Are eggs healthy or unhealthy? Eggs are a valuable source of nutrients. At the same time, egg yolks contain a lot of fat and cholesterol. In excess, both are considered to be a risk for cardiovascular diseases. So what does that mean – are eggs good or bad for health?
Everyone knows that eggs are rich in protein. What is less well known is that there is even more of it in egg yolks than in egg white. The high protein content alone does not make the egg a valuable source of protein. The decisive factor for this is its biological value: This states how well the human body can convert food protein into its own protein.
Eggs contain very high-quality and easily digestible protein: the human body can use it almost completely. For a long time, the protein in hen’s eggs was even considered to have the highest biological value.
That is why the egg is still the measure of the quality of food proteins: The biological value of the protein in whole chicken eggs is set at 100. This is the reference value for all other dietary proteins.
High-quality proteins are vital for the body: protein forms the basic building block of all human cells. So it is not surprising that eggs are the classic for building muscle in sports nutrition.
However, the biological value of dietary protein can be increased significantly by combining different foods, so that values well over 100 can also be achieved. Even people who completely avoid eggs and other animal foods can meet their protein needs. In addition, the biological value alone says little about how healthy a food is.
But apart from protein, an egg has more healthy ingredients to offer. There are various vitamins in the egg yolk. For example, vitamin A, which is important for the eyes, and B vitamins, which are involved in many metabolic processes in the body.
See also, 5 signs of lack of vitamins
In addition, eggs provide important minerals: the egg yolk contains significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and iron, while egg white contains a lot of sodium and potassium.
However, eggs also have quite a lot of calories: Even a small egg weighing around 50 grams (g) has 74.4 kilocalories (kcal). This is mainly due to its high-fat content, which is mainly due to the egg yolk. There are only traces of fat in egg white.
Egg yolks are also notorious for their high cholesterol content: an egg in weight class M (53 to less than 63 g) contains 218 to 258 milligrams (mg).
Cholesterol content is the main reason eggs have fallen into disrepute, despite their many healthy ingredients. Excessive cholesterol levels in the blood increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which are one of the most common causes of death.
The egg nutritional values at a glance
100 g egg have the following nutritional values:
- 148 kcal
- 12.4 g protein
- 8.65 g fat (total), of which
- 3.2 g of saturated fat
- 3.63 g of monounsaturated fatty acids
- 1.82 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids
- 411 mg of cholesterol
- 48 mg calcium
- 184 mg of phosphorus
- 1.67 mg iron
- 129 mg sodium
- 132 mg of potassium
- 179 µg of vitamin A.
- 2.46 µg vitamin D (= 98.4 IU)
- 0.077 mg vitamin B 1
- 0.419 mg of vitamin B 2
- 0.063 mg vitamin B 6
- 1.02 µg vitamin B 12
- 71 µg folic acid (or folate)
By the way, brown and white eggs have the same nutritional values. And the color of the egg yolk says nothing about the quality of eggs. The yolk only reveals how many yellow and red pigments (carotenoids) the chicken has ingested: the higher the carotene content of the chicken feed, the stronger the yolk color.
Eating eggs – yes or no? The bottom line
For a long time, recommendations on a low-cholesterol diet were common practice. This included the advice not to eat too many eggs. But it has been known for some time that the consumption of foods containing cholesterol has little effect on the cholesterol level.
But what does that mean for our menu – can we safely eat eggs if we want to eat healthily? Or does the amount determine whether eggs are good or bad for us?
There is no clear answer. How many eggs you eat, at least according to current knowledge, has no influence on the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors such as blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood lipid levels. That is why it is not possible to say from what amount of consumption eggs could be unhealthy.
Even so, it is certainly not advisable to stuff yourself with eggs. Especially since experts tend to recommend a predominantly plant-based diet. Because if you eat less animal-based food, you are not only doing something good for your health but also helping to protect the environment and the climate.
To facilitate the need-based supply of nutrients, you can supplement the plant-based basic food with animal foods. For example through the milk and dairy products (daily), fish (1 to 2 times a week), or meat (max. 300 to 600 g per week).
When used in moderation, eggs can also contribute to a complete diet. The German Nutrition Society (DGE), for example, recommends up to three eggs a week for a wholesome food selection.
So, now what do you think? Are eggs healthy or unhealthy?
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