I am a huge fan of eggs due to their protein quality. For avid exercisers and weight conscious individuals, the egg can provide valuable nutrition. As a source of protein, the egg white provides all essential amino acids, which are easily digestible. So what is the problem? The egg yolk provides a substantial amount of cholesterol. Who needs all that cholesterol? Just remember 1 egg yolk is equivalent to your recommended daily intake of cholesterol.
If you love egg yolks, the American Heart Association recommends that you limit your intake to 2 or 3 yolks per week. Recent research suggests that consuming 3 or more egg yolks is almost equivalent to smoking cigarettes in relationship to atherosclerosis, a condition of arterial plaque. This cardiovascular risk increases over time (years) whether you smoke or consume egg yolks frequently. The study analyzed data from 1231 men and women with a mean age of 61.5 year to determine risk. Bottom line was that regular egg yolk consumption ( >3 per week) inferred a risk 2/3 of smoking, especially for those individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
If you love eggs, you should practice a ratio of 1 whole egg to 2 egg whites or change to an egg alternative. Options include Eggbeaters®, only using the egg white of the egg (discard the yolk), or use a 100% egg white substitute (I buy mine at Sam’s Club). You can also substitute egg alternatives in recipes without compromising the result. You may not be able to enjoy the egg over easy (not recommend due to risk of Salmonella but oh so good!), however, you can indulge in a great and nutritious breakfast or snack of egg white omelets or muffins (see recipe below).
Egg “Muffins” Recipe
Muffin Pan (6 or 12 cups)
Nonstick Olive Oil Spray
100% Egg Whites or Eggbeaters®
Ingredients as desired: Onions, Green peppers, spices (pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic or onion powder, etc.), spinach, mushrooms, or whatever vegetable sounds delicious
Lean meat if desired (chopped Canadian bacon, chopped turkey pepperoni, bacon bits)
Shredded cheese (low-fat or soy variety is optimal)
Grease/Spray muffin cups. Mix desired spices into egg mixture. Fill muffin cup (?to ¾ full) with mixture. Add desired ingredients and/or cheese. Bake at 350°F until egg is fully cooked (insert toothpick or knife and should exit clean), approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days. Microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds and serve. Serve with whole grains and/or potato.
By Larissa T Brophy, MS, RD, LD
Tags: AHA, cutting calories, dietitian, Eggbeaters, eggs, health, heart disease, losing weight, Nutrition, protein, RD, Recipe Modification, registered dietitian, Setting Goals, weight loss, weight loss tips