Myths and Facts about Egg Consumption
It may seem paradoxical, but in spite of the fact that eggs are a natural, complete, and nutritious food, they have been filled with controversy. In fact, this has occurred to the point that many people don’t even eat them because they’re considered harmful. At present, the controversy about egg consumption remains rooted in consumer beliefs.
Some fallacies that have been built around this food are that it significantly increases cholesterol. Others treat it as the king of cooking and sports, going so far as to consume it raw, thinking that this is the best way to make the most out of this nutritious food.
Stay with us so you can learn about the myths and facts that exist surrounding this important food based on science. That way, you can confidently incorporate it into your diet!
Myths about egg consumption: Are raw eggs more nutritious?
This is false.
Many people, especially athletes, believe that eating raw eggs will increase their protein intake or make better use of the egg white and yolk. However, consuming eggs in these conditions can cause three major health problems:
- A gastrointestinal intoxication known as salmonellosis. This disease causes diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and vomiting 12 to 72 hours after infection. It’s caused by pathogenic bacteria Salmonella which can be found in chicken feces. For that reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given a series of recommendations to avoid this infection. Eggs should be kept refrigerated and properly disinfected. Also, they should not be stored for more than 3 weeks.
- It decreases the egg’s digestibility. Contrary to popular belief, raw eggs are actually more difficult to digest. The reason is that the raw protein is coiled and its amino acids are tightly bound. However, when cooked, heat breaks the bonds.
- The biotin present in the egg can’t be used by the body. Avidin is a protein found in egg whites and its function is to trap the vitamin biotin to prevent bacterial growth. However, it’s considered an anti-nutrient, since by trapping the vitamin, it cannot be absorbed. Heat inactivates avidin and releases biotin.
Should you avoid eating eggs if you notice a red or brown spot?
This is false.
Red or brown spots are nothing more than some detached cells or a blood vessel that breaks at the time of laying. However, this doesn’t mean that the egg is damaged or fertilized. Moreover, there’s actually no problem with eating a fertile egg, since its nutritional value and properties remain the same. A red or brown spot may just be a bit unpleasant to look at, and that’s it!
If you find one of these spots in your egg, you can simply remove it with the tip of a fork. The presence of stains affects the egg’s grade A classification, but as Coutts and Wilson point out, this doesn’t mean that they should be discarded.
Should I remove the egg membrane?
The membrane is part of the thickened white, and its function is to keep the yolk retained in the center of the white.
It’s like a safety measure for the embryo in the case of fertilized eggs. However, nothing happens if we consume it. Besides, we would be discarding proteins of the best quality if we threw it out!
Should I wash the eggshell before consuming an egg to prevent contamination?
No. You should simply discard it.
The eggshell contains a protective membrane against contamination by microorganisms. It also regulates the entry and exit of air and moisture from the outside to the inside and vice versa.
This membrane is known as a cuticle. When we wash the eggs, it detaches from the shell and we decrease their shelf life. That’s why it’s only recommended to rub them gently with a damp cloth to maintain their freshness. Don’t wash them.
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Myths about egg consumption: The blonder the better?
This is another myth.
In fact, as the previously mentioned study by Coutts and Wilson makes clear, shell color can be white or brown, as it depends on the breed of the hen and the concentration of pigments deposited. However, the color doesn’t affect the quality or nutritional properties.
The intensity and different levels of shell coloration depend on the individual condition of the hens, but not on the feed or farming system.
Should eggs be kept refrigerated and without temperature changes?
This is true.
In fact, the FDA recommends buying them refrigerated and storing them in their original carton at around 4 degrees Celsius (about 40 degrees Fahrenheit) while avoiding temperature changes. On the other hand, storage conditions can cause the egg to lose freshness. They should be kept between 1 and 10 degrees Celsius (35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit), but never frozen.
The jump from low to high temperatures can condense water on the shell and favor the entry of bacteria, mold, and moisture through the pores.
Do eggs increase cholesterol levels?
This isn’t true.
In fact, the Institute for Egg Studies clarifies this. Until the end of the last century, health officials often limited egg intake to 3 eggs per week because of their high cholesterol content. However, it’s now known that blood cholesterol levels are only minimally affected by cholesterol that enters through this food.
Increased cholesterol depends more on genetics, body weight and lifestyle, such as exercise and smoking. Meanwhile, it’s saturated and hydrogenated fats that can increase harmful cholesterol or LDL.
On the other hand, eggs contain more unsaturated fats than saturated fats and a medium-sized egg provides only 200 milligrams of cholesterol. The body produces between 800 to 1500 milligrams per day and uses 50% of the dietary cholesterol.
The lecithin in the yolk interferes with its absorption, causing little effect on blood cholesterol. The Heart Foundation, after analyzing several studies, therefore increased ther recommended egg consumption to 6 or 7 units per week.
Is it bad to eat the yolk of the egg?
This is a myth.
The yolk is the part of the egg with the greatest variety of nutrients.
Proteins are found in greater proportion than in the white and it’s full of antioxidant carotenoids that give it its yellow color, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Vitamin A, polyunsaturated fat and cholesterol stand out among its nutrients.
On the other hand, yolk is an excellent vehicle for minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Other vitamins to highlight in the yolk are water-soluble vitamins, such as B12, B6, B1, choline, and folic acid.
Myths about egg consumption: Are eggs really fattening?
This is impossible!
Eggs only provide 75 calories per unit, although this depends on how they are cooked and how they’re prepared, of course.
In this regard, the Latin American Egg Institute has published on the satiety-inducing power of the food. The high protein concentration is related to this finding. When eaten in substitution of a sweet breakfast, they help regulate blood sugar levels in the course of the morning. The person therefore can feel full for longer and there’s less need to eat.
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Is it better to eat eggs at night?
You can eat them at any time with confidence. When you’re on a low-calorie diet to lose weight, it’s often suggested that this food be included in the last meal because of its effect on reducing appetite.
Of course, you should always take care of the cooking method. For example, it’s recommended to eat poached, poached, or soft-boiled eggs at night. This makes them less caloric without varying their nutritional value.
Are eggs considered a superfood?
This is true.
The egg yolk contains certain active components such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidant carotenoids linked to good visual health. This beneficial contribution is reinforced by the presence of vitamin A.
Other components that allow it to be declared as a superfood are peptides and phospholipids that act in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as arterial hypertension, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.