It has been raining non-stop for the last 48 hours… the cool and wet weather makes me wanna stay under the covers to read and zzzz…. *yawns*
I just had soft boiled eggs for breakfast: 4 whites and 1 yolk.
For many years, I was led to believe that egg yolks would raise blood cholesterol levels and whole egg consumption should be limited to 3 per week. My impression was:
egg yolk = unhealthy!
Hence, I rarely ate whole eggs.
One day, I read in the newspaper that dietary cholesterol in yolks does not necessary increase blood cholesterol levels. In addition, scientific research has not shown an association between egg consumption and heart disease. Awesome news!
But what about the effect of whole eggs on fat loss?
My dear friend, Tom Venuto, shares his views in the following article “Whole Eggs: Dietary Evil or the New Superfood”.
Whole Eggs: Dietary Evil or the New Superfood
By Tom Venuto
QUESTION: Tom, I’m really confused about eggs. I’m not even sure if you’re going to be able to answer this or not, but to me and I’m sure others, it’s a very confusing and important topic. I only use egg whites because I did believe that the yolks are bad because of cholesterol and saturated fat. But with the studies coming out saying we are missing all of the best nutrients by throwing the yolks out it is very confusing. Could you please help clarify this issue? I have attached an article I got from another e-book author for your reference about what I’ve been reading, which spurred my frustration to contact you.
ANSWER: It’s overly simplistic to say that the saturated or animal fats cause heart disease. It’s even more simplistic and incorrect to say that foods high in dietary cholesterol such as egg yolks, will always lead to an increase in cholesterol in the blood.
Many other factors are involved, including the type of saturated fat, individual genetics, current health status, exercise and the big picture of what else is consumed in the rest of the diet.
Research Says Eggs Are Not Evil
Recent research has been showing that the cholesterol in eggs is handled by most people’s bodies in a way that doesn’t cause heart disease and that dietary cholesterol does not necessarily translate to increased blood cholesterol or an unfavorable ratio of HDL to LDL cholesterol.
After a recent study published in The Journal Of Nutrition, Dr. Robert Nicolosi at the University of Massachusetts said, “Our data shows that eating an egg a day is not a factor for raising cholesterol.”
A study reported at the 2006 experimental biology meeting in San Francisco made similar findings. The researchers discovered that when people ate three or more eggs per day, the amount of low density lipoprotein (LDL) in their bloodstream did in fact increase as previously reported.
However they also found that the subjects actually made bigger LDL particles which were less likely to enter artery walls and build up as artery-clogging plaque.
As a result of these and similar findings, head researcher Christine Green said that a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that eggs should not be considered a “dietary evil.
”Whole Eggs Have “Super-Food” Qualities
Whole eggs have a lot going for them nutritionally speaking. The egg yolks contain a highly bioavailable source of lutein and zeaxanthin which are carotenoids that protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Eggs are a great source of high biological value, complete protein and the protein is split almost evenly between the yolk and the white. One large egg contains 6.3 grams of protein with 3.5 grams in the white and 2.8 grams in the yolk.
Although whole eggs appear to have been exonerated, it still may not be wise to suggest that anyone can eat eggs in unlimited quantities, for both health and body composition reasons.
Dr. Udo Erasumus in his book, Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, said that in 70% of the affluent populations of the world, increased cholesterol consumption decreases cholesterol production in the body through a regulating feedback system that protects them. The other 30% of the population may not have adequate feedback, and are wise to limit their dietary cholesterol consumption.Unlimited egg consumption is also not wise from a caloric perspective. In a fat burning program, you need to consider calories as well as nutritional value and health impact.
Whole Eggs And Fat Loss
Whole eggs are not low calorie foods – they’re fairly calorie dense, while egg whites are extremely low in calories, which is why egg whites are one of the top choices for lean protein on fat loss and bodybuilding diets.
Now that this news about the health value of whole eggs is starting to become more widely circulated, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts have been criticized for their long held practice of throwing away the egg yolks.
However, In all my years of training and consulting, even back in the late 1980’s, and 1990’s I’ve never thrown away all my yolks.
My menu plans typically contain one or two whole eggs with 8-12 egg whites. I know that’s a lot, but that’s a man-sized bodybuilder meal. For non-bodybuilders or people with lower calorie needs, it might be one whole egg and 3-6 whites.
Why do I do this? Because this provides the high protein without so many calories.
Take a look at this egg white – egg yolk comparison:
3 whole large eggs: 225 calories, 18.9 g protein, 15 g fat
8 egg whites & 1 whole egg: 211 calories, 34.3 g protein, 5 g fat
Do you see what was accomplished here?
I didn’t remove egg yolks because I’m afraid of cholesterol. I removed most of the egg yolks because I was on a calorie budget and I was on a higher protein diet and I wanted more protein with fewer calories. Make sense?
Another reason that bodybuilders use liquid egg whites so often is for convenience. They can pour them from the carton right into the fry pan and they don’t have to do all that shell cracking and egg white separating.
Let me leave you with a funny story.
Whole Eggs – “Better Than Steroids?”
When I started bodybuilding as a teenager, I latched onto the teachings of a bodybuilding guru trainer from North Hollywood named Vince Gironda.
Gironda trained all the top movie stars back in his day including Erik Estrada, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Chong, Carl “Apollo Creed” Weathers and too many others to mention.
He was also the Trainer of bodybuilding champions such as Larry Scott, the First Mr. Olympia, and believe it or not, he was Arnold’s first trainer when Joe Weider sent the budding young star to America from Austria.Gironda had been saying from day one (back in the 1950’s and 1960’s) that the whole egg was “nature’s perfect food” and he compared them to “natural steroids.”
On some of his low carb “muscle definition” diets, he said you could eat as many whole eggs as you wanted and even scramble them in butter. He said that he had some of his champion bodybuilders on up to three dozen eggs a day!I didn’t really understand what a ketogenic diet was at the time, but being an obedient, guru-following teenage bodybuilder, desperate for muscle, I did what he said. I ate up to 3 dozen whole eggs a day for months on end.
Well, there was no miraculous steroid-like effect, and I didn’t drop dead of a heart attack either.One thing I did notice is that I DID NOT LOSE FAT like Gironda said I would.
The reason should be obvious: three dozen whole eggs is 2700 calories (more if you use extra large or jumbo eggs). I was at nearly maintenance calories from the eggs alone, and eggs weren’t the only thing I was eating.Gironda, like many other low carb gurus, did not place any restrictions on calories, only on foods. Gironda was a genius, years ahead of his time, but this was the flaw in his program. Even on low carb diets, you STILL need a caloric deficit to lose body fat.
Thus, my approach changed and I started removing yolks to keep me more easily within my caloric deficit without losing the quality protein… but I never cut all the yolks because of their nutritional value.
To this day, I still keep one or two yolks in my omelettes and scrambles… sometimes more, as long as it fits in my calorie budget.
Fat Loss Coach
P.S. One last thing. Keep in mind that the quality of the egg is only as good as the quality of the bird it came from. This is why many health experts recommend free range eggs and/or omega-3 eggs.
About the Author:
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and a certified personal trainer (CPT). Tom is the author of “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using methods of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism with Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle here.