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What is in Egg?

 

What is usually your menu for breakfast? Coffee and pandesal with fried egg, or LONGSILOG (Longganisa, Sinangag and Itlog), or TAPSILOG  (Tapa, Sinangag and Itlog). Egg offers a delightful way to start the day. With egg in your breakfast, your day will be eggciting! Or if you have no time to prepare your children’s packed lunch or baon, what do you usually give them? Itlog na maalat(salted eggs) with fresh tomatoes, or Tortang itlog with cornbeef or ground pork? You don’t need extra time for your kid’s baon because egg is convenient and easy to prepare. It is readily available and requires short cooking time. Egg is the cheapest source of high quality protein, inexpensive high quality protein food. Egg also contains all the essential amino acids. It has choline that develops memory function and improves memory capability. It also contains most of the recognized vitamins, such as folate which is essential for the prevention of birth defects in infants and heart diseases in older folks and vitamin D that aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus and essential in keeping bones strong.

The truth in egg is that it is a nutrient-dense food because it contains high quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals. But if we talk about egg, we also talk about egg yolk. Egg yolk is high in cholesterol, which may contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol is major risk factor to coronary heart disease and stroke because it leads to fatty build ups in artery walls. Cholesterol and other fats are transported through the blood stream in the form of round particles called lipoproteins. The two most commonly known lipoproteins are low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL or “low density lipoprotein” is commonly called “bad” cholesterol.

It can contribute to the formation of plaque build up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. HDL or “high density lipoprotein is known as “good” cholesterol. It is a type of fat in the blood that helps remove cholesterol from the blood, preventing the fatty build up and formation of plaque.

THE EGG CONTROVERSY

Recently, there has been a growing controversy on egg consumption. A group of researchers says that eating an egg a day is OK, while the traditional belief on egg consumption is to limit egg intake to two to four eggs per week. To confirm the findings of other researchers, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI-DOST) headed by Mrs. Celeste C. Tanchoco, Scientist I and Chief, Science Research Specialist, conducted a study on the effect of regular consumption of egg on serum cholesterol, triglycerides, LDLcholesterol, and HDL cholesterol among selected 30-60 year old free-living Filipino adults.

A total of 115 subjects were included in the study, of which, 61 were of normal weight and 54 were overweight. Results of the study showed a significant increase in LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglyceride among female subjects after the egg-eating phase while no significant differences, was seen among males. During the egg eating phase a significant decrease in HDL cholesterol and a significant increase in LDL cholesterol were seen among the 41-50 year old subjects. Whereas at the end of the no egg phase, the total cholesterol of this same group was found significantly higher compared to the cholesterol level at the start of the intervention. Total energy intake, protein and fat were higher during the egg-eating phase compared with the no egg phase. However, a significant relationship between dietary fiber and serum total cholesterol was seen among subjects with normal weight during the no egg phase. Both LDL and total cholesterol were shown to increase at the end of both egg-eating phase and no egg phase for both normal and overweight subjects.

Despite the increase, the mean of the subjects’ blood lipid levels were shown to be at the normal range at the end of both regimen. The results of the study suggest that consumption of up to 1 egg per day is unlikely to have substantial increase in blood lipid levels. Aside from overall diet, it is recommended that practicing a healthy lifestyle such as weight maintenance, regular exercise, non smoking, moderation in alcohol intake, and regular medical check-up will reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

*Article taken from FNRI-DOST 2007 and contributed by Czarina Martinez, NCS-RUMD