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Real Food Challenge Day 6

Ok, let’s talk about eggs.

Question: Don’t I have to limit my egg intake to avoid high cholesterol?

Answer: More recent research on cholesterol seems to indicate that the role of dietary cholesterol on blood cholesterol and the importance of blood cholesterol on risk of heart disease have been grossly overestimated.  In other words, the consensus (I use this word loosely) is now that dietary cholesterol doesn’t have all that much impact on blood cholesterol and it turns out that blood cholesterol isn’t a very good indicator of whether you’re going to die from heart disease.  So the short answer is eggs probably won’t give you a heart attack.

Question: Should I eat the yolk?

Answer: As it turns out most of the nutrients are in the yolk.  Some nutritionists have said that if all Americans ate whole eggs regularly, many vitamin and mineral deficiencies could be eliminated.  The yolk does contain the bulk of the fat and calories though, so if you’re concerned about counting calories (i.e. you’re doing a figure or body building competition or you need to make weight for a sports event), you can consider sacrificing nutrients to reach your goals.  I suspect most of you don’t need to go there.

Question: What about arachidonic acid?

Answer: Yes, the egg yolk does contain arachidonic acid, with its inflammatory properties, but so do organ meats and lots of other tasty, nutritious stuff.  This brings me to special situations.  Robb Wolf explained in are recent Paleolithic Solution Podcast that eggs, being chicken embryos, have evolved protective anti-nutrient properties (much like grains and legumes) to avoid getting eaten by predators.  He suggests that people with autoimmune issues might want to try eliminating eggs.  This is a suggestion I’ve come across a lot while researching auto-immune disorders.  In any case, whether it’s the arachadonic acid or anti-nutrients, the inflammatory effect will obviously have a significant impact on those with auto-immune disorders.  If you fall in this category or suffer from any type of chronic inflammation, you can try eliminating eggs and see you how feel.  You won’t know until you try it.  For everyone else, go ahead and enjoy that omelet and take other measures to control inflammation; fish oil, lots of green veggies, berries, and avoid processed foods at all costs.

A few more links on the subject…

Health Diaries.com’s 10 Health Benefits of Eggs

CFW Food Fridays Egg Post by Kimberly

Mark’s Daily Apple’s Egg Purchasing Guide

Cholesterol and Health.com’s guide to eggs

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