Eggs are a great part of the American diet and history. Whether they are eaten for breakfast or used in dessert they are a staple ingredient for most cooks. American consumers eat 75 billion eggs per year. (American Egg Board incredibleegg.org)
As one recent study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology showed, eating more eggs and cholesterol damages arteries by altering postprandial blood lipids, increasing inflammation, and im- pairing endothelial function. Egg yolks pack a cholesterol punch. Each yolk has 60% of a day’s supply of cholesterol or about 185 mg (out a 300 mg per day limit) plus 5 grams of fat, which is 65% of calories.
Since no one eats just one egg, this is more like 370 mg of cholesterol and 10 grams of fat for 2 eggs, a mere 1/2 cup serving.
If you are really following the guidelines for protein and keeping the total serving of lean poultry, seafood or meat to 4 to 8 ounces per day you need to allow 50 to 100 mg of cholesterol coming from other protein choices, likely eaten at lunch or dinner.
It is best to limit whole eggs to one per day or a special breakfast dish of 2 on the weekend. Breakfast is an excellent opportunity to boost whole grains, skim dairy and fruit consumption while protein is more often eaten at lunch and dinner.
Or better still, if you like to eat eggs every day, substitute egg whites or nonfat egg substitute for whole eggs.
One egg white or one quarter cup of egg substitute has just 17 calories and virtually no cholesterol or fat!
Ordering from the menu
The other issue with eggs, whether they are ordered whole or as whites, is how they are cooked. If you are eating them out and they are fried or scrambled, chances are that a 1-2 ounce ladle of melted butter or oil was used to keep them from sticking to the pan. You can try to dab them with a napkin or better still order them poached.
Cooking at home
If you prepare them at home you can use a lot less oil by micro- waving them scrambled in a bowl for 2-3 minutes or preparing them in a nonstick pan with a little spray.
Here is a great link by Alice Medrich, owner of famous Berkeley Chez Panisse Restaurant on how to poach eggs:
• One of our favorite ways to use nonfat egg substitute is to microwave a cup in a bowl for 3 minutes or until firm and chop into squares. Add these to a veggie stir fry for a lean meal that is chocked full of vegetables. Serve over brown rice.
• Scramble nonfat egg whites with fresh sliced vegetables for a veggie omelette that is low in fat and high in nutrients and fiber. Serve over a half English muffin.
• Make your favorite quiche recipe healthier. Skip the crust and use ground crack- ers on the bottom of the pan instead. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. Use nonfat egg substitute in place of the eggs.
1/4 cup = 1 serving or 1 large egg or 2 ounces
Choose egg substitute:
• Pasteurization is safer
• Low in fat and cholesterol
• Convenient and no breakage
See burnbraefarms.com for great recipes and tips.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.