Studio: 6809 Cascade Rd SE, Suite A, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Protein Cracked: Making A Case For The Egg

February 12th, 2019 by Debbie Martilotta

Egg whites are a high-quality protein source, but whole eggs often get a bad rap. It’s time to crack a few myths and showcase the power of the yolk.

Egg whites are often referred to as the perfect protein, due to their amino-acid makeup and the body’s ability to utilize them properly.

The average large, whole egg contains about 72 calories, 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, about 200 mg of cholesterol, and nearly no carbs. The average large egg white contains only 17 calories, 4 g of protein, and no carbs, fat, or cholesterol.

Egg whites contain as many as 40 different proteins. Of these, ovalbumin constitutes the majority, making up about 55 percent of the protein in egg white. Ovotransferrin is an iron-binding protein in egg whites that provides antimicrobial properties and makes up over 10 percent of the protein content. Ovomucin is another type of protein that makes up less than 5 percent of egg-white protein and provides the jellying property of egg white, as well as antimicrobial properties.

Egg-white protein is rich in BCAAs and arginine, as well as the sulfur-containing amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids are critical for maintaining the structure of many proteins such as collagen, which is critical for maintaining joint health and levels of certain hormones.

Although bodybuilders used to focus on just the egg white for protein and avoided the yolk because of the fat and cholesterol—it’s now known that it’s more beneficial to consume both the egg white and the yolk together. That’s because that golden center contains the majority of the micronutrients in eggs, including vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, B vitamins, selenium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus.

The yolk also contains all of the egg’s fat and cholesterol, but don’t let that scare you off. Blood cholesterol levels don’t seem to be negatively affected by whole eggs. In fact, one study from the University of Connecticut tested the cholesterol response of 25 males and 27 females to an egg diet (640 mg per day of additional cholesterol) and a non-egg diet (no additional cholesterol). They found the cholesterol in egg yolks does not raise the LDL cholesterol particles that are particularly associated with the development of cardiovascular disease.

We now know that fat is important in a diet. The saturated fat in egg yolks is less than half of the total fat. But saturated and monounsaturated fat, also in egg yolks, are important for maintaining higher testosterone levels. The fat and cholesterol from yolks, which was once thought of as harmful, appears to provide benefits for those who do strength training.

In fact, in a head-to-head egg comparison, consuming more whole eggs was shown to help with muscle gain and strength. The magic number? Three. One study from Texas A&M found that subjects consuming three whole eggs a day while following a weight-lifting program for 12 weeks gained twice as much muscle mass and twice as much strength as subjects eating either just one egg per day or no eggs. Those kinds of benefits may be due to the cholesterol content. After all, cholesterol is converted to testosterone in the body.

Cholesterol also helps maintain the integrity of muscle cell membranes, which helps them function properly and avoid breakdown. Scientists from Kent State University put 47 older adults (ages 60-69) on a 12-week weight-lifting program and tested them before and after for changes in muscle mass and strength. They placed all subjects on a moderate protein diet and divided them into two groups. One group followed a lower-cholesterol diet (1.6 mg per pound of body weight or approximately 150-250 mg per day), while the other half consumed a higher cholesterol diet (2.6 mg per pound of body weight or about 250-450 mg per day). After 12 weeks the group that consumed the lower-cholesterol diet did not increase muscle mass and only increased their strength by about 35 percent. The higher-cholesterol group, on the other hand, had an increase in muscle mass of about 5 pounds and upped their strength by about 90 percent.

Eggs can also help you get leaner. Research from Saint Louis University found that people who ate eggs for breakfast consumed fewer calories throughout the day than those who had breakfast with the same amount of calories from a carb-heavy bagel. A follow-up study by the same team found that when women consumed two eggs for breakfast at least five times per week over a 12-week period, they lost 65 percent more weight and had a 34-percent larger reduction in waist size compared to those who skipped the eggs. The study also found that adding two whole eggs to breakfast resulted in no changes in cholesterol levels.

Consider eating two or three whole eggs each day to take advantage of all the benefits eggs have to offer in regard to performance and body composition. You can bump up the protein intake by adding an extra white or two for each yolk.

While eggs are typically thought of as a breakfast food, you can enjoy them anytime throughout the day. Hardboiled eggs work great in salads or as a stand-alone snack. If you really want to kick your eggs up a notch, try my Egg and Ham Cups; they’re delicious and easy to make.

by Jim Stoppani, Ph.D.

Not all Calories are Created Equal

March 6th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Calories are not the issue…where those calories come from IS!

For years we’ve been told that “a calorie is a calorie”. NOT SO! Eat lean protein (grass-fed, free-range, organic, wild-caught), good fat and complex carbs (from veggies) and you won’t have to worry about calories!

People who ate plenty of vegetables and whole foods lost significant amounts of weight over the course of the year without restricting the quantity of food that they consumed, according to a new study published in JAMA on Tuesday.

The study, led by Christopher D. Gardner, the director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, looked at 600 people who were split into two diet groups. One group ate low-carb food and the other followed a low-fat diet, The New York Times reports.

The original goal of the study was to compare how overweight and obese people handled each diet, but both groups were encouraged to choose better quality food over processed options. At the end of the year, both groups had lost a good deal of weight. The low-carb participants lost an average of 13 pounds, while the low-fat group lost an average of 11.7 pounds. Both groups also saw improvement in other health factors such as blood pressure and body fat.

The study suggests that health professionals should encourage people to avoid processed foods that have refined starches and added sugars such as white bread, bagels, and sugary snacks and instead focus on eating more high-quality food.

Researchers say that it’s not that calories don’t matter. Participants in both groups were eating less by the end of the study, but that calories shouldn’t be the main focus when it comes to weight loss.

The Reasons Why I Offer Farm Fresh Eggs in DBM Studio

February 19th, 2018 by Debbie Martilotta

Eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Full of essential vitamins and proteins, they provide us with many nutritional benefits, but is there really a difference between farm-fresh eggs and the ones you find in the supermarket?

Differences In Flavor

Ask any farmer and they’ll tell you that their homegrown eggs are richer and better-tasting than the supermarket variety. In blind taste tests, store-bought eggs and farm-fresh eggs are barely distinguishable by flavor.

Nutritional Value Comparisons

The real benefits of free-range eggs are in their nutritional value. Studies show several advantages to farm-fresh eggs, including:

  • less cholesterol
  • less saturated fat
  • increased vitamins A, E, and D
  • more omega-3 fatty acids
  • more beta-carotene

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our body’s day to day functions and help to prevent several chronic diseases. The nutrients that increase the amount of fatty acids in eggs come from chickens eating things like bugs, leafy greens, corn, and flowers—ingredients completely vacant from a caged hen’s diet.

The vitamins in eggs are all extremely beneficial to your diet. Many people have a vitamin-D deficiency. Pasture-raised eggs are widely regarded as one of the best food sources of vitamin D.

While both farm-fresh and store-bought eggs have cholesterol, backyard eggs contain lower amounts, and most of the cholesterol in eggs is considered “good” cholesterol that will not have the same detrimental health effects as “bad” cholesterol. Cholesterol is actually a very important part of our diet and helps us maintain calcium and phosphorous levels in our bloodstreams.

Treatment Of The Chickens That Lay Your Eggs

If you raise your own chickens or know a local farmer with a small flock, you can rest assured that your eggs were humanely produced. Even commercial eggs you find that are labeled “cage-free” are usually produced in a warehouse with hundreds of chickens crammed together and little natural light or fresh feed. According to the Humane Society of the United States, only egg cartons marked “free range,” “pasture raised” and/or “USDA Certified Organic” can actually be guaranteed to come from birds with outdoor access and the space to walk around in their enclosures.

Chickens are more naturally inclined and proven to be healthier when able to forage for themselves and participate in normal chicken activities, such as dust bathing and nightly roosting. If you want to know more about how your farm-fresh eggs were raised, talk to the farmer who raised them for more information about their husbandry practices.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Eggs

Something you can be certain of if you keep a flock and collect your own eggs is you’ll know how long the eggs sat on your counter before you cooked them. Supermarket eggs take between one and three days to reach the store and can sit on the shelf for up to 30 days before being purchased. The USDA recommends consuming eggs within five weeks if refrigerated, so a supermarket egg may only have a week of optimum freshness when you purchase it. It can be much easier to distinguish the difference in flavor between fresh eggs and ones that are weeks old, and buying older eggs may lead to the belief that store-bought eggs do not taste as good.

If you raise your own chickens and don’t wash your eggs before storing, they can stay on the countertop at room temperature until you’re ready to use them because the protective bloom hasn’t been removed. If you do wash your eggs before storage, however, be sure to refrigerate them before using. Also be sure to label your eggs as you collect them, so you know which are the freshest.

Overall Food Safety

The advantage of knowing the history of farm fresh eggs comes into play again in their overall food safety. One of the main things consumers worry about with eggs is the possibility of a salmonella infection. Salmonella occurs in eggs laid by an infected hen, and unfortunately, a hen may not present any symptoms of the disease while still being a carrier.

Scientists agree that the living conditions of caged hens greatly increases their risk of contracting salmonella, making backyard eggs much safer to eat than their store-bought counterparts. If you are concerned about salmonella in your home flock, you can also make the decision to have a veterinarian test them and know for certain that the flock is disease-free.

Cooking Comparisons

While there may not be a discernible flavor difference in eggs from your farm or your grocery store, there are some noticeable effects when you use those eggs in your cooking and baking. The increased nutritional value of homegrown eggs also means that their yolks are fuller in color and that their whites are stiffer and hold together better. While your finished cake or tortilla may not have a taste difference, the experience of cooking with farm fresh eggs is different and usually preferable.

It is true that homegrown eggs and supermarket eggs might not have a noticeable difference in taste, but the satisfaction in collecting your own eggs gives them a certain zest, and although the flavors may be the same, an egg fresh from the farm will always be more nutritional and healthy for the consumer.

by Kirsten Lie-Nielsen