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 Foods: Poultry and Eggs 
 

Most of the rest of the egg is fat, about two-thirds of it unsaturated. Eggs also contain a fair amount of cholesterol, which has brought these little chickens to be under great scrutiny in recent years. Two large eggs con-tain about 10 grams offal and more than 500 ma. of cholesterol, which is a little higher than our suggested daily intake of cholesterol. However, recent research shows that the regular use of eggs alone when not associated with a high-fat diet does not raise the serum cholesterol. It is really the total fat eaten in our diet that more influences cholesterol. Thus, occasionally eating some eggs without much fried butter or oils, and especially in place of other fatty foods, such as meats, bacon, or sausage is probably a good choice. If there is a cholesterol problem or cardiovascular disease, however, eggs and all fat-containing foods should be consumed at a minimum.

Eggs are also fairly low in calories, each egg having about 75. Besides the fat and protein, eggs also have some vitamins and minerals. The white of the egg contains about half the protein, no fat, no vitamin A, about 20 percent of the calories, and less of the other nutrients except for sodium and potassium. The yolk is fairly high in vitamin A, has some B vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin E, all the fat and cholesterol, and most of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. Both yolk and white contain some selenium.

Eggs are used in a great variety of ways. They are eaten scrambled, boiled, fried, poached, and over-easy. They are used to make omelettes that can be filled with vegetables, such as onions or mushrooms, cheese, or herbs. Eggs can also be baked in the oven in casseroles or quiches or dropped into soups, such as Chinese "egg drop" soup. Eggs are occasionally eaten raw or blended into high-power drinks. Too many raw eggs should be avoided, as a part of the protein, avidin, can bind biotin, one of the B vitamins, in the intestines and cause a biotin deficiency. Fried eggs are best avoided because of the problem with fried fats.

However, on health and humanity levels, there is some concern over eating chicken and eggs. Mass production and turning the dollar have led to many "inchickene" (like inhumane) factories. Overcrowded housing with the use of antibiotics to prevent infections in those close quarters, lack of exercise, excessive feeding to increase size, and the use of stimulants or hormones such as estrogen (which has since been banned) to increase growth have made the poultry business more like a production line of processed food. We do not really know the long-range effects of eating chickens and eggs produced in this manner. For this and other reasons, I personally have chosen not to eat poultry or the red meats, which have a similar problem, during the last decade, even though I was a chicken-fed child. Anyone interested further in the economic, ecological, and health aspects of the poultry-egg agribusiness can review John Robbin's book, Diet for a New America.

One way to reduce the potential dangers of the mass chicken industry is to try to find the more "natural" or "organic" chickens and eggs for consumption. These can often be "free-range" chickens that have more room to roam and are fed nonchemical food with no added stimulants, antibiotics, or hormones. Eating eggs from these chickens or the chickens themselves is probably better for us, especially if we believe that the energy, experience, and consciousness of the food that we eat are passed on to us.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
 
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