Now, a number of scientific papers in the US and the UK are making recommendations urging people to have an egg a day, as it not only boosts health, but also prevents obesity. A study by Carrie Ruxton, a US-based independent dietician, has concluded after analysing more than 70 research papers that eggs not only help in preventing diseases like cancer, heart ailments, eye disorders and mental disorders, it also helps in weight management. A rich source of protein and packed with nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, selenium and chlorine, an egg also prevents multiple sclerosis.
Indian nutritionists agree. “We have always recommended one egg a day for normal and healthy individuals,” says B Sesikiran, director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. The calorific value of egg is only about 80 and it has 6.3 grams of protein. Protein is a combination of amino acids vital for muscle growth. Since the body cannot produce proteins, they have to be included in the daily diet. Also, calcium, most of which is contained in the yolk, plays a major role in building and maintaining bones and teeth. While cephalin, which is about 0.2 grms in an egg, ensures healthy nerves, lecithin helps brain function, say nutritionists. Egg white contains riboflavin and niacin. Niacin, which assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves, is also important for the conversion of food to energy.
Eggs do contain cholesterol. Senior cardiologists like Dr G Sengottuvelu say that for most healthy people, it’s the total fat, especially saturated fats (found in meat fat, chicken skin, full fat dairy, coconut and palm oils) and trans fats (found in processed foods, snacks foods and many cookies and crackers) that has the greatest effect on cholesterol levels.
Sesikiran says studies too have reflected this. “Cholesterol in eggs has a clinically insignificant effect on blood cholesterol. While people with high blood cholesterol are at increased risk of heart disease, only a third of the cholesterol in the body is attributed to diet,” he said. “It’s true that some people are more sensitive to the cholesterol in foods and experience increase in blood cholesterol when they eat cholesterol-rich foods. Those with high cholesterol along with family history of heart diseases or sudden deaths should limit themselves to three eggs a week. “For everyone else we recommend one a day,” he said.