Dismissed as unhealthy and cholesterol heavy, eggs have been unfairly vilified in the not so distant past. Yet recent research suggests the old 'go to work on an egg' tagline may have been good advice.
Last year obesity experts at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Louisiana found that eating eggs for breakfast could actually help in the battle of the bulge.
In fact science has shown the humble egg to be something of a superfood, so before you cut it from your weight loss diet, here are some facts to consider.
In the aforementioned US research, scientists found that of the 20 overweight or obese volunteers who took part, those who tucked into an egg for breakfast instead of cereal had significantly lower levels of ghrelin in their blood three hours after breakfast, and significantly higher levels of the hormone PYY3-36. The former stimulates appetite, while the latter signals that we are full. A further study at the Rochester Centre for Obesity in America found that eggs for breakfast helped to limit calorie intake through the rest of the day by more than 400 calories, when compared with those who bit into bagels for brekkie.
The egg-white omelette has long been a staple of skinny celebs and supermodels, but ditch the yolk and you're missing out on a whole heap of nutritional goodness. In fact whole eggs are literally packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, folate, choline, selenium, and are one of the very few natural food sources to contain vitamin D. That's on top of the high quality protein hidden within its unassuming shell. And remember, all that goodness is packed into just 80 calories.
Even better, all that cholesterol doctors were so concerned about some years back is nothing to worry about for the majority of us. A study at the University of Connecticut found that egg yolks actually help to reduce LDL or 'bad' cholesterol, and the British Nutrition Foundation found that very little of the cholesterol in eggs makes it into the bloodstream anyway.
Proper preparation is key
The way you make your eggs can, of course, make a difference to their healthiness. A breakfast fry-up will leave your eggy goodness smothered in saturated bacon and butter fat, so if you like yours sunny side up, opt instead for a little olive oil.
Eggs aren't just for breakfast. They are a versatile food, and that versatility means you can fit your yolks and whites into a whole variety of tasty meal ideas.
For instance, they can be used to whip up a tasty dressing for a chicken caesar salad, or whole as part of a salad nicoise. Alternatively, try out your baking skills with a flan or quiche, adding healthy, omega-3 packed salmon or tasty tomatoes. The simple Spanish tortilla is a safe but satisfying choice, provided you use the recommended olive oil, and a frittata spiced up with ham, leeks, dill and spinach is a surprisingly healthy way to fill up. And if you're still worried about the calorie count, why not use a mix of whole eggs and egg whites for omelettes or frittatas.
Whatever you do, don't dismiss the humble egg if you're on a diet. With a full belly and a generous helping of healthy nutrients, going to work on an egg just might help you to shift those excess pounds more easily.
Have you embraced eggs as part of your weight loss diet? Leave your comments below...