Being in college for the past three years has exposed me to a lot of things I never knew existed in high school. It also exposed me to a lot of different schools of thought, for better or worse. Observing how other people live has made me acutely aware of how different I am. Especially when it comes to food. I mean, who else do you know who puts hot sauce on cottage cheese? Apparently this is very strange. I had no idea until someone at school made fun of me for it. Oops, sorry, I’ve been eating it all my life. Here’s another one: I actually eat the yoke of the egg. *gasp* Shocking, I know. I had no idea scrambled egg whites was a thing until I got here. Though I’ve found myself indulging in this low-cal, yet hardly tasty, breakfast option, I didn’t know the reasoning behind the yolkless lifestyle until recently. As a runner, always looking for the most nutritional options for optimal performance, I needed to get to the bottom of this.
For years, health care professionals have been going back and forth about whether eggs are ok to eat or not. Until the mid-1990s, the general belief was that eating egg yolks was bad and caused heart disease because of the high levels of cholesteral. A study released in 1999 asserted that this was a myth and that eating one egg per day had little to no impact on a person’s health. However, in recent years, more studies have come out claiming that eating even one egg (including the yolk) per day can lead to plaque build up on the arteries. One study released last week equates eating egg yokes with smoking ciggarettes, saying that the rate of plaque build up is comparable. Since then, other researchers have come out saying that the research was flawed. So what are we to believe?
From a runner’s stand point, all this research is confusing. I grew up eating eggs every day before practice and races. So, I wanted to know. Is it still ok for me, the runner, to eat eggs? Here is some information I dug up on the subject:
1. A runner needs protein. Eggs have lots of protein (about 20% of the recommended Daily Value for adult men). But not only do eggs have a lot of protein, the type of protein found in eggs is really easy for the body to absorb, according to this study.
2. A runner needs other essential vitamins and nutrients in order to perform well. Vitamin A, Vitamin E and iron are among the most important ones for a runner to have. And guess what – eggs have those too!
3. A runner needs to maintain a healthy weight. Eggs can help with both. Those who eat eggs with the yolks for breakfast lost 60% more weight than those who consumed the same amount of calories in a bagel, according to a study.
4. A runner needs a healthy heart. The protein in eggs also keeps you fuller for longer, which can also lead to weight loss. The unique protein found in egg yolks also keeps cells that cause blood clots from sticking together inside blood vessels. What does this mean? Minimized risk for heart attack.
But then I realized, don’t non-runners need those things too?
This article from the Mayo Clinic says that eating four or less eggs per week won’t jepordize your health. Recently, the Chief Health and Medical Editor for ABC News, Dr. Richard Besser, spoke about the egg controversy. Besser said that if you’re exercising regularly, keeping saturated fats to a minimum and maintaining a healthy weight, an egg per day is fine. Even if you’re not training for a half-marathon, eggs (with the yolks!) can still be a great nutrition-packed meal. The ruling? Moderation is key!
What do you think about this egg controversy?