Yes, Seriously: Eggs Aren't Bad for You
As someone who is constantly surrounded by magazines and infomercials that scream at you to try their brand new, fool-proof diet pills or weight-loss regime, it becomes very dreary, and sometimes, very grating, to hear of fad diets that barely work. The point of this article isn’t to bash the weight loss industry, but to criticize the general population’s wariness to eat a certain food: eggs. I’m going to be blunt and simple about this issue: it’s ridiculous. As to why the population is wary to eat eggs, it can be blamed on several factors. I could go on ridiculing the fad diets that have tried to convince people to stray away from eggs, but I’ll hopefully debunk a few myths that people (still!) have about eggs.
Myth: Eggs are bad for your cholesterol.
This is a myth that has been debunked for so long that the fact that anybody still believes this gives me a headache. Unless you’re specifically told by your doctor not to eat eggs due to certain health reasons, eggs are one of the best foods to consume for the benefit of your cholesterol. Cholesterol is made up of HDL, the ‘good’ kind of cholesterol, then LDL and VLDL, the ‘bad’ types of cholesterol that cause a myriad of health issues. Eggs promote HDL cholesterol, which prevents heart disease and other health problems.
Myth: Eggs are full of fats that aren’t good for you.
I’m going to pause for a moment and go on a side-rant and bash the American mindset that fat is bad for you. If you believe this, stop, please, because whether you like it or not, fats are important for your body to function. Fat helps you absorb essential vitamins and helps insulate your body to keep you warm. Yes, fats are high in calories- about 9 kcals per gram -but are essential to the human diet. It’s obviously not uncommon to see fat-free items loaded onto the shelves in supermarkets. Would you like to know what is being substituted for the fat in these products? Salt and sugar: probably the two worst foods you can consume while trying to eat healthfully. Granted, fats such as saturated fats are bad for your health in large moderations, and Trans fats should be avoided at all costs, as they increase the LDL in cholesterol. Yet, people seem to forget that healthy fats exist: the monounsaturated fats in olive oil, the polyunsaturated fats in certain types of nuts, and the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, are all valuable to the diet.
Eggs contain monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats. However, eggs contain more good fats rather than saturated fats, so you’re still doing your body well by eating eggs. The issue with the mindset against fats is troublesome, and while eating too many eggs can end up being detrimental, that is why there is a term called ‘moderation’. Obviously, it’s not a wise decision to eat four eggs fried in butter, piled on with cheddar cheese, every day for breakfast. The high amount of cholesterol from the butter and cheese alone will be harmful, not to mention the heavy amount of calories that will be consumed, which brings us to the following point:
Myth: Eggs are high in calories, so they must be bad for you.
I had a friend whose mother didn’t let her let eggs very often because she believed that eating eggs would cause extreme weight gain. First off, to anyone who had a mother who told them this (and I hope not): Don’t listen to her unless she’s a dietician…and if she is, get her license revoked. Then send her back to college.
Yes, one large, hardboiled egg contains around 80 calories. However, the vitamins and fats packed into an egg make the 80 calories worth consuming. Eggs contain vitamins A, D, E, and K. They are filled with calcium, zinc, and other minerals. Egg whites contain a healthy source of protein. If you aren’t eating eggs in your diet just because they’re high in calories, then you’re missing out on valuable nutrients.
Let's be realistic: America has an issue with food. Every country on Earth is well aware of the fact, as America has one of the highest obesity rates in the world. Americans don’t know how to eat ‘smart’- a breakfast that consists of eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes lathered in butter and syrup, and a large glass of orange juice, is a sufficient example of an American breakfast that isn’t going to do the person consuming that meal any justice to their health. When you eat eggs with such a high carb and high-fat meal, then of course eggs are going to get a bad reputation for being mixed in with other foods that have little nutritional value.
Moderation is also key to a good diet, another major issue to the American diet. Americans enjoy some of the biggest meals on Earth. When I went to England, meals were much smaller. It was the same deal in Sweden. In Europe, breakfast is very small- a cup of coffee and a croissant is the usual meal in many European countries. Lunch and dinner in Europe are, for the most part, packed with lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. Even lunch, the main meal of the day in many European countries, are not big in comparison to the average American dinner. It’s another issue as to why America’s values about food are so warped: we value quantity over quality. We want something cheap and quick.
So, when you have maybe two hardboiled eggs, a slice of whole grain toast, an apple, and tea, you have an example of a better thought-out meal. The example of the ‘average American breakfast’ isn’t well thought-out or balanced. Instead of putting the blame of America’s health woes on one food that may actually provide health benefits, the American population should try, just maybe , to eat some fruits and vegetables, instead of going on a two-week cabbage soup diet to fix their weight gain that developed from eating low-fat/fat-free foods that are actually loaded with salts and sugars that caused the weight gain in the first place.
So, in conclusion: eat eggs. They're cheap, tasty, and, apparently, healthy. Who knew?
Image Credit » http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2010/12/17/brown-eggs/