The world loves eggs. Whether scrambled with a square of butter, served sunny side up, or boiled and paired with a battalion of attentive toasted soldiers, most people’s perfect breakfast is incomplete without something rich and yellow on the side. The briefest of glances through fastidiously-filtered Instagram feeds reveals just how obsessed we’ve become with indulgent shots of oozing yolkporn.
However, in a world where we’re constantly told that anything and everything we like will find some way to kill us, everyone’s favorite morning staple has been eyed with increasing suspicion. Thanks to dodgy science and scaremongering, the egg is not the guiltless mealtime companion it once was.
Though much of the modern malaise over the health benefits and drawbacks of stuff we’ve eaten for ages is based on little to no factual information, there are a few things about eggs that make them less innocent than they may first appear. A particular criticism has centred on cholesterol.
Some self-professed health experts have claimed that the relatively high amount of cholesterol contained in a large egg – about 186mg out of a suggested daily guideline of 300mg – could clog arteries and cause heart attacks.
However, in recent years, the iffy science behind these suggestions appears to have been debunked. New research suggests that it is in fact saturated fat, and not dietary cholesterol, that can cause an increase in the risk of heart attack. Given that eggs are themselves relatively low in saturated fats, it seems it is once again safe to happily start plunging toast into yolk once more.
Where eggs may potentially cause a health issue, however, is the particular methods used to cook them. While one egg may only contain a small amount of saturated fats, scrambling it with hefty knobs of butter, before serving alongside mountains of bacon and sausage somewhat negates any argument over the possible health benefits. Unfortunately, this sort of indulgence is not advisable on a regular basis.
Despite the potential pitfalls of a Full-English, in the majority of circumstances, eggs are a perfectly safe snack option. According to Kerry Gans, author of The Small Change Diet, “For the average person, two eggs a day is totally fine”. The most important thing is that egg consumption is taken into context with everything else in your diet. If you know that you’re getting a lot of saturated fat and protein from other food, you should look to adjust the number of eggs you’re eating accordingly.
It’s also important to avoid monotony when it comes to your food. Nutritionist Beth Warren states: “Generally, I don’t recommend eating any one food every day.” Instead, she advocates rotating your favorite foods every three days or so, to ensure that you “get a better balance of vitamins and nutrients form a varied amount of whole foods”.
For all the arguments over saturated fats and cholesterol, eggs remain an incredibly important source of nutrients. High in protein and other essential vitamins, eggs are a great way to guarantee a healthy start to the day. So long as every breakfast isn’t swimming in butter, they can remain on the menu.