For years, we were told that the cholesterol in eggs was one of the many things giving us heart disease. We were told to avoid eggs, only eat the whites, or eat some sort of egg substitute. Worse, we were told to eat bowls full of sugar and grain-laden cereals for breakfast, instead. Today, we know that those sugary cereals are far more complicit in bad health than the eggs ever were! Still, you often hear people saying, “I can’t eat eggs because I do not want to raise my cholesterol.”
In all fairness, until recently, the relationship between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood was poorly understood. The word cholesterol has gotten a bad reputation, but in reality, cholesterol is a critical component of cellular construction; our body needs cholesterol to manufacture new cells, no to mention other process like hormone synthesis, vitamin D synthesis, neurological health and many other biological processes! Because cholesterol is so critical for cells, our liver makes cholesterol, even when we do not get enough from our diet. When we consume dietary cholesterol, our liver manufactures less cholesterol in an attempt to keep the levels in our blood balanced. Most studies have found little to no impact on total cholesterol in those who consume eggs. In fact, people who consume eggs were found to raise the “good” cholesterol in their blood, while lowering the “bad” cholesterol.
Now, eggs––the whole egg––is generally recommended as part of a healthy diet. Eggs are one more example of how quickly conventional wisdom can flip on a particular food, in regards to whether you should include it in your diet, or not.
Eggs are encouraged on the Phase One Diet, and have been from the beginning. They are high in protein, have virtually no sugar, and are packed with nutrients. On top of this, they are easy to prepare, portable and delicious. Because eggs are high in protein and contain very little sugar, they are perfect for a diet that seeks to limit sugar with the intent of starving pathogenic fungi. For many people, eggs are a staple of the diet, particularly when one begins a diet, because of their ease of preparation and flavor.
Like meat, however, not all eggs are necessarily created equal. Many eggs you find in a grocery store come from factory farm hens fed a grain diet. It is best to find eggs from truly pastured chickens. You will find that the yolk color is darker and the flavor is bolder. This is due to the higher concentration of nutrients inherent in pastured eggs. More and more, you can find pastured eggs in grocery stores; farmers markets and buying direct from farmers, themselves, are also great options.