Eggs - Good? or Bad? Unscrambling the egg myths.

April 1, 2019

By: Holly Gabriel, AfN Registered Associate Nutritionist 

 

We now have access to all sorts, duck, chicken, quail, even ostrich eggs are available in some supermarkets.  Not to mention Easter eggs!

 

Over the years official advice has changed dramatically over the years from limit to three a week, avoid eating raw eggs, to the trend of only eating the egg whites... so what is the truth?

 

Last week, The Times newspaper declared “Are eggs bad for your health again?” Their story was in reference to a new study claiming that eating three eggs a week is dangerous and increases your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke.

 

Researchers state this is due to the presence of dietary cholesterol within the egg yolk which was previously believed to raise cholesterol in your blood. Evidence suggests that this is not the case as we now know that it is saturated fat (fats that are solid at room temperature) that raise your cholesterol and should be eaten in moderation.

 

There are many reported limitations to this study and it is safe to say there is no need to change your egg eating habit based on the findings.

 

FAQ:

 

What are the recommendations?

 

The current UK guidance is that there is no limit to the amount of eggs we should consume.

 

 

Why should we eat eggs?

 

They are a source of protein which is essential for our bodies to grow and repair as well vitamins and minerals such as vitamins D, A, B2, B12 and folate and iodine.

 

Due to the improvements of welfare and hygiene standards in the UK it is now safe to eat raw or slightly cooked hen eggs so you can attempt those tricky souffles without worrying. Make sure to look out for the British Lion stamp to be sure they are safe.

 

 

What can we use them for?

 

Eggs are a versatile food, apart from poached, boiled, scrambled and in omelette form there are many other options, try some of these recipes:

 

 

Can I eat eggs every day?

 

The simple answer is yes. There is no limit to the amount of eggs you can eat.  Just ensure you are eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains, be mindful about adding fat as this may increase the saturated fat content.

 

 

Are whites better than yolks?

 

The trend of eating egg white omelettes is not going anywhere and while, yes, the whites are lower in saturated fat and higher in protein than the yolks, the yolks are nutrient dense and where most of the vitamins and minerals are. Eggs can be enjoyed as yolks, whites or both!

 

 

I’m pregnant, can I eat eggs?

 

Yes, eggs are safe to consume when you are pregnant.  If you are consuming raw or partially cooked eggs make sure that they are from hens, not duck or quail etc, and they have the British Red Lion mark to ensure they are safe.

 

 

Should I include them when weaning or feed them to young children? What about allergies?

 

From around six months old it is absolutely fine to give eggs to babies and children. Look for the Red Lion mark to ensure they are safe for the whole family.

 

 

How should I store them?

 

This tends to split opinion but to be safe store eggs in the fridge and remove them 30 minutes before you want to use them. Remember to wash your hands after handling eggs and egg shells. It is best to eat eggs before their best before date to ensure they are safe to eat.

 

 

References:

 

Egg Info: Storage and handling 

 

Are eggs bad for your health again. Article in The Times. 19th March 2019

 

NHS Eat Well: The healthy way to eat eggs. January 2018.

 

Eggs and health: unscrambling the message.  Article in The Conversation. 19th March 2019

 

 

Many thanks to Holly Gabriel, AfN Registered Associate Nutritionist, who prepared this article.  

 

 

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