Dossier: Healthy eating

Good eggs, bad eggs

Whether scrambled, boiled or fried, eggs were long deemed bad for our health. But today this myth has been debunked.

Text: Susanne Wagner

Myth 1: Eggs drive cholesterol levels up

Not true. This is an often repeated and very persistent myth. For a long time, people thought that you shouldn’t eat eggs more than twice a week because they increase cholesterol levels in your blood. Yet today’s scientists refute this. Eating eggs is harmless for healthy adults in terms of cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a fatty substance which plays an important role in the building of cells. It’s naturally produced in your body. Nowadays we know that the cholesterol produced by our bodies far surpasses average cholesterol consumption.  In other words, our bodies alone produce significantly more cholesterol (85% to 90%) than we consume through food such as eggs. Our bodies have various control mechanisms that help balance the absorption and excretion of cholesterol. Research has since proven that eggs aren’t bad for us, in fact, they’re really healthy.

Myth 2: Eggs help build muscle

True. A healthy, balanced diet and eating sufficient amounts of protein can have a positive effect on muscle mass but only in combination with (weight) training and sufficient recovery times. It really doesn’t matter what protein you choose. Animal proteins are good because they have a higher biological value than plant-based proteins and support the body’s own protein structure more effectively in the form of muscle protein. From a nutritional point of view, eggs are an excellent source of protein and a source of various vitamins and minerals.

Myth 3: Eggs strengthen the immune system

Sort of. Eggs contain valuable nutrients such as high-quality protein, vitamins (e.g. vitamin A) and minerals (e.g. zinc) which are all vital for the immune system. Our bodies need protein elements to build immune cells and vitamin A and zinc are important for our immune defence. However, one foodstuff alone is not able to boost our immune system as each foodstuff delivers different nutrients that can have a positive effect on our wellbeing. The best way of improving the efficiency of our immune system is to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. This will ensure sufficient consumption of energy, nutrients and protective substances.

Expertise provided by:

Stéphanie Hochstrasser,

Head of Nutrinfo and Media Service, BSc BFH nutritionist (Swiss Association of Nutritionists, SVDE),

and Sabine Oberrauch,

research associate and consultant; MSc ZHAW nutritionist, both from the Swiss Society for Nutrition (SGE).

Dr Samuel Mettler,

nutritional scientist and sports nutrition lecturer at the ETH Zurich and Bern University of Applied Sciences. He advises top athletes and teams.