Seize the day, crack an egg?

by ir. Yvana van den Hork

In the past week, a discussion started between a dietician-foodie and a paleo/fitness-foodie, who embraced eating eggs without really giving a lot of arguments. The dietician wrote a critical article (in Dutch) to show the flaws of that bold statement.

For the past decades, the main argument against overconsumption of eggs has been how eggs are a major source of dietary cholesterol and as such would have a negative impact on heart health. As we wrote just two weeks ago in the article on atherosclerosis, homocystein level is a superior predictor of poor heart health, while cholesterol is a very weak one.
Also, the amount of dietary cholesterol barely impacts cholesterol levels in your body as your body is a self-regulatory organ. A lower intake of dietary cholesterol leads to a higher production and vice versa, unless you have a heredetary trait and your body keeps pumping out cholesterol regardless of intake.

No, the only real fly in the ointment is the observation a higher egg consumption increases the risk for diabetes mellitus. How did this come about?
Well, it appears that our national 'Health Council (Gezondheidsraad) which creates the dietary guidelines for the Dutch Nutrition Centre is very heavily influenced by American nutritional research.
As anyone who has ever been to the USA, will have observed, the lifestyle of Americans is quite different from the lifestyle of Dutch and for that matter, most European citizens.
For once, unlike most of us, it is not uncommon for Americans to eat breakfast away from home. Just like in an English breakfast, an egg-based dish will be an essential part of such an all-American meal. A meal which contains enough calories to substain you for the rest of the day. When you also take into consideration that for most, this won't be the only meal of the day and Americans are the world's biggest consumers of softdrinks while moving around by car mostly, this is a direct road towards diabetes.

Three researchers who wondered whether eggs were wrongfully blamed for being a cause of diabetes, decided to do a meta-analysis on research done on eggs and occurrence of diabetes both inside the USA and in all other countries in no less than 200 000 individuals.
For Americans, there seemed to be a relation, with a 39% higher risk for diabetes mellites.
However, outside the USA there was no such relation and it appears the relation that seemed to exist was sheer coincidence because egg-loving Americans are apparently also fond of eating junkfood.

If you have no moral restraints against eating eggs and don't suffer from egg-allergy, we invite you to crack an egg. Do make sure it is a fresh one if you like to live dangerously and eat a soft-boiled egg, as a risk for salmonella infection is real, albeit small.

Finally, if you wonder whether eating eggs can help with fat loss?
It depends on how many calories you consume. When you are (borderline) obese, lowering carbohydrate intake and an increased protein consumption will most likely be your best bet, because this will automatically led to a lowered calorie-intake. Especially when you don't add too many (yummy!) calories that invite you to overeat: add vegetables, legumes or berries, NOT bacon!
People, who are very active and already have a low body fat, a higher carbohydrate consumption is best, they will need to consume low glycemic foods such as legumes and (sweet) potatoes to maintain performance and support a well-functioning thyroid.
When they want to lose fat out of vanity or because they need to weigh in for competition, they will have to embrace a diet in which carbohydrates and fats are balanced and as a consequence, need to consume less egg yolks and more egg whites.

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