Best Protein To Buy? Eggs.

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Not only are eggs the most cost efficient protein to buy, but eggs also have the highest quality of all protein sources. Protein quality is determined by a standard to the amount of essential amino acids in the protein.  Within an egg, half of the amount of protein is found in the white, the other half in the yolk.

Now what about the yolk? Doesn’t egg yolk cause an increase in cholesterol?  An egg does indeed contain a high amount of cholesterol, but egg cholesterol does not effect the actual cholesterol levels in a person’s diet.  Multiple studies have been conducted on the dietary effects of cholesterol and egg yolks to disprove the cholesterol raising theory.  One study demonstrated that the body does not absorb the cholesterol from eggs, and egg cholesterol does not change the overall cholesterol of a person.

An interesting fact about the protein content of an egg is that it increases after it has been cooked.  Uncooked eggs contain a lower protein amount (and a higher risk for salmonella contamination) than cooked eggs.  The protein of cooked eggs is more readily absorbed than uncooked eggs.  Besides protein, eggs contain vitamin A, D, and E as well as several B vitamins, such as riboflavin, folic acid, vitamin b6 and vitamin B12, iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and choline.  The yolk of the egg is the source of all the vitamin A, D, and E.

What is the best way to buy eggs? With an estimated 240 million egg laying hens, grocery stores offer a variety of types of eggs, with some priced more expensive than others.  Which eggs are the best to chose from?

  • True/False: Brown eggs are healthier than white eggs. False. Brown eggs are virtually no different in protein quality than white eggs.  The change in shell color is the only difference, yet brown eggs are usually sold at a higher price and are marketed as more healthy.  White is equally the same!
  • True/False: Omega-3 eggs boost the body with the healthy fatty acids.  False. Omega-3 eggs are minimally better than regular eggs.  The Omega-3 eggs are chickens fed a diet rich in flax seed oil.  While eggs are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, the amount of Omega-3s in the eggs are very low.  A better route to obtaining Omega-3 fatty acids would be to directly eat foods with Omega-3s or to eat what the chicken eats, flax seeds.
  • True/False: Free range eggs are more organic and healthy than caged chicken eggs.  False. Although moral and ethical reasons may argue otherwise, caged chickens are healthier in terms of their control of diseases to the public.  The chicken industry is in the process of establishing a standard to caged chickens that benefits the health of both the chicken and its eggs.  One of the downsides to free range chickens is that they are more susceptible to disease and worms. An interesting fact about chickens is that if any outside material were to enter the yolk of the chicken egg before it is released by the chicken, then the material will remain within the egg.  Free range chickens that obtain parasites can lay eggs that also contain the larvae and parasitic worms. If you purchase free range eggs, it is even more heavily advised that these eggs be cooked before consumption.
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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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