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Read This Before Your Next Breakfast

Posted by Smarter Nutrition on

"It's important that your first meal of the day be a healthy breakfast. But what exactly is a healthy breakfast?"

You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but that doesn't mean any old breakfast will do. High protein breakfasts are what nutritionists recommend. But does that mean we should eat eggs every day? Are eggs good for us or bad for us? 

Brand new research regarding eggs is very controversial. If you eat eggs, then you need to watch this video. Dr. Nancy Lin, PhD, holistic nutritionist will break it all down for you. Plus, she'll lay out her high protein healthy breakfast options you can eat every day!

Video Highlights

    • 00:45: The typical American breakfast is often based around simple carbs
    • 01:24: A high-protein breakfast keeps you fuller for longer
    • 02:57: Are eggs bad for you?
    • 03:25: The 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines found no link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease
    • 03:57: What an egg provides
    • 07:41: Is the jury fully in on the egg debate?
    • 08:07: There's a new study on eggs that has bad news
    • 11:15: Where do we go from here?
    • 11:46: Breakfast protein sources
    • 14:35: The perfect hard-boiled egg
    • 15:08: Morning green smoothie recipe
    • 16:37: Tips for fluffing up egg whites
    • 21:03: What about raw eggs?

Why You Need a Protein-Rich Breakfast

For years, the typical American breakfast has been mostly based around simple carbs: toast, bagels, cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, french toast, muffins, croissants... but we now know that these are perhaps the worst things you should be eating when you first wake up!

Studies now show that protein-rich breakfasts can keep you full and satisfied, and reduce evening snacking. So if you eat the right way in the morning, it sets you up for a successful day. Knowing this, nutritionists now suggest a combination of protein and fat in your breakfast, which studies show stays with you longer to keep you full and fueled for the day ahead.

Another study showed that a protein-rich breakfast does this by helping reduce the hunger hormone, Ghrelin, and increase Cholecystokinin, which signals your brain to stop eating. Protein-rich foods like eggs, and nut butters, or a protein shake with MCT fat added, are what you want. These foods steady the blood sugar and reduce metabolic fluctuations later in the day.

But... Aren't Eggs Bad For You?

Health experts have been back and forth... and back and forth again... regarding whether eggs are healthy. The egg saga has more plot twists than a Steven King novel! So after decades of nutritionists telling us to avoid eggs on the grounds that the cholesterol could cause heart attacks, the 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines officially exonerated eggs, finding no link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease.

For egg lovers, this was fantastic news! Overnight, eggs became a health food. For someone who eats animal proteins, the best, healthiest option became whole eggs, daily.

Here's what an egg provides:

  • 70 calories 
  • 6 grams of complete animal protein
  • No sugar or carbohydrates
  • Only about 70 mg sodium per egg

Although the egg white contains slightly more protein, the yoke contains the nutrients, such as:

  • Choline. One egg contains about 23% of the daily recommended value of choline, which is very important for the vital growth and development of your nervous system, and it promotes normal cell activity, liver function, and transport of nutrients throughout the body. It's also very good for brain development and growth.
  • Selenium. Just one egg contains about 22% of your daily recommended value of selenium, an important antioxidant that helps to reduce cell damage and lower chronic disease risk.
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2). About 14% of the daily recommendation of this B vitamin is found in one egg. This vitamin is important for the production of energy in the cells of the body, fat metabolism, and cell growth and development.
  • Vitamin D. One egg contains about 10% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D. This vitamin is extremely important for bone and immune health.
  • Phosphorus. About 10% of the daily recommended value of phosphorus is found in one egg. This nutrient is vital for producing energy in the body and helping to form healthy bones and teeth.

Besides these important nutrients, the egg yolk also supports other health functions such as:

  • Nerve cell health. Vitamins B6 and B12 as well as calcium, play important roles in nerve cell function. Calcium is also important for bone and tooth health, muscle contraction, and blood clotting.
  • Immune health. Vitamins A and B6, as well as zinc, are important for maintaining healthy immune function. This is important to lower your risk for illness and infection.
  • Digestive health. Vitamins B5 and B12 are both important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. in particular, B5 helps break down food into useable energy and nutrients.
  • Egg yolks also contain iron, which is needed for oxygen transport in the body, and a good amount of folate too.

So eggs are loaded with great protein and nutrients. Awesome, news, right?

BUT...

Is the jury really in on the egg debate? Are they now 100% good for you, yolk and all? 

An Important New Study

There's a new study that's been released just last month regarding eggs, and for egg lovers everywhere, unfortunately, it's not good news.

A new analysis has found that for each additional 300 mg per day of cholesterol in the diet (less than two whole eggs) there was an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. So at least when it comes to the heart, if we accept the findings of this analysis, it looks like whole eggs may be bad for you again.

The new analysis looked at data from six large studies, involving almost 30,000 participants, with an average follow-up of more than 17 years. This is a super expansive study. According to this study, each additional 300 mg per day of cholesterol in the diet corresponded to a 17% increase in cardiovascular disease, and an 18% increased risk of premature death. 

Eggs were specifically examined in this study. One large egg has about 185 mg of cholesterol, all of it contained inside the yolk. Each study had the same results: each additional egg per day was associated with a 12% increase of cardiovascular disease, and an 18% increased risk of early death. Though the study findings were observational, and it could not establish cause and effect, it did seem that no matter how heart-healthy the rest of the person's diet was, the more eggs consumed, the greater the risk of cardiovascular events like coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.

The same was true for dietary cholesterol. The more cholesterol in the diet, the higher the risk for disease. Researchers believe that there is enough data in this study to make a strong, emphatic statement that eggs and overall dietary cholesterol intake remain important in affecting the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Considering that heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States (more common than all the forms of Cancer combined!) this is a serious finding. Even a small relative increase in rates of illness means a large increase in the number of deaths.

So where do we go from here?

We should act cautiously until we learn more, because the debate is just the beginning. It is a good idea in the mean time, to reduce the number of egg yolks in your diet (egg whites are okay!) and start your morning with a protein shake instead!

It's easy to make a quick protein shake, and you can even take a protein mix with you wherever you go for when you need something satisfying and protein-rich.

You can also try a delicious breakfast scramble using only half of an egg yolk, and 3 - 4 egg whites. Heat some oil to a cast iron skillet, and crack the egg over the pan, then toss the yolk back and forth into the halves of the egg shell until all the egg white is in the pan and the egg yolk remains in the shell. Scramble for just a minute or two for a healthy breakfast scramble that includes the protein you need, with minimal cholesterol. Sauté with spinach and add some avocado on the side for healthy fats. This will keep you feeling full and energetic throughout the day!

Hard-boiled eggs with the yolks removed are also a great protein source. To make the perfect hard-boiled egg, bring the water to a boil, put the eggs in, time it for exactly 10 minutes. Then remove the eggs and put them into an ice bath for about 2 minutes. Finally just remove the shell, break the egg in half, and remove the yolk. 

For a morning green smoothie, mix plant proteins of your choice and beef collagen, making sure each serving size is 30 grams. Dr. Nancy uses a pea and rice blend for her plant proteins, and adds a scoop of green powder. You can use any green powder that contains chlorella and spirulina. Adjust according to what tastes good to you. Add fruit, or chia seeds, or hemp seeds, and blend it. 

Tips for making satisfying egg whites. Whisk your egg whites with a sip of almond milk and Himalayan salt, and whisk it a little longer than you normally would to add more air, making your egg white scramble fluffy and delicious. 

What about raw eggs?

We don't suggest eating eggs raw, although some people do like to put a raw egg into their smoothies. If you do want to eat your eggs raw, make sure you know the eggs are coming from a healthy source. Always buy free range eggs, or even buy a couple of chickens and raise them yourself, so you know where your eggs come from. 

The egg debate will probably not be over for some time. Just stay cautious about the amount of egg yolk you consume, and remember to follow Dr. Nancy's anti-inflammatory diet, and her 4-step program for reducing the inflammatory load on your body for continued optimum health.


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