Archive for the tag - eggs

Is Eating Cholesterol Bad For You?

men-guys-food-naked-shirtless-cooking-apron-ass-gay-TMI-muscle-bulge-cleaning-hot-sexy-cuteCholesterol is one of those things that gets a pretty bad rap. And, in some regards, rightfully so. If you have high levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood (i.e., the bad cholesterol), you’re at increased risk for heart disease.

As such, it only seems logical to think that eating lots of high cholesterol foods would lead to higher levels of blood cholesterol. Conversely, it would make sense that limiting dietary cholesterol would lower blood cholesterol. But, over the years, we’ve discovered that it doesn’t always work like that – just as low fat diets didn’t make us any less fat.

Eggs are a perfect example. In a previously referenced study by the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, the consumption of 2-3 eggs per day was found to have little or no impact on blood cholesterol levels in 2/3 of participants. For the other 1/3 of participants, blood cholesterol levels did rise. But the levels of so-called “good” cholesterol increased in proportion to the levels of “bad” cholesterol, so the ratio of good to bad cholesterol stayed the same.

Studies like these have prompted the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the nation’s top nutrition panel, to no longer consider cholesterol as a nutrient of concern. The decision, which took place in December, will likely impact everything from dietary guidelines to school lunches. In other words, this decision has some serious balls.

According to an article in The Washington Post:

The new view on cholesterol in food does not reverse warnings about high levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood, which have been linked to heart disease. Moreover, some experts warned that people with particular health problems, such as diabetes, should continue to avoid cholesterol-rich diets.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to celebrate with an omelet.

P.S. For a simple, easy guide to transforming the way you look and feel through the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

Are Cage-Free Eggs More Nutritious?

Free_range_chicken_flockWhen you go to the market to pick up eggs, you’ll see labels like cage-free, free-range and organic. It begs the question: What do these labels really mean? And are any of these eggs healthier than others?

Before we talk nutrition, let’s cover the different types of eggs you’ll encounter.

Standard Eggs

These are the inexpensive eggs that most consumers purchase. In fact, 97% of eggs purchased in the United States fall into this category and are laid by hens living in battery cages. While this method of egg farming is cheap and efficient, the conditions for hens are poor; cages are very crowded and hens never see the outdoors.

Cage-Free Eggs

Most people are surprised to learn that conditions for cage-free hens aren’t much better than those experienced by battery cage hens. Though these hens don’t have cages, they usually live on the floor of a barn with little room to move – though it can be different from farm to farm. These hens have perches and some nesting materials. It’s also worth noting that there is very little oversight for cage-free claims, so the actual farm conditions may vary from the packaging.

Free-Range Eggs

These hens experience the highest quality of life, and usually have access to nesting boxes, perches and the outdoors. Because these hens are less tightly controlled and the process is less efficient, free-range eggs tend to be quite pricey.

Organic Eggs

The USDA defines organic eggs as coming from hens who were fed no antibiotics, growth hormones or animal byproducts. In order to quality for the organic label, the diet fed to the hens must have been grown on land that hasn’t used toxic or chemical pesticides and fertilizer for at least three years. Organic does not mean that the hens were treated particularly well, nor does the USDA require organic eggs to be from cage-free or free-range hens. Having said that, most organic egg producers raise cage-free hens.

So which eggs are the healthiest? According to at least one study, there are no nutritional differences among the different egg types. Nonetheless, moral questions persist and each of us must decide how we want our food treated.

The best bet is to find a local farmer who sells eggs. Visit his or her farm. See how the hens live. And then decide for yourself.

In the comments below, let me know which type of eggs you buy and why!

Chicken Eggs Vs. Duck Eggs.

Duck egg (left) versus chicken egg (right).

Duck egg (left) versus chicken egg (right).

We eat chicken eggs. So why not duck eggs?

With that mindset, I purchased my first package of duck eggs from the local farmer’s market. But when it came time to actually eat the eggs, I’m embarrassed to admit that I became a little squeamish. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Aside from being a bit larger in size, having a higher yoke to white ratio and a being slightly richer in flavor (which makes duck eggs a tasty substitute in recipes), the eggs are nearly indistinguishable.

According to the farmer from which I acquired the duck eggs, they’re better for you – and so I decided to dig deeper. As it turns out, there are some distinct nutritional differences between chicken eggs and duck eggs.

Duck eggs, on nearly every measure, have more nutrients and vitamins per 100 grams than chicken eggs. Whether it’s calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, thiamin, etc., duck eggs pack more nutritional punch on almost every count.

Duck eggs are also a richer source of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, commonly found in fish oils, are vital for normal metabolism but can’t be synthesized by the body. In other words, you have to obtain these fatty acids through your diet.

On the flip side, the duck eggs are slightly higher in calories (185 vs 149 per 100 grams) and have twice the cholesterol of traditional eggs. Keep in mind, the impact of dietary cholesterol (the cholesterol we eat) on the cholesterol in our blood is fairly small. Unless you already have high blood cholesterol levels or an otherwise unhealthy diet, the increased cholesterol in duck eggs isn’t cause for concern.

Because duck eggs have a thicker shell, they’re said to have a longer shelf life. If refrigerated, according to my local farmer, the eggs are edible for up to six weeks.

The bottom line: If you’re looking to switch things up, duck eggs are a delicious, rich substitution – and their health benefits are no yoke. I mean, no joke.

High Protein Breakfast Prevents Unhealthy Snacking.

slide05-healthy-eggsIf you’re looking to upgrade your diet, one of the easiest ways to start is with a protein-rich breakfast – at least, according to the latest study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. And yet, up to 60% of young Americans skip what is arguably the most important meal of the day.

For the study, a group of women ages 18 – 20 either skipped breakfast, ate breakfast cereal or consumed a protein-rich breakfast of eggs and meat. Regardless of the food type, all the breakfasts were matched for calories, fat, fiber, sugar and energy density. Only protein varied – with the high-protein breakfast containing some 35 grams.

Throughout the course of the study, participants completed questionnaires, provided blood samples and underwent an evening brain scan. After reviewing the data, researchers found that eating a high-protein breakfast led to increased fullness and a decrease in brain activity associated with food cravings. In addition, eating a high-protein breakfast was associated with reduced evening snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods – as compared to skipping breakfast or eating a cereal.

According to researchers:

These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.

If you’re looking for a high-protein breakfast, eggs, protein shakes, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are all protein-rich choices to upgrade your early morning meal.

What do you usually eat for breakfast? Let me know in the comments below.

5 More Fitness Myths Busted!

It takes a lot more than protein to create a body like this.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: There’s so much misinformation when it comes to health, nutrition and fitness. Today, let’s bust a few of the most common and most pervasive myths.

Myth #1: Soda is bad for you – so drink fruit juice instead

It’s true that soda is bad for you, but fruit juice isn’t much better. Sure, it may have some additional vitamins. But even fruit juice is loaded with sugar and calories. As a response to sugar, the body releases insulin – which triggers increased fat storage. Instead of drinking soda, drink water. The only time when drinking sugary beverages make sense is immediately following a workout when the body is craving carbs – and it needs them quickly. Simple sugars get absorbed the fastest.

Myth #2: A fat-free diet is good for you!

Definitely not. Your body needs fat. Essential fats help facilitate many of your body’s functions, and help promote a healthy heart and joints, among other things. If you cut out all the fat from your diet, you’d become very, very sick. Instead, focus on consuming the healthier fats – like those found in fish and plants.

Myth #3: A high-protein diet will make your muscles grow

Not true. A high-protein diet does help support muscle growth; muscles need protein to grow. But muscles will only grow if they are forced to do so – and it takes exercise (and increasingly heavier amounts of resistance) to make that happen.

Myth #4: Drinking lots of water makes you gain weight

Actually, drinking lots of water helps boost your metabolism and burn calories. In fact, numerous studies have shown that the opposite of this myth is true – that if you don’t drink enough water, you’re more likely to gain body fat. When the body is dehydrated, it is under stress – and the body’s reaction to stress is retaining fat. If you aren’t getting enough water, you’re selling yourself – and your results – short.

Myth #5: Brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs

Actually, the color of the egg has nothing to do with the nutritional content. The breed of the hen determines the egg’s color. This myth likely resulted from the nutritional differences between white and wheat bread – but it has no scientific foundation.

There you have it! Five more health, fitness and nutrition myths finally busted! Stay tuned for more. 🙂

And on a related side note, another fitness myth is that you need to use fancy equipment to make big fitness gains. Not true. In fact, I created my brand-new Jock Workout to be an equipment-free workout that you can do at home (or at the gym) without anything else to buy. Check it out today – and watch the free preview. Use discount code “blog” before June 7th to save 25% during checkout. Enjoy!

Is the Cholesterol in Eggs Bad for You?

We know that eggs are a great source of protein, but have you ever looked at the nutrition information printed on the cartoon? In addition to 6.5 grams of protein, eggs contain a sobering 213 mg of cholesterol. That’s about 71% of the recommended daily cholesterol intake for a healthy individual.

So does that mean we should avoid eating eggs? Probably not.

The impact of dietary cholesterol (i.e., the cholesterol we eat) has a fairly small impact on the cholesterol in our blood. Some people with high cholesterol diets have low blood cholesterol, and some people with low cholesterol diets have high blood cholesterol.

In a study by cholesterol researcher Dr. Maria Luz Fernandez of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, the consumption of 2-3 eggs per day was found to have little or no impact on blood cholesterol levels in 2/3 of participants.

For the other 1/3 of participants, blood cholesterol levels did rise. But the levels of so-called “good” cholesterol increased in proportion to the levels of “bad” cholesterol, so the ratio of good to bad cholesterol stayed the same. This ratio of good to bad cholesterol is considered a better indicator of the risk of heart disease than overall cholesterol concentrations.

Moreover, it seems that in the 1/3 of participants with an increase in cholesterol levels, the cholesterol particles became more bigger and not more numerous. When measuring cholesterol levels in laboratories, it’s done by weight. The researchers from this study believe that the increase in weight wasn’t because there were more cholesterol particles, but just that the existing particles became larger. And larger cholesterol particles are less likely to get stuck in arteries and cause heart disease.

So what does it all mean?

If you already have cardiovascular disease, a poor diet that is high in saturated fat, diabetes or high blood cholesterol levels, it’s probably a good idea to avoid eggs or to consume them sparingly. For healthy individuals, consuming eggs as part of a balanced diet is perfectly acceptable – just don’t go overboard. And, since the cholesterol and saturated fat from eggs is contained primarily in the yolk, egg whites are a great alternative – and they still provide just over half of the egg’s protein.

That should be egg-cellent news for egg lovers.

Healthy End of Summer Salad! [Recipe]

I’m excited to bring another post in a continuing series by my good friend and fellow Underwear Yogi, Nick Kindrick. Enjoy!

Hello friends in fitness. I sometimes help out at the Union Square Greenmarket here in New York City, as I did this past week. Being obsessed with food, it’s truly one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. Right now is really my favorite time at the market. The pumpkins, apples and cauliflower begin to appear and gently remind us that fall has in fact, arrived, yet the tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers of summer are still fighting their way to the market. Who knows when the first frost will arrive? We just sense it will be soon.

In honor of summer’s last stand, I present you with a beautiful, nutritious and delicious salad. I know what you’re thinking… salad is salad. But, salad can be a great, light and satisfying meal. I LOVE “entree salads,” which are essentially salads substantial enough to be a one-plate-meal. With the addition of some wholewheat bread and some leftover pesto, this was an awesome ode to summer, on a plate. Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. If you don’t have something, it’s okay. I did this in less than 30 minutes. Hint: a large bowl (of any sort – even a pasta pot would do in a pinch) is essential to mix this salad.

Serves 2.

For the salad:

  • 3/4 lb fresh tuna or 1 can of tuna, drained
  • 1 large tomato, cut into  wedges
  • 1/2 lb green and/or yellow string beans, trimmed of stems
  • 1/2 lb of potatoes of any variety, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 1 small red or yellow (or even green or purple!!) bell pepper, stems, seeds and veins removed, sliced thinly into strips
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs (cook in a gentle boil of water for 7-8 minutes, let cool and then peel), cut in half
  • any mixture of hearty lettuces, washed and dried, to serve as a bed for all of these ingredients (I used red leaf and mature arugula)

For the vinaigrette:

  • the juice of 1 freshly, squeezed lemon
  • 1 T of Dijon mustard
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small purple onion, sliced paper thin
  • a couple of leaves of fresh parsley and basil, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste (kosher salt is preferred)

Make the vinaigrette first. This will allow all of the flavors to mingle longer, which will produce a more tasty dressing.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and the mustard. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the garlic, onions, and herbs. Whisk a little more and set aside.

To compose the salad, place the greens at the bottom of your bowl. Fill a medium pot with water. Bring to a boil. Add some salt and when it begins to boil again, use a spoon to taste it (after it cools a moment, unless your a Masochist). If it tastes like the sea, then it’s sufficiently salty. If not, add some more. Add the potatoes and boil until tender (can you easily pierce the potatoes with a knife?). Approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove the potatoes, most easily with a slotted spoon. Place in a separate bowl, and while hot, pour some of the vinaigrette over the warm potatoes. When the water returns to a boil, add the beans. Boil for another 4-5 minutes, till the beans are tender (I prefer the beans al dente, with a little crunch). Remove the beans from the bowl and let cool, a minute or so, and add to the greens in the salad bowl. Add the slices of cucumber and bell pepper to the greens. Add the tomatoes to the bowl as well.

To cook the tuna, add 1 T extra virgin olive oil in a pan and turn to high. Sprinkle the tuna steak with salt. Just before the pan begins to smoke (but is NOT), when the oil is very, very hot, turn down the heat to medium, add the tuna steak and sear on 1 side for 1 minute, then the other side for a second minute. This will give you tuna that is rare to medium rare, depending on the size of your steak. If you like it more done than less, cook slightly longer.  If you prefer tuna that is cooked through well, use canned tuna. Remove the tuna from the pan, and pour the hot oil and juices over your salad. Slice the tuna.

Add a pinch of salt to the salad and then the remaining vinaigrette. Mix well with your hands. Yes, I wrote hands. Just wash your hands before you do this step. This is the best way to properly dress a salad. Be certain to dress each square inch of every vegetable is dressed and it will be delicious. Then add the potatoes and give one more gentle toss, just be careful with the potatoes. Taste the salad. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you like. Serve the salad on plates, and place the halves of hard boiled egg on the plates and the slices of tuna on top.