Mediterranean Diet 101

Fats and Healthy Nutrition - Eating Whole Eggs?

eggsTo function properly, the human body needs approximately one-third of saturated fats, one-third of monounsaturated fats, and one-third of polyunsaturated fats.

Although saturated fats are needed just as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats because they are consumed in western nutrition much more than other fats, saturated fats are often called 'bad fats' and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are called 'good fats'.

Updated: November 30, 2021.

During 'fat craze', all fats were bad. Today some nutritionists often claim that all carbohydrates are bad and their intake should be at a minimum. As many times before, the truth is somewhere in the middle - proper nutrition should be well balanced and adapted to individual needs.

Sources of Good Fats

What are food choices that are sources of good fats? Well, all fish fats are ok, olive, fish, and flax seeds oils are ok (with fish oil being best of them all), omega-3 eggs are ok, different nuts are ok, grass-fed beef is also great. Natural peanut butter is good food choice if it is really natural peanut butter (contains only peanuts and salt, with no additives of any kind). Good fats sources are often good sources of vitamins soluble in fats - vitamins A, D, E, etc.

HDL and LDL Cholesterol

eggs2There are two types of cholesterol - HDL (good one) and LDL (the bad one). Humans need LDL too, believe it or not, for their bodies to function. 'Old' daily recommended maximum intake for cholesterol is around 300mg of cholesterol and many people eat much less than that. So why do people have elevated levels of cholesterol in the blood?

The problem is in nutrition loaded with calories in the form of simple carbs. What body does with excess carbs? After replenishing glycogen reserves, all excess carbs are converted to fats and stored as fat. Some of that fat is excess cholesterol. And because the human body needs cholesterol, the human liver produces 1-2 grams of cholesterol per day even if excess carbs are not an issue.

So, you can daily consume 200 - 300 mg of any kind of cholesterol, but because of excess carbs and cholesterol production, you can have elevated cholesterol levels. This is, of course, a simplification of the processes in the human body, but it gives a good picture of what is going on with excess carbs in the human body.

The human body adapts quickly, and if you consume more than 'recommended' 300mg per day of cholesterol, then your liver will produce less cholesterol. Simplification again, because if you eat more calories than you need, the body will convert excess calories to fats (including cholesterol) and the story repeats itself.

Eggs and Cholesterol Levels

120g (two medium eggs) of eggs have approximately 14g of protein, 1g of carbs, and 12g of fats. They also have 300 - 400mg of cholesterol (both LDL and HDL).

In some movies, we can see main characters drinking whole eggs for strength and stamina. Even some real-life coaches claim that it is the best way to consume eggs. Don't do that. Eat your eggs, for example hardboiled, for better absorption of proteins and some minerals and vitamins - also, when you cook eggs, there is no danger of getting salmonella or any similar disease. If you can, buy organic eggs or omega-3 eggs - omega-3 eggs contain around 300mg of omega-3 per yolk. Good reason to eat a few of them daily.

Throwing away yolks

Is throwing away yolks a good or bad thing? Well, if you eat 10 egg whites, you will on average eat 40g of protein, 5 grams of carbs, and 0 (zero, null) grams of fats. If you eat 10 eggs then you will eat around 70g of protein, 6 grams of carbs, and 60 grams of fats. So, for an additional 30g of protein, you will eat an additional 60g of fats and maybe 1.5 - 2g of cholesterol. Bottom line - eat yolks only from organic or/and omega-3 eggs (2-3 a day) and egg whites from 'regular' eggs. If you eat eggs only occasionally, eat them whole. Also, don't forget that whole eggs are one of the rare natural vitamin D sources.

Today we know that balanced nutrition means eating both fats and complex carbs with lean protein in every meal. If you are unable to increase your daily intake of essential fatty acids through proper nutrition then you should consider taking omega-3 or/and similar nutrition supplements. But never forget, real food is real food.

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