I just picked up a couple dozen eggs because it’s almost time for some egg coloring (and yes, I still take part—the kids don’t get all the fun)! In case you haven’t noticed, eggs are now getting stars—something I’m particularly happy about since we consume lots of eggs in my household. Here’s what this change is all about.
Eggs are a healthful food—even with that cholesterol
Eggs are an affordable, nutrient-dense food providing protein and plenty of vitamins and minerals (including vitamin D and choline—two nutrients that most of us need more of), most of which are found in the egg yolk. Eggs do contain relatively high amounts of dietary cholesterol; it’s true. Our bodies synthesize all the cholesterol we need (yes, we actually use cholesterol for important things in our bodies), meaning we don’t need to consume it at all.
Moderate egg consumption is fine for most folks
Despite the fact that the eggs themselves haven’t changed, the latest release of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines no longer calls for a specific quantitative limit on dietary cholesterol (it was 300mg/day). Why? The science on dietary cholesterol has evolved, and for most people, blood cholesterol—not dietary cholesterol—is what is associated with heart disease and stroke. In addition, newer science indicates that the amount of cholesterol we eat doesn’t make as big of an impact on our overall blood cholesterol levels as we previously thought. Moderation is still the best way to go when it comes to egg consumption though. And for people who already have heart disease or a family history of it, type 2 diabetes or high blood cholesterol levels, keeping egg consumption low is suggested to minimize risk. For the rest of us, the Dietary Guidelines recommend that prudent consumption of dietary cholesterol is wise for overall health. One way to do this is to consume a diet that is low in saturated fats, as saturated fat and dietary cholesterol often are found in the same foods. (For the record, eggs are not high in saturated fat.) And certainly, eliminating eggs completely is not required.
An egg-cellent update to the Guiding Stars algorithm
(Did you really think you’d get away without some sort of egg pun?) With the general re-acceptance of eggs among health authorities, the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel decided it was time to take another look at eggs. After months spent reviewing the science and implications of a change, the group agreed that an update to the algorithm was in order. The Guiding Stars algorithm is the scientific “formula” used to rate foods and decide upon their star values. Keeping current with scientific consensus is part of what makes the Guiding Stars program relevant and helpful to consumers. So, instead of imposing debits on the scoring of those foods that contain dietary cholesterol, the revised algorithm simply imposes a “kick out” rule (similar to what is done for foods that are high in sugar or sodium) whereby any food that contains more than 300mg cholesterol per 100-calorie portion will not earn any stars. Eggs make the cut and therefore now earn one star—check out their new star-power the next time you visit the egg case. And if you’re looking for a new idea that uses some of those hard boiled eggs you may soon have on hand, check out this super-easy, star-earning recipe.