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The humble egg (second to the chicken) good or bad for you?

By: Quinton de Bruin

Depending on which day of the week it is, will determine who is writing what about eggs. Not even Humpty Dumpty got this much attention! For decades now, there has been widely publicised stories about eggs and the warnings around them. The affect they have on our overall health, on cholesterol levels, heart disease and how many would be safe to consume. Since my earliest childhood memories, eggs have always been part of our family meals in one way or another and a bit like the caffeine angle last night, I have taken a stance on eggs which lines up with the Wild Diet… and my own appreciation for this magnificent food.

There are so many reasons that eggs should form part of our diets, they are absolutely packed with macro and micro nutrients that our bodies need. An average large egg contains about 80 calories with 6 grams of high quality protein, 5 grams of fat and only a small trace of carbs.

Contrary to common or popular belief, eggs improve our cholesterol profile. A large egg contains in the region of 212mg of cholesterol – which is a lot (many foods would feel inferior). Just because the food contains cholesterol doesn't automatically make it bad. Our bodies actually have cholesterol manufactured in the liver every day. When we consume cholesterol, the liver reduces the amount it needs to make. At the risk of becoming too technical (and out of my league) eggs tend to raise the HDL (the good) cholesterol in the body.
Eggs are loaded with choline which is a lesser known nutrient essential to many processes in the body. Low levels of choline intake have been associated with liver disease, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Eggs are very high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which can drastically reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and serve both a structural and functional purpose. Amino acids are what holds them together – 21 amino acids to be specific – of which the body cannot produce nine and these are deemed essential. We can only get them through our diet. Eggs have these amino acids in the perfect profile.

Eggs at breakfast can help you lose body fat. In an eight-week study, eating eggs for breakfast lead to significant weight improvements compared to the same number of calories from bagels. The egg group:

  • Lost 65% more body weight
  • Lost 16% more body fat
  • Had a 61% greater reduction in BMI
  • Had a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference (a good marker for the dangerous abdominal fat)
Check out the details here.
What about heart disease? In a nutshell, many observational studies show that people who eat eggs don't have an increased risk of heart disease, but some of the studies do show an increased risk in diabetes.

Another common question among egg lovers is how many one could have to be 'safe'. It appears that there aren't any studies where people consume more than three eggs per day. So, it is likely that this uncharted territory could have detrimental effects on your health – a bit like three steaks or three beers or three helpings of ice-cream (no I just put that in for humour – 2 helpings is not ok!)

The last word on eggs then is naturally, what is the best way to have them? When it comes to preparing them it is generally accepted that poaching them is good and frying them is bad. Yet here's a tip, use a lid on your pan when frying them and you will need less oil (use coconut oil) and it will be ready quicker too. If like me you haven't yet perfected the art of poaching eggs, you can get super creative and use Clingfilm to create individual pouches. This way you can add some spice or chillies to the eggs before sealing your plastic food wrap and dropping the parcels into hot water to bob around until ready.

It will come as no surprise then that breakfast this morning was eggs! Yes, I had two boiled eggs and a cup of bone broth which I had frozen (and almost forgot about).

I was at a lunch meeting today and ordered a roast vegetable salad, which had some roast veggies but also cos lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes – it also had an unknown dressing on it – probably with stuff in it I shouldn't have!

Tonight's dinner wasn't strictly a recipe, but delicious all the same. We had chicken with broccoli and eggplant in a sour cream and whole mustard sauce on a mound of zucchini noodles.

Training this morning was chest and triceps. It was a special session as I got to train with a mate, good times! I finished the workout with a treadmill walk of 20 minutes – broken into 5 minute intervals. Starting on level 8 for 60 seconds, then level 10 for a minute, 12 for a minute and 15 for a minute. I then drop back to level 8 and do it all again until the clock hits 20 minutes. This is not a super challenging session but bearing in mind The Fat Burning Man was talking about low intensity cardio, I'd say we achieved that.

We are officially half way through the 30-day challenge. I have mentioned to a few people that I do get sweaty palms thinking about the results – staying away from measuring is proving a challenge. I am looking forward to seeing the result – here's hoping it's a win in all areas – weight loss and a drop in body fat. That said, I would take a drop in body fat over weight loss any day of the week – come on the lucky number of the less than 12%!

The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


 

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