Eggs can be one of the healthiest foods for people with diabetes to eat. But some people still doubt that fact. And the way many of us prepare them aren’t healthy.
One large fresh, whole, raw egg has just 72 calories. It has a bit more than 6 grams of protein, a bit less than 5 grams of fat, and less than one-third of a gram of carbohydrate, according to the USDA’s National Nutrient Database. No wonder that those of us who follow the low-carb lifestyle usually eat eggs.
Eggs have complete protein with an optimal balance of the nine essential amino acids. The fats are largely monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The carbohydrates don’t include any sucrose or fructose.
Yet some people are still concerned about the amount of cholesterol in eggs. A large one has 186 mg. The standard diet that our doctors have been recommending for decades is to consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
However, some of the most advanced medical minds know that the cholesterol we eat has little effect on our blood levels of cholesterol, high levels of which supposedly lead to heart disease. Actually, more than 20 years ago The New England Journal of Medicine reported that an 88-year-old man regularly ate 25 eggs a day and had a normal cholesterol level. Then, the influential Framingham Heart Study found “no relationship between egg intake and coronary heart disease.”
Our bodies need cholesterol to synthesize bile acids, which are necessary to digest fat. But our bodies keep losing some of these bile acids. “To make up for this, the liver synthesizes approximately 1,500 to 2,000 mg of new cholesterol a day,” according to The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra, M.D, which I reviewed at “Cholesterol Myths” here. As Drs. Bowden and Sinatra write, “Clearly, the body thinks you need that cholesterol.”
But not all eggs are created equal. The best eggs are pasture raised and omega-3 enriched.
I make sure that the eggs I buy are not only cage-free but also pasture raised. “The vast majority of egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in battery cages,” according to the Humane Society. On average, each caged laying hen is afforded only 67 square inches of cage space.”
When we eat omega-3 enriched eggs, we give a little boost to our ratio of non-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. I’ve written here many times about these two fats, and perhaps my most useful post about them was “Cutting Back on Omega-6.”
But how we prepare the eggs we eat matters just as much. After years of eating fried eggs, I learned this from Dr. Ron Rosedale.
“The yolk of the egg is high in fat and very vulnerable to oxidation,” he writes with Carol Colman in The Rosedale Diet. This is “especially so in high-omega-3 eggs, and especially if it is cooked at very high temperatures. Therefore, I do not recommend cooking methods for eggs that produce excess heat (such as frying). Egg yolks should always be cooked under water where the temperature cannot exceed 212 degrees F., and where they are less likely to be exposed to oxygen. Eggs can be poached, soft-boiled, or slightly hard-boiled.”