Eat eggs to cut risk of heart disease? It just doesn’t sound right after all the years we have been told to avoid eggs. But that’s how food technology works. Before it can get people to throw out the real foods that have kept their ancestors healthy for hundreds of years and substitute the fake foods created by food technologists, they have to create a campaign to convince you that those foods are your enemies.
The negative campaign against eggs has been long lived and filled with disinformation, but recent research is documenting that eating eggs provides tremendous health benefits and can cut risk of heart disease significantly. A newly published study from the University of Connecticut provides useful information for anyone with heart disease or metabolic syndrome. These diseases are associated with reductions in plasma levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful carotenoids found in eggs.
The researchers investigated the effects of eating whole eggs on plasma and lipoprotein carotenoids in participants with metabolic syndrome. Participants consumed either 3 whole eggs per day, or the equivalent amount of yolk-free egg substitute, for 12 weeks. The egg eaters had a significant increase in levels of plasma and lipoprotein lutein and zeaxanthin, while those eating the egg substitutes did not. The research team concluded that egg yolk represents an important food source that can cut risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Eggs are a rich source of betaine, an alkaloid that promotes optimal hydration in cells and is a methyl donor. Researchers from the Netherlands have reported that betaine lowers levels of homocysteine, a non-protein amino acid that is damaging to blood vessel walls and is considered important in creating high risk of heart disease. In those who have excessively high levels of homocysteine, betaine significantly lowered plasma total homocysteine concentrations by up to 75%.
Much of the negative press about eggs has centered on scaring people with the idea that eating eggs raises cholesterol levels, which in turn raises risk of heart disease. But this has not turned out to be true.
Researchers recently used data from the latest National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey to compare the nutritional intake of diets that contained eggs with those that did not. They found that dietary cholesterol was not related to serum cholesterol concentration. In fact, it appeared to be the reverse. People who reported eating 4 eggs per week had a significantly lower mean serum cholesterol concentration that those who reported eating 1 egg per week.
Additionally, daily nutrient intake in people who consumed eggs was significantly greater than in those who did not eat eggs, for almost every nutrient studied. Eggs provided substantial amounts of vitamins A, B6, B12, E and folate, as well as protein, carotenoids and choline.
What else do eggs have to offer?
The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are protective of the eyes, particular from exposure to ultraviolet light. Adequate dietary intake of these carotenoids is linked to a 20% reduction in the risk of cataracts, and a 40% reduction in risk for age-related macular degeneration.
Eggs are loaded with choline, which although it is classified with the B vitamins is really an amine. Choline is a required nutrient for humans that is essential for normal growth and function of all cells in the body. Choline affects nerve signaling, lipid transport and metabolism, and brain development.
Choline is critical to the developing fetus. Research suggests that optimal levels of choline improve brain functioning and greater lifelong memory capabilities. This need for choline during early brain development is similar to the need for folate during the gestation period.
What’s in Egg Beaters and why are they so popular?
Each of the nutrients mentioned above is found in the yolk of the egg. The white of the egg is pure albumen, and contains about 50% of the protein found in eggs, but none of the other nutrients. Allergies to eggs are most often to the egg white, not the yolk. In addition to true allergic reactions, there are many who have a food reaction to egg whites.
So when you throw away the yolk and use only the egg white, you are in effect throwing away the baby and keeping the bathwater. But this is good for food technology companies that make such things as Egg Beaters. They get to sell the yolks you don’t want to someone else, and then charge you a hefty price for what’s left over. This increases their profit margin substantially.
So what’s in those egg substitutes that fear advertizing has made so popular? Egg Beaters are mostly just egg whites, which gives them 50% of the protein found in whole eggs, and none of the other nutrients. They get their taste and consistency from the addition of two vegetables gums, xanthan gum and guar gum.
Xanthan gum is made by fermenting corn sugar (probably GMO) with the bacteria that creates black spots on broccoli and cauliflower. Guar gum comes from the endosperm of guar beans. Both these gums create a slimy goo that when added to other ingredients gives them a plumping and smoothing affect. These gums have no nutritional value and are added to Egg Beaters to to extend shelf life as well as improve consistency. It is assumed that these gums pass right through your digestive tract. However, they have a laxative effect and can often lead to flatulence.
Since egg whites are notorious for being tasteless, flavorings and “spices” are added to Egg Beaters to make them palatable. The word “spices” is a disguise for monosodium glutamate (MSG), a potent neurotoxin.
Then because there is no nutritive value in Egg Beaters beyond protein, synthetic vitamins are added. Synthetic vitamins do not perform the same functions in the human body as vitamins that come from real food. Synthetic vitamins deplete the body of other nutrients and place a strain on the kidneys before being excreted through urine.
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