One of nutrition science’s greatest travesties has been to wrongly link eggs to high cholesterol and heart disease. It made eggs villains when they’re actually one of nature’s top nutritional packages. Professor Manny Noakes, Research Director of the CSIRO’s Nutrition and Health program, explains why eggs are the perfect food for anyone who trains.
An egg contains all the ingredients to make life. Fitting into the protein food group that includes chicken, meat and fish, eggs contains about 6-7 grams of protein, plus 11 vitamins and minerals. But what’s unusual is that they include super healthy, long chain omega-3 fats like those found in oily fish. They also contain folate, a critical vitamin used by the body to make cells and DNA.
Make you feel fuller
Eggs generate a feeling of satiety, helping control hunger. They’re perfect for a fitness plan designed to help you lose fat and increase muscle, in which you don’t want to be overdoing the calories.
How many a day?
If a serve of chicken is 100 grams, the equivalent would be two eggs. If you don’t eat chicken, meat or fish, then you could have up to six eggs per day.
Free range vs caged
There’s no difference in the nutritional content of free range eggs and caged eggs, unless the chickens are being fed different diets, which can result in different coloured yolks. But as far as protein, vitamins and minerals go, they are generally the same.
It’s possible to use eggs as your main protein source if you also consume a lot of vegetables, dairy or dairy alternatives and whole grains. The closest to an egg-only eating pattern is lacto-ovo vegetarianism, which is perfectly sensible and nutritious.
Big eggs vs small eggs
With your local supermarket stocking eggs of all sizes, choose the big eggs. That’s because they will have more egg white, which means more protein. Otherwise, large and small eggs have the same nutritional content.
No to raw eggs
Don’t eat raw eggs. That’s because salmonella can live on the shell and contaminate the contents inside.
Best way to cook eggs
Most of the nutrients in eggs aren’t affected by cooking, with the exception of folate. Lightly poached is ideal. Scrambled is also good, but can be unpleasant if the egg is overcooked. Frying in a little bit of olive oil is fine. When it comes to egg dishes, frittatas are great: there are many recipes that you can just break an egg into and have a whole meal, such as a casserole with lentils.