Tag Archives: eggs

US Government Poised to Drop Cholesterol Warnings? | The Paleo DietCholesterol – is there a more controversial topic in the world of nutrition? For years, we were told that cholesterol is one of the most important biomarkers of health, particularly cardiovascular health. Prominent government- and health-related institutions have traditionally recommended upper limits on dietary cholesterol of 300 mg/day (effectively limiting egg consumption to 1 egg per day.) A recommendation based on the theory that dietary cholesterol – the cholesterol contained in food – negatively impacts cholesterol found in the blood, called serum cholesterol.

With the emergence of more and more scientific evidence, however, this theory has become increasingly untenable, causing many scientists to change their views on cholesterol. The counter theory – that dietary cholesterol has little impact on serum cholesterol – is actually nothing new. Even the progenitor of the misguided lipid theory of heart disease, Ancel Keys, acknowledged back in 1953 that dietary cholesterol doesn’t significantly impact serum cholesterol.1

Unfortunately, cholesterol came to be demonized due to its association with saturated fat and for decades both were thought to be unhealthy. New studies in the past several years have challenged this orthodox view of cholesterol.

The new research has also challenged traditional beliefs about eggs. Rather than limiting egg consumption, the available evidence suggests that eggs are actually cardio-protective.

In March 2017, for example, The Journal of Nutrition published a new study about egg consumption and its positive effects on both HDL function and plasma antioxidant levels.2 Previous studies had shown similar benefits, but those studies were largely conducted on unhealthy populations.3,4,5

The authors of this new study, therefore, decided to test how eating one, two, or three eggs daily would affect healthy young adults. This study was the latest in a series of scientific papers showing that foods rich in dietary cholesterol can actually decrease one’s risk for heart disease – a complete turnaround from the institutional forebodings of decades past.

 

Important, But Not Essential

Cholesterol is not an essential nutrient. This means that although your body requires cholesterol, you’re not dependent on food to obtain it. In fact, your liver produces 90% of the cholesterol needed by your body. Some people use this fact to advance the hypothesis that dietary cholesterol is unnecessary or even unhealthy. This hypothesis is flawed for several reasons, including:

  1. The foods that contain significant amounts of cholesterol also contain many other important nutrients, particularly iron, and vitamin B12.
  2. Nearly all foods that contain bioavailable forms of high-quality protein also contain cholesterol.

 

The Origins of the Theory

So where does the idea that dietary cholesterol is unhealthy come from? Surprisingly, the early studies that inspired this idea were actually conducted on rabbits. While this may seem reasonable, it’s important to remember that rabbits are herbivores. And since their natural diets don’t contain cholesterol, it’s no surprise that it impacts them negatively.

Nikolay Anichkov was the scientist who originally conducted these rabbit studies back in the early 20th century. Interestingly, he fed rabbits a purified form of cholesterol.6 Obtaining cholesterol this way is completely different from obtaining cholesterol from healthy foods. In fact, most of Anichkov’s peers questioned the relevance to human health of his cholesterol experiments performed on rabbits.

Nearly 40 years later, John Gofman became the next major researcher to show interest in the topic. Gofman reported that higher levels of LDL were associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), whereas higher levels of HDL appeared to protect against CHD.7

After Gofman, Ancel Keys became the most prominent heart disease researcher. Through a series of experiments, Keys concluded that saturated fat consumption has the biggest impact on serum cholesterol levels. However, regarding dietary cholesterol, as mentioned above, Keys reported, “repeated careful dietary surveys on large numbers of persons in whom blood cholesterol was measured consistently fail to disclose a relationship between the cholesterol in the diet and in the serum.”8

Keys became known as the father of the lipid hypothesis – the theory that fat consumption, particularly saturated fat, drives heart disease. During the past 15 years or so, the lipid hypothesis has faced serious challenges. One of its core tenets is that saturated fat increase LDL cholesterol, which does in fact correlate with heart disease. However, LDL varies by particle size – small or large.

 

Small versus Large

Small particle LDL is more prone to oxidation and to the formation of subsequent arterial lesions and arterial plaque.9 Large particle LDL is less susceptible to such modifications and therefore carries little, if any, cardiovascular risk. In fact, a study that tracked women for 11 years found no significant association between large particle LDL and cardiovascular disease risk (CVD).10

So how does all this relate to eggs and their relatively high amounts of dietary cholesterol? Some interesting findings emerged from the recent Journal of Nutrition study.2 For example, as egg consumption increased, small LDL decreased and large LDL increased – a win-win with respect to reducing CVD risk. Additionally, concentrations of HDL and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin also increased as daily egg consumption went up.2

One great benefit of HDL is its ability to remove cholesterol from macrophages. This is one of the key aspects of preventing the build-up of cholesterol inside the blood vessels. Additionally, this is one reason why low HDL is related to increased CVD risk.11

 

Conclusions

Eggs have gotten a bad rap, mostly due their high levels of cholesterol and due to our imprecise, yet ever-evolving, views on the relationship between cholesterol-rich foods and blood cholesterol levels.

Unfortunately, the nutrition establishment is still struggling to acknowledge the obvious – that eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods are healthy. Back in 2015, the USDA was in the process of updating its official Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In its Preliminary Report, published in February 2015, the group’s Advisory Committee recommended dropping the decades old 300 mg/day limit on dietary cholesterol. The available evidence, they reported, “shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.”12 Accordingly the committee concluded, “cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for over-consumption.”

Unfortunately, as soon as the clouds of bad conclusions dissipated, they quickly reemerged, again blocking the light of reason and evidence. For in their final report, published in January 2016, the USDA backed away from the Preliminary Report’s encouraging conclusions. Instead, they settled on “individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern.”13

So we’re back to square one. The usual suspects are still warning against dietary cholesterol, whereas the scientific evidence draws other conclusions. Egg-white omelets are still served in many restaurants, whereas the nutrient-rich yolks are often discarded. Are eggs healthy? The science says yes, but you can decide.

References

[1] Keys, A. (1953). Prediction and Possible Prevention of Coronary Disease. Am J Public Health Nations Health., 43(11). Retrieved from (link).

[2] DiMarco DM, et al. (2017). Intake of up to 3 Eggs per Day Is Associated with Changes in HDL Function and Increased Plasma Antioxidants in Healthy, Young Adults. Journal of Nutrition, 147(3). Retrieved from (link).

[3] Herron KL, et al. (2004). High intake of cholesterol results in less atherogenic low-density lipoprotein particles in men and women independent of response classification. Metabolism, 53(6). Retrieved from (link).

[4] Mutungi G, et al. (2008). Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Increases Plasma HDL Cholesterol in Overweight Men Consuming a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet. Journal of Nutrition, 138(2). Retrieved from (link).

[5] Blesso CN, et al. (2013). Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism, 62(3). Retrieved from (link).

[6] Finking G, et al. (1997). Nikolaj Nikolajewitsch Anitschkow (1885-1964) established the cholesterol-fed rabbit as a model for atherosclerosis research. Atherosclerosis, 135(1). Retrieved from (link).

[7] Gotto AM, et al. (2011). Jeremiah Metzger Lecture: Cholesterol, Inflammation and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: Is It All LDL? Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc., 122. Retrieved from (link).

[8] Keys, A. (1953). Prediction and Possible Prevention of Coronary Disease. Am J Public Health Nations Health., 43(11). Retrieved from (link).

[9] Ross R. (1999). Atherosclerosis – an inflammatory disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 340(2). Retrieved from (link).

[10] Mora S, et al. (Feb 2009). Lipoprotein particle profiles by nuclear magnetic resonance compared with standard lipids and apolipoproteins in predicting incident cardiovascular disease in women. Circulation, 119(7). Retrieved from (link).

[11] Assmann G, et al. (1996). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol as a predictor of coronary heart disease risk. The PROCAM experience and pathophysiological implications for reverse cholesterol transport. Atherosclerosis, 124. Retrieved from (link).

[12] 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. (Feb 2015). Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. US Department of Health and Human Services and US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from (link).

[13] USDA. (2016). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Final Report. Retrieved from (link).

All Day Energy Cherry Mint Turkey Balls

Turkey is a great source of protein and high-quality fat. Paired with steamed vegetables or a fresh, garden salad, our Cherry Mint Turkey Balls offer enticing flavors and clean-burning, all day energy.

Wait a second. Doesn’t eating turkey induce sleepiness? This urban legend, most likely inspired by our inclination for napping after Thanksgiving meals, actually has nothing to do with turkey, and much more to do with overeating.

If you’d like to impress your friends with your knowledge of amusing, overly technical scientific jargon, the scientific term for food-induced drowsiness is postprandial somnolence. You might try informing your boss some day that you’ll be away from your desk while you sort out some postprandial somnolence issues. If you say it with enough confidence, it just might work.

Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is the precursor to serotonin and melatonin (by way of serotonin), the neurotransmitters that regulate sleep.1 However, turkey isn’t any higher in tryptophan compared to related foods.

25 g of turkey protein contain 284 mg of tryptophan. You would consume 25 grams of protein from a serving of meat weighing between 100 and 150 grams. Leaner cuts have more protein; more fatty cuts have less. 25 g of beef, lamb, pork, and chicken protein contain 280 mg, 292 mg, 318 mg, and 292 mg of tryptophan, respectively.2 In other words, all types of meat have very similar tryptophan levels.

Interestingly, research shows that high-carbohydrate meals increase serum tryptophan concentrations, whereas meals of protein plus fat have the opposite effect.3 So be careful. If your boss knows you’re eating Paleo, he/she might also know your postprandial somnolence issues are completely unfounded.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-4

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 bundle fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 bundle fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, pitted, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • Chop the cherries finely.
  • Wash and spin-dry the herbs before chopping them finely.
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and mix well.
  • Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix everything together.
  • Form mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until the balls are lightly browned.
mint-turkey
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Note: You can substitute dried cherries for dried cranberries or other dried fruits. Be sure to read the product labels. Commercially sold dried fruits often contain added sugar, vegetable oils, sulfur dioxide, and other ingredients that should be avoided on a Paleo Diet.

Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
@nutrigrail
Nutritional Grail
www.ChristopherJamesClark.com

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

See more recipes!

references

1. Woolf, P. & Lee, L. (July 1, 1977). Effect of the Serotonin Precursor, Tryptophan, on Pituitary Hormone Secretion. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 45(1). Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/jcem-45-1-123

2. Nutrition Data. All figures retrieved July 4, 2014 from http://nutritiondata.self.com

3. Lyons, PM. & Truswell, AS. (March 1988). Serotonin precursor influenced by type of carbohydrate meal in healthy adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 47(3), (433-439). Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/47/3/433.short

Warrior Omelette | The Paleo Diet

Kick off the new day empowered and energized with a hearty Paleo recipe sure to get you through the pressures of the week and the weekend underway!

Ingredients

Serves 1-2

  • 2 large free range organic eggs, scrambled
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup fresh organic spinach leaves
  • 2 organic small tomatoes
  • ½ fresh organic avocado sliced into bite sized pieces

Directions

1. Heat olive oil on low in nonstick omelette pan.

2. Saute onions until tender.

3. Add eggs and cook on low for about 2 minutes.

4. Add remaining ingredients.

5. Fold and flip omelette until eggs are fully cooked.

6. Enjoy!



Live Well, Live Longer.
The Paleo Team

Paleo Breakfast Scramble | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain’s protein packed and flavorful scrambled eggs are guaranteed to jump start your energy levels for the day. Healthful fats and nutrients combined, this dish is one no Paleo breakfast menu should be without.

Ingredients

Serves 1-2

  • 3 Cage-free, non-antibiotic/hormone eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/2lb Breakfast sausage, ethically-raised, preservative-free
  • 3 Bacon Strips, preservative-free
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Fresh green chilli or salsa (optional if you are avoiding nightshades)

Directions

1. Turn on stove top burner to medium heat.

2. Layer bacon, sausage bits, and diced onions in a small, non-stick 6-inch frying pan.

3. Stir frequently with a wood spatula for 8-12 minutes or until cooked evenly.

4. Whisk three eggs in a small mixing bowl.

5. Pour egg mixture over bacon, sausage, and onions.

6. Stir frequently to avoid burning for 2-4 minutes or until eggs are set.

7. Plate egg scramble and garnish with fresh green chili or salsa



Live Well, Live Longer.
The Paleo Team

Omega 3 Eggs as a part of The Paleo Diet | The Paleo Diet

The excerpt below is from www.paleoista.com

You may have noticed a mention of Omega 3 eggs from time to time on my site, blog or recipes.

Wait just one minute.

How can I be suggesting this if the way that chicken eggs become classed as ‘Omega 3 eggs’ is via a diet high in flax seed, something they’re not meant to be eating, and lacking  in what they are meant to be eating (by the way, doesn’t this sound familiar, as in the way most Americans eat- things they’re not supposed to and nothing they are supposed to?) including small critters like bugs?

Aside from warranting literally hungry chickens, the resulting egg is not going to be what it is supposed to be, and the color of the yolk is clear evidence of that.

But that’s only if you eat Omega 3 eggs from that type of source.

How about Omega 3 eggs from hens that have been allowed to forage in a wild environment and eat the diet they’re supposed to eat?

I double checked with my number one go-to resource, Dr. Cordain, and he confirmed:

“Chickens that are allowed to forage in an unrestricted environment in which they eat eat insects, bugs, worms, invertebrates, small amphibians along with wild plant foods produce egg yolks that are dark yellow bordering on red.    The egg shells are thicker and much more difficult to crack than supermarket eggs (either omega 3 enriched or not.).  Further eggs from real, free-ranging chickens taste better, and although few scientific studies have examined these differences, I suspect that free ranging chicken eggs are nutritionally superior to either hen house eggs or even omega 3 enriched eggs from hen-house chickens.  Omega 3 enriched eggs that you can buy at the supermarket are better than the generic, cheap hen house raised versions, but still are inferior to eggs laid by chickens allowed to forage in a wild environment.”

He also referred me to a very useful website: http://eatwild.com/ .

Eat your eggs!  Not comfortable with raw?  A six-minute, soft-boiled egg is a happy medium between raw, with higher nutrients but also possible higher bacteria levels, and scrambled and cooked to death.

I love a runny egg cracked over a plate of any greens- so delicious and nutritious!

Nell Stephenson
@nellstephenson
Paleoista
www.Paleoista.com

Nell Stephenson | The Paleo Diet TeamNell Stephenson is a competitive Ironman athlete, personal trainer, and a health and nutrition consultant. She has an exercise science degree from the University of Southern California, a health/fitness instructor certification from the American College of Sports Medicine, and over a decade in the health, fitness and nutrition industry. To support her training for the Ironman Triathlon, Nell has tried many different nutritional plans and has found that the Paleo Diet is superior to all other ways of eating. She’s found that she’s leaner, faster, and fitter than ever before and uses her own experience to teach clients how to achieve optimal nutrition and health. You can visit her website at paleoista.com

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