Which Came First - The chicken, the egg, or high cholesterol?

   

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What came first, the chicken or the egg?  In my opinion, who cares?  Eggs are tasty, easy to cook and won’t crack the bank account for a nutrient dense meal.

On a nutritional level eggs are an excellent source of protein. They have around 6 grams of protein per egg and are packed with all 9 essential amino acids.  The egg is a complete protein and scientists actually use egg protein as the standard for which they judge all other proteins.  Eggs have the highest biological value (a measurement of protein quality expressing the rate of efficiency with which protein is used for growth) of any other protein with a score of 93, the next closest would be milk with a score of 84. 

So why have eggs gotten a bad rep lately?

Eggs have been under considerable “heat” for their high cholesterol content, with many people saying that this could increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.  However, a 1999 Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and have come out to say that having eggs on a regular basis can actually prevent heart disease, blood clots and heart attack.  Sounds pretty good to me. 

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So which eggs should you be eating?  Brown or white?  Organic or regular?  This has become a very touchy subject with people and for some, ignorance is bliss as they don’t what to know what farmers are adding into their delicious breakfast dish.  Food labels, in general, are misleading and have so many buzzwords plastered all over them that most of the time you are probably being duped.  In the egg world the 2 biggest buzzwords are “free range” and “all natural.” 

Free range is supposed to mean that your chickens were frolicking outside in the beautiful sunlight enjoying their lives and doing as they please.  In actuality, free range means that sometime in their lives they had exposure to the outdoors.  There are no actual requirements for the amount, duration, and or quality of outdoor access.  All Natural doesn’t mean all that much.  The FDA actual doesn’t have a definition of what “all natural” actually means, which leaves a lot of marketers with plenty of room for interpretation.  Food makers won't get in trouble as long as the labeled doesn't contain added colors, artificial flavors, or "synthetic substances."  This chart lays everything out in simple layman terms.

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My take away from the above information is that the eggs that you need to be consuming are certified organic, certified humane, and pasture raised.  This can be a tall order for some people but if you want the best results you need to do your research.  I have found that Vital Farms, found at Whole Foods, are delicious, relatively in-expensive and have all the requirements listed above.  I also highly recommend you visiting a local pasture-raised farm to buy your eggs for three important reasons: 

  1. The eggs you receive will be fresh and more nutritious for you and your family. 
  2. You will be supporting your local farmers and your local economy.Eggs_Banner
  3. The carbon footprint of your egg-consumption will be lower since they only have to be transported a short distance to reach you.

Whether you like them scrambled, over-easy, hard-boiled or poached, eggs should be a regular staple in your diet for every athlete.  If you regularly follow our Train Heroic programs and follow the above information you shouldn’t be worried about too much egg consumption.  Just make sure you do your homework and read all the labels so that you get the most bang for your buck.  

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