Did you know egg yolks out muscle egg whites?

At this time of year, when maintaining healthy eating routines can be a tough task indeed, putting a focus on what you should eat rather than what to avoid can help to tame your appetite. One key action is to eat well through the day and, at the top of the list, is eating breakfast – one that can have an impact on food cravings later in the day. Breaking the fast with a balanced meal – read adequate good quality protein – can help you avoid polishing off a dessert platter at holiday festivities.

Including an egg or two at breakfast may just be the ticket as research shows that eggs can help with satiety later in the day. But it’s the whole egg, not just egg whites, that has an impact.

I can’t tell you the number of times clients tell me they eat eggs on a regular basis but after closer scrutiny, I often discover they’re only eating the whites. “Aren’t the yolks bad for me?” is likely one of the top 10 questions I’ve been asked by clients over the years. And the problem is that I keep hearing it.

The answer is no. The issue goes back decades to when it was thought the cholesterol found in food raised our blood cholesterol. We now know that, for most people, it’s the saturated fat in foods that boosts blood cholesterol. In a recent editorial about eggs in the December, 2017 issue American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Stuart Phillips, Ph.D., says, “ The egg, due to its cholesterol content, has likely been one of the most maligned foods of the past half century.”

Putting them back on the menu offers a host of health perks including some hard to obtain nutrients such as choline. But the latest news, published in the same journal, points to even more benefits of eating the whole egg.

In a small study of healthy young men at University of Illinois, researchers compared the impact of eating whole eggs versus egg whites only on building muscle following resistance exercise. Their thinking was that the whole egg would be slower to be digested and therefore more slowly incorporated into the muscle. Slower digestion also helps with appetite control. The researchers didn’t expect to see that, even though the amount of protein consumed was the same in both parts of the study, the whole egg led to greater amounts of muscle being synthesized. What component of the yolk is responsible for the effect is not yet known.

Now this research doesn’t mean that you need to shun egg whites. If you’ve got a hearty appetite, you can add them to whole eggs to boost the portion size of your egg dish. For example, if you’re making a frittata or an omelette, using about 2 eggs per serving, adding extra egg whites can increase the portion size without adding a lot of calories. Throw in some extra vegetables and it will increase even more.

The bottom line here is that nutritional science keeps showing us that there are more and more reasons to focus on what you should eat – not on what you shouldn’t.

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Categories: Nutrition News

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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