Does Cooking Eggs Oxidize the Cholesterol?
On the one hand, you have the egg white omelet eating folks who believe that egg yolks should be avoided as they are loaded with cholesterol and fat.
Earth to fat phobes: A thorough review of the world’s scientific literature published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in 2009 concluded that eggs and the beneficial cholesterol they contain do not contribute to heart attacks!
Does Cooking Egg Yolks Damage Them?
What about folks that love their fat and cholesterol and realize that these nutrients in their natural state are critical to health, but have somehow bought into the notion that breaking the integrity of the egg yolk as would happen during cooking, baking, or scrambling oxidizes the cholesterol which is the form of this nutrient that is health damaging?
This is also a myth and causes folks to avoid eggs in dishes that would be perfectly healthy to include them. Having a fear of scrambling or whipping eggs into baked goods is a shame. Eating lots of eggs in as many ways as possible is a good dietary practice given that eggs are one of the highest sources of of sulphur.
In fact, sulfur deficiency is increasingly common, and it is a critical nutrient as it helps the body detoxify.
What actually does cause the cholesterol in foods like egg yolks to oxidize?
It’s not simple cooking, baking or scrambling like what happens in our humble kitchens!
Rather, it is the spray drying of foods that occurs when they are forced through tiny holes at obscenely high temperatures and pressures in factories to powderize them for use in a variety of processed foods that is the problem.
This process called extrusion is completely denaturing to the cholesterol in all foods – not just eggs. It also negatively alters the fragile proteins that are present which is why extrusion is so damaging to cereal grains and why boxed cereals even if organic are highly toxic, allergenic foods.
How to Best Eat Your Eggs
The bottom line is just eat your eggs!
Eat them however you enjoy them be it sunny side up, over easy, or scrambled. Egg yolks do not need to be consumed raw and intact to be healthy although eating them this way is fine too!
One caveat on consuming raw eggs. While the egg yolk is fine to consume raw, the egg white is best cooked. According to Chris Masterjohn, an expert on the subject who blogs at Cholesterol and Health, raw egg whites have the following problems:
“They contain inhibitors of the digestive enzyme trypsin, which are destroyed by heat. Consuming 100 grams of raw egg white with one egg yolk compared to consuming the same food cooked was shown in one studyto reduce protein digestion from 90 percent down to 50 percent.
Raw egg whites also contain an anti-nutrient called avidin. Avidin is a glycoprotein that binds to the B vitamin biotin, preventing its absorption. Biotin is necessary for fatty acid synthesis and the maintenance of blood sugar, and is especially important during pregnancy when biotin status declines.”
The next time a bizarre, modern notion like eating a simple bowl of scrambled eggs is dangerous comes along, just think about what your Great Grandparents ate. If they scrambled their eggs, chances are good that you can safely eat them too!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Sources and More Information
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Sarah was awarded Activist of the Year at the International Wise Traditions Conference in 2010.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.