FOOD

No, Eggs Aren't Bad For You

Yes, they're recommended as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

11/08/2017 9:10 AM AEST | Updated 11/08/2017 9:11 AM AEST
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When it comes to bad science, we've had an oeuf.

'What The Health', a new documentary currently streaming on Netflix, has caused quite a stir lately among health professionals and viewers alike with its claims that eating one egg a day is as bad as smoking five cigarettes.

For the record, it isn't -- but the claim isn't necessarily a new one.

In 2012 a study published in Atherosclerosis claimed to have found a relationship between egg yolk consumption and the development of atherosclerosis -- a disease in which plaque accumulates along the walls of arteries, increasing heart attack and stroke risk.

The study went on to say that the connection between the two was similar to one between smoking and arterial plaque, however this has been refuted time and time again, with many experts simply labelling it "bad science".

To get the low down on all things egg, HuffPost Australia spoke with Melanie McGrice -- an accredited dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia -- who reassured us that there's absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to eating eggs.

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McGrice recommends six eggs a week as part of a healthy diet.

Are eggs bad for you?

Despite what people may say, eggs should be consumed as part of a healthy diet. Not only are they a great source of inexpensive, high-quality protein but they're also a source of healthy fats.

"Eggs are not bad for you," McGrice reassured us.

"The latest evidence shows there are no increased health risks from eating eggs and eating them every day is not a problem if part of a balanced diet."

As a breakfast option, eggs aren't only healthy and filling but they can also assist in losing weight.

Dietitian Susie Burrell previously told HuffPost Australia that she has noticed "for some time the superior qualities eggs have when it comes to weight control".

"Plus the fact they are rich in protein means you are fuller for longer, and you tend to eat less on the day you eat them. It's a follow-on effect," she said.

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They might be a pain to peel, but the healthiest way to eat an egg is to boil it.

How many eggs should you eat in one day?

According to McGrice, a single serve of eggs is defined as two eggs, and it's recommended we eat around three serves per week.

"I tend to advise my clients that one egg a day is probably a good amount to be consuming -- or maybe six eggs a week," she said.

However, if you're worried you might be consuming more than the recommended amount through processed foods, McGrice said your concerns should lie elsewhere.

"Having additional eggs from processed goods isn't a problem, the problem is the processed foods," she said.

"People are going to get a lot more nutrition from eating a couple of hard boiled eggs with avocado and whole grain toast than they are from a cake with egg in it."

What's the healthiest way to eat an egg?

Fried, poached or scrambled? According to McGrice, the healthiest way to eat an egg is to simply boil it -- and if you'd love to have one for breakfast but don't have the time to let it boil and then peel it, you can always do it the night before.

"If you're frying you're adding fat and if you're scrambling there's often added cream, cheese or butter," she said.

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What's the best alternative for an egg?

Those who might be vegan or allergic to eggs are encouraged to look elsewhere in the protein rich 'meat and meat alternatives' food group -- these foods are the ones that are responsible for providing our bodies with nutrients such as iron, zinc and essential fatty acids.

While McGrice said that those with an allergy can look to lean meats, such as beef, or poultry, while vegans can ensure they're still getting the right amount of nutrients by eating nuts and seeds, including sesame and sunflower seeds, as well as legumes and beans.

However, if you can eat eggs, it's recommended that you do, as they provide "key nutrients like omega-3 fats, iron and so forth", forming part of a complete and nutritious diet.

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That delicious gooey yolk isn't bad for you.

Should we avoid eating the yolk?

No, not anymore --the myth that the cholesterol contained in egg yolks could lead to cardiovascular disease has been well and truly busted.

According to the Heart Foundation's website, "most people don't need to worry about eating eggs and their cholesterol" as the cholesterol in eggs "has almost no effect on your blood cholesterol levels".

"We had such a fat phobia whereas now we've learned about the benefits of including some fats in our diets," McGrice said.

In fact, McGrice added that the yolk of an egg contains key nutrients including vitamin A -- which is important for eye health and your immune system -- and vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones, muscles and overall health in general.


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