit of high cholesterol and heart disease?

The confusion with eggs centers around its cholesterol content. Previously, the cholesterol found in foods has been associated with heart disease. However, research has found that saturated fat in foods has a bigger impact on blood cholesterol and heart disease. The change in recent guidelines regarding cholesterol state: "...cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption." You should note the guidelines still recommend limiting foods high in saturated fat and eating more fruits and vegetables.

There are two parts to an egg: the egg white and the yolk. The egg white is mostly protein; all of the healthy nutrients are in the egg yolk. On the package of Eggland's Best eggs, you see a lot of vitamins listed, as well as Omega 3's. If you only eat the egg whites, you are missing out on all of those good vitamins and Omega 3's. So, if you're not eating the egg yolk, you are not eating all the nutrients eggs provide. So whether your eggs are scrambled, boiled, poached or made into an omelet, the whole egg provides many health benefits.

Breaking it Down

What we have learned over the years is that the foods usually eaten along with eggs are more likely to cause heart disease. So does this mean you can't blame high cholesterol on the eggs? That's correct! It's actually the bacon, biscuits, sausage, cheese, buttery toast, orange juice, and Grande Caramel Mocha Latte that you are eating with the eggs. Or if you eat at Waffle House, the culprit may be the scattered, smothered, chunked hash browns!

A side note: if you are debating on choosing between brown shell eggs and white shell eggs-there is no nutritional difference between the two. The breed of the hen is what determines what color the egg shell will be!

Bottom line- Don't be chicken to have your eggs and eat them too!

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