Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Eggs have been vindicated in the last two decades as a villain causing cholesterol plaque build up in our arteries or have they? Actually, it depends how they are cooked. It is true egg yolks contain the highest amount of cholesterol of any type of cuisine, but it is also high in healthful micronutrients such as choline for our brain and cysteine the all important building blocks of protein formation. It is not the cholesterol we eat, but the cholesterol our body produces depending on our genetics and the other kinds of ‘foods” we eat. In an individual prone to develop high cholesterol and atherosclerosis, trans fats, sugars and oxidized foods are the culprits. The cholesterol in the egg is oxidized when cooked in certain ways that expose it to air and heat. Therefore scrambled eggs or omelets have a large amount of oxidized cholesterol that clog up our blood vessels if we are genetically unfortunate as is 30% of our population.

In the past, I described ale, ape, and age. These stand for Advanced Lipid End products, such as in eggs, Advanced Protein End products that are in roasted foods and Advanced Glycosylated End products such as in caramelized ones. These are pro-oxidants that “rust” our arteries by oxidizing our body’s cholesterol after production. Although, tasting better than the non-oxidized portion, these delicious crunchy morsels are dangerous to our health in causing not only cardiovascular disease, but also cancer! In cooking any food, the hotter, it is, the more dangerous it becomes. The worst method is grilled, followed by roasted then baked in which the food is heated up in excess of 212 degrees. Far better is poached, braised, boiled, and crock pot methods. In the preparations these items because of the water never exceeds 212 degrees, and there is little or no ale, ape or age and no oxidized cholesterol. The latter is the worst of all since it is directly absorbed into our blood stream and impacts directly on our artery wall.

Poached or boiled eggs or maybe a fried egg are OK, since the cholesterol containing yolk remains intact. But even fried eggs have some ape; the delicious brown “skirt” around the white. It also has ale from the butter or oil used in frying. This is why in general fried foods are not healthy. Antioxidants we should be consuming do mitigate some of this. Since I have heard of ale, occasionally, I will eat a fried egg, rarely an omelet and never scrambled one!

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