Some new controversy has been cooked up recently about eggs - which is a bit hard to unscramble (ok, ok - that's enough.)
Controversy over eggs is like controversy over puppies. Or a bouquet of tulips. Or the Oscar for Best Picture.... well, forget that last one.
This time, it's not the usual "there's too much cholesterol" or "only eat the white parts" - neither of which have any basis in science, by the way. Now, the concern that is being echoed on natural food sites across the internet is that particular methods of cooking eggs, scrambling them in particular, is dangerous because heating the yolk can convert the cholesterol in it into the most dangerous form of cholesterol - very low density lipoprotein (VLDL.)
In fact, on the website Terrific Fitness, an article ranks ways to prepare an egg in order from most healthy to most dangerous. They are:
- Your best option is to eat pastured and organic eggs, raw.
- Next best is soft boiled or poached with runny yolk.
- Frying your eggs in butter or coconut oil with sunny side up, soft yolk.
- Cooking with the egg with the yolk intact
- Cooking with the egg with a broken yolk
- And last on the list is scrambled or omelet.
Not only is this ranking silly - it's dead wrong.
In this list, there are two major categories - raw and cooked. The raw egg has a very small chance of hurting you. The cooked egg has even less of a chance of hurting you.
The raw egg can hurt you because some of them (a very small percentage - roughly one in 20,000 - organic or not - eggs) carry the bacterium Salmonella which can cause a stomach bug - like illness with diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain that lasts about four days to a week. The diarrhea can become severe and even life threatening for certain groups of people including the elderly, infants and people who are immunosuppressed.
The other part of the science that this theory dismisses is that, although eggs do contain cholesterol, it is not consumed in the form of LDL, HDL or VLDL. The cholesterol that is contained gets converted into LDL or HDL after it enters the body, by the liver. Given that, it doesn't matter if the egg is cooked or not. And, for the majority or people, dietary cholesterol (or the cholesterol that you get from your diet) does not affect your overall level of HDL or LDL. Your high cholesterol issue is not from your diet - it is a gift from your parents because it is inherited through genetics.
There are many great lines in this article in Terrific Fitness, but my favorite is this one,
"If however you are consuming donuts, bread, pasta, pizza, and a heap of other processed food, you smoke, drink alcohol regularly or take any hard prescription or recreational drugs, then the eating the eggs scrambled is simply going to add to your VLDL cholesterol."
So, if I am regularly smoking, drinking and doing drugs, scrambling my eggs should be my big health concern?
Oh - that is some 'terrific' fitness advice right there.
Suffice it to say, cooking foods kills bacteria that could otherwise make us sick and also makes our food more palatable.
After all - which one of these would you prefer to eat now that you know that they contain the same amount of cholesterol?
Last but not least, and this is one thing that Terrific Fitness and we agree on, eggs are full of nutrients, contain high quality protein and are not high in fat. So, please do not remove one of the most nutritious and economical foods from your diet because of a phony scare that invokes the creation of a cholesterol that will not happen.
For a more complete report on the nutritional benefits of eggs, read this 'What's the Story?" article about eggs.