Eggs Set Free in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines
The highlight of the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines was seeing eggs set free from Food Rules Prison. They have been wrongfully accused for being “bad” in association with heart disease for way too long. Eggs are among the healthiest foods available. In recent years, many studies have shown the lack of correlation between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease. I felt like these studies were the protesters outside the prison walls, carrying their signs of “Free the Eggs!”
The Advisory Committee behind the 2015 Dietary Guidelines stated this, “The Key Recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day is not included in the 2015 edition, but this change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns. More research is needed regarding the dose-response relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels. Adequate evidence is not available for a quantitative limit for dietary cholesterol specific to the Dietary Guidelines.”
While this weak directive failed to point to the recent research that justified this statement, it nonetheless, set the eggs free. Twenty years ago when working in public health, it was challenging to convince clientele that “Eggs are not bad.” I explained that there are many larger risk factors for heart disease, such as strong family history, smoking, stress, lack of physical activity and poor nutritional habits, and we need to look at the big, broad picture. And most of all, it wasn’t dietary cholesterol that seemed to raise blood cholesterol, it was saturated fat. Confusing , I know! The educational efforts went on for years.
As a Registered Dietitian, I was trained “all foods can fit” and we don’t single out a certain food, especially if it has redeeming qualities. Despite this, whenever someone was told they had high cholesterol, it seemed to be synonymous with a “no eggs or egg whites only” directive. It struck me as not responsible science to put the blame on a single food, and it was poor medical care to remove favorite foods from one’s diet without recognizing how that impacted quality of life.
Eggs hold the distinction of having the highest biological value of any proteins- meaning their protein is better-utilized than other types of protein. Eggs are not only nutritious, they are also economical; they leave meat in the dust when it comes to providing protein at a reasonable price. They are easy to make, versatile and quick – a perfect meal for children learning to cook. I still remember my oldest son asking for an Egg Wave for Christmas when he was 10 years old. He felt was a necessary tool for his egg-making skills.
To celebrate eggs and their “homecoming” I share my niece Tammy’s poached egg recipe. She received the recipe through her local organic food delivery program in Minneapolis. She called it “the ultimate in good fats” and says it makes a very fine breakfast for her family.
- Dice or slice an avocado.
- Sprinkle sea salt and squeeze fresh lemon on the avocado.
- Poach two eggs
- Toast whole-grain bread.
- Pile it all on the bread.
Looking for a nutrition coach, one who doesn’t single out foods as “good” or “bad” but knows that all foods can fit into a person’s diet and lifestyle? Going on 30 years as a Registered Dietitian, I recognize that variety is the spice of life, and favorite foods are to be embraced. To learn how I can help you tweak your eating habits without spoiling your fun, please email me at [email protected]