I have just returned from 10 days at a health centre where both administrators and students talked nutrition all the time. While everybody agreed that meat was unessential and harmful, one of the questions asked frequently was: "What should I replace eggs with? My husband and children have eggs on toast for breakfast every morning. What else can I give them?" My answer was (of course!): "Replace it with nothing. Even that is better."
While at the centre, I came across an extremely well-researched piece on eggs. Here are some of the facts brought out by it:
The yearly consumption of eggs in the 1950s in India was 5 million. By 1993, this had reached 10 million. This huge growth is solely due to advertising. The egg has been presented as a health food, a natural human food without preservatives and additives.
The National Egg Coordination Committee in India, the apex body of the poultry industry, has slanted advertising to present eggs as a 'multivitamin capsule (A, B &D)', as a 'high protein imperative' for the growing child, as a 'brain' food, as a food rich in minerals and as a complete food that helps in developing both muscles and brains. Last night, I saw a 1960s Hindi film in which the bridegroom is recommended six hard boiled eggs to keep up his strength on the wedding night!) None of these claims is true.
First and most important: there is NO direct relationship between a food and a specific body function. So eggs cannot be described as good for the brain, muscles, eyes or what have you.
What is the scientific truth?
Each egg weighs about 100 grammes and has about 170 calories. It is divided into about 13.6 percent protein and 13.3 percent of saturated fat. Any dal is better with 24 per cent protein and only 1.3 percent of unsaturated fat per 100 gramme. Protein-wise, an egg is completely unsatisfactory while it overcompensates in fat.
Vitamin A: One egg contains about 1,200 I.u. of Vitamin A. A few drumstick (sahjna) leaves contain 8,000-10,000 I.u. Even a small sprig of dhaniya or coriander which is so cheap (in fact it used to be given free when you bought vegetables) contains 10,000-12,000 I.u. Vitamin A is present in far greater quantities in all leafy vegetables.
Vitamin B: Vitamin B (the range from 1 to 12) is found in such microscopic quantities in the egg that it is treated as nil. Vitamin B is found mainly in cereals and certain vegetables. Even a dosa or an idli will give you more Vitamin B.
Vitamin D: The last thing you need to pay for. It is manufactured by the body in the presence of sunlight of which there is no dearth. Buying it is merely adding an excessive amount that will be flushed away by the kidneys, which when put under so much strain, react to the overload by causing kidney and bladder stones.
Carbohydrate is essential in any food to produce energy. Eggs have NO carbohydrate. Only fat. Fibre is essential in any food for digestion. Eggs have none. So much for the vitamin, protein, carbohydrate and fibre claims.
Now come to the part that is deliberately suppressed by egg advertisers: what does the egg actually do to you?
Each egg of 100 grammes has 450-500 milligrammes of cholesterol, a substance causing heart diseases, attacks and strokes. Each egg adds about five milligrammes of cholesterol to your blood. When cholesterol reaches above the level of 200 mg in the system, then your heart is in trouble. (In fact, the first thing a doctor does is to ask you to stop eating eggs). Eggs contain an amino acid called melhionine. This destroys Vitamin B in the body and promotes heart disease.
Each egg has 25,000-30,000 micropores on its outer shell. These serve to transport oxygen to the embryo inside. These pores become contaminated with microbes if stored at a temperature above 30 degrees. Which means that the egg is unfit for consumption 24 hours after it is laid if it hasn't been put into a fridge immediately. Who knows how old your egg is when it comes into the shop. It certainly isn't in a fridge then.
The yellow in the egg is usually the result of an injected chemical dye, since hens cannot produce yellow yolks unless they are left free in the sun. Add to that the hormones fed to the birds to produce more than one egg a day, the antibiotics to keep them healthy in cramped conditions, the cardboard waste and chopped up bodies of male birds that they are fed. Just as a pregnant mother's food translates itself into the health of the newborn baby, all these poisons percolate into the egg.
For instance, Gentamycin, which is widely used in poultry feed, is found in the egg. It is a nephrotoxin-a substance that damages human kidneys.
Antibiotics, hormones, dyes, tranquilizers: is that what mummy wants for her children? Because that is all she is getting for her money, nothing else.
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Updated Date: Jul 04, 2017 21:19 PM