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.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.
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.”
After a recent study published in The Journal Of Nutrition, Dr. Robert Nicolosi at the University of Massachusetts said, “Our data show that eating an egg a day isn’t 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 shouldn’t be considered a “dietary evil.”
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 may be premature to suggest to the entire general population that eating yolks in “unlimited quantities” is safe for ones health. 30% of the population are hyper-responders who may experience a potentially harmful change in blood lipids as a result of eating dietary cholesterol.
It’s 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 are not low calorie foods – they are very 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 are getting 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 have almost 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 I want the high protein without so many calories.
Take a look:
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 I’ve 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?
And by the way, the reason bodybuilders use liquid eqq whites so often is for convenience. They can pour them 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. (I swear this is true!)
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 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 a young, obedient, blindly-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, but I didn’t drop dead of a heart attack either.
On a slightly off tangent note, 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. That was the flaw in that program. Even on low carb diets, you STILL need a caloric deficit to burn bodyfat.
Thus, my approach changed and I started removing yolks to keep me more easily within my caloric deficit without losing the quality protein.
However, to this day, I still keep one or two yolks in my omelets and scrambles… sometimes more, as long as it fits in my calorie budget.
* If you want to learn more about a balanced, flexible and proven approach, which teaches nutritional individuality and which can produce similar weight loss in one month, month after month, that the subjects of this study produced in TWO YEARS, (if you ADHERE to it!), then visit my fat loss website at www.burnthefat.com
* This article is exclusive to IronMagazine.com, reproduction in any form without prior consent is strictly prohibited.
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Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer, gym owner, freelance writer and author ofBurn the Fat, Feed The Muscle(BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has writtenover 140 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development,Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise. Tom is the Fat Loss Expert for Global-Fitness.com and the nutrition editor for Femalemuscle.com and his articles are featured regularly on literally dozens of other websites.