Eggs Facts

Eggs have had a rotten reputation over the last few decades, but how much of it has been fair? Helen Sandstrom unscrambles the evidence and finds that it’s flipped in eggs’ favour

Satiety Losing weight could be as simple as having two eggs for brekkie. Researchers at Louisiana State University found overweight women who ate two eggs for breakfast at least five days a week lost 65% more weight than women who ate a bagel equal in kilojoules for breakfast. The research confirms an earlier 2005 study that concluded when women ate an egg-based breakfast, they reported greater feelings of satiety and consumed fewer kilojoules over 36 hours than when they ate a bagel instead.

Eye health The body is better able to absorb more eye-healthy lutein – important in preventing macular degeneration – from eggs than from other dietary sources, according to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) study that compared eggs, cooked spinach and supplements. “The absorption from eggs was three times greater than from the other sources,” according to Dr Elizabeth Johnson, a research scientist at the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Centre on Ageing.

Protein “Eggs have the highest-quality protein of all foods,” says dietitian Sharon Natoli, director of Food & Nutrition Australia. Their “biological value” – a measurement used to determine how efficiently protein is used for growth – is 93.7. The biological values for milk, fish, beef and rice respectively are 84.5, 76, 74.3 and 64.

Cholesterol Although eggs are high in dietary cholesterol, most of their fat is the healthy unsaturated type, including omega-3. This is one reason why research shows little relationship between egg intake and heart disease. “Dietary saturated fat has the greatest effect on blood cholesterol levels, not the dietary cholesterol found in eggs,” says Wanda Howell, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona, who has analysed more than 200 studies on cholesterol.

For every 1% increase in kilojoules from saturated fat, there is a 2% increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. “Most people are what we call compensators,” says Professor Howell. “They can eat dietary cholesterol and compensate by reducing the amount of cholesterol made in the liver.”

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