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A New Egg Verdict: Not Guilty

March 23, 1997|WENDY LIN

A breakfast of eggs is a perfectly good way to start the day, scientists now say. Provided, of course, that you don't overdo a good thing.

Eggs got a bad rap in the '60s and '70s, when it was believed that dietary cholesterol was the major cause of coronary heart disease. Now the emphasis is on saturated fat and total dietary fat, so eggs, in moderation, are being rediscovered for their protein and vitamin content.

The American Heart Assn. recommends that adults who don't have elevated cholesterol limit their egg intake to four a week. "We've always made the egg out to be such a villain," says Luise Light, health editor of Vegetarian Times magazine and a nutritionist. "Actually, saturated fat is the worst villain."

Saturated fat is found in red meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a diet low in saturated fat.

A report issued in September by the American Council on Science and Health says it is unnecessary to exclude eggs from the diet.

"Eggs are not merely cholesterol in a shell," the report says. "Eggs are highly nutritious food." The egg white is considered an ideal protein, for example, because it contains all the essential amino acids and is easily digested. Eggs also are a significant source of iron, riboflavin, folate and vitamins B-12, D and E.

The problem is that many people would love to bring back the breakfast of two eggs, bacon and buttered toast, and that's too much. "I won't go along with the two eggs every day," Light says. "In fact, I wouldn't recommend any food every day. You can have eggs for breakfast. Just skip a couple of days in between."

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