Tag Archives: cholesterol

What’s the deal with eggs?

Q: I just read this article about nutrition and eggs. While I don’t particularly like eating eggs, it was intriguing to me. What are your thoughts on the incredible, edible egg?

A: This was a very interesting article. Thanks for sharing it with me.

On the whole, I think there is enough research out there that shows one egg per day is safe for MOST people. There are hyper-responders, as mentioned in the article, who may need to be more cautious. Eggs are a great source of protein. And they are generally a “filling” breakfast, which can be helpful for those trying to limit calorie intake.

I think this article points out something critical about almost all nutrition recommendations/advice. Very little in nutrition is black and white. Consumers are always looking for “eat this, not that” advice. But it isn’t that simple. There are better choices, but it always depends on what you are comparing it too.

I really like the quote from Dr. Willett at the end. “In terms of health, they {eggs} seem to be in the middle somewhere.”

So, enjoy your eggs occasionally. But that doesn’t mean you need to eat only eggs for breakfast forever.

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Cheeseburgers for health?

I promise I am not affiliated with Freakonomics in any way. But they had another podcast recently about health and nutrition that I found very interesting. It was the antithesis of Super Size Me and fits within my philosophy pretty well, too.

The podcast, titled “The Cheeseburger Diet”, follows the story of a women who was determined to find the best cheeseburger in Louisville, Kentucky. She determined to eat two cheeseburgers for a week for an entire year. Since that logically raises some health concerns, she monitored her weight throughout the year as well as testing her cholesterol before and after. After a year, her weight was exactly the same. Her total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol had increased but not to concerning levels. Her HDL (“good”) cholesterol had actually increased to a better level. Surprising, yes?

Not really, when she further examined her life during that year. Since she new that she was going to be eating cheeseburgers regularly, she focused on healthier items the rest of the week. She also exercised more to help offset any effects of the cheeseburger. She even said once the experiment was over, she ate less healthy because she wasn’t monitoring her “junk” intake as much.

While I don’t recommend eating fast food twice a week every week for a healthy life, I think her experiment highlights something important. You don’t have to never eat junk food, fast food, or the food you love. The trick is to eat it sparingly, and be healthier the rest of the time to compensate for it.

What does that look like in real life? Here are a couple other examples, a few which may be helpful as we continue with the busy holiday eating season and as you are considering your New Year’s resolutions.

– Once a week, we eat breakfast for dinner. Often, that means we have less vegetables for dinner than we normally would. On that day, I focus on eating extra vegetables for lunch to make sure I get enough in for the day.

– I’ve known several friends who limit themselves to treats only one day per week. If they cheat, they have to pay money to a “fund” that goes to any participants who don’t cheat.

I hope you have a wonderful, delicious holiday season filled with moderation as needed but enjoyment of your favorite Christmas treats!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Q&A: Meat and cholesterol

Q:  My cholesterol is a little high but my doctor isn’t too worried yet. We’re eating some vegetarian meals several times a week now. We were wondering if pork is any better than beef, comparatively speaking?

A:   Thank you so much for the question.  It is great that you are being proactive about your health.

Many people think that to lower your blood cholesterol you should decrease the amount of cholesterol in your diet.  While this can help, you should focus more on the amount of saturated fat in your diet, since that actually contributes more to high blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.

For healthy adults, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation is to consume less than 10% of your calories from saturated fat (about 22 g for a 2,000 calorie diet) and less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.  If you want to lower your cholesterol, the National Institutes of Health recommend that you consume less than 7% of your calories from saturated fat (about 15 g for a 2,000 calorie diet) and less than 200 mg of cholesterol daily.

With that in mind, here are the amounts of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in a three ounce serving of several meat products: 

Food (3 oz serving)

      Fat (g)

   Saturated Fat (g)

    Cholesterol (mg)

Beef tenderloin (trimmed of fat)

7

2.7

70

Ground beef (95/5)

6

3

76

Pork loin chop (trimmed of fat)

5

1.8

61

Chicken breast (no skin)

3

.9

72

Salmon

4.5

.8

47

Bison

2

.8

70

As you can see, beef has the most saturated fat of the meats listed, even when you choose lean cuts.  Pork does have a bit less, making it is a slightly better choice, but there are even better choices out there.  Bison is much leaner than beef and has a fairly similar taste.  However, it can be fairly expensive and difficult to find.  Chicken and salmon are also excellent choices — both are low in saturated fat and generally available.

I hope that helps.  Thanks again for the question!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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