The egg has been under scrutiny for a while because of some perceived character flaws -- "he's pretty cute but he's a bit too fat", "cholesterol? no thank you -- you've got a reputation, you know". Maybe it's just because he spends too much time with other foods of questionable virtue "that bacon friend of his awfully greasy..." Yes eggs are high in fat and specifically saturated fats. Yes eggs are also high in cholesterol. Guess what? They're still really really good for you!
Now at first glance this doesn't look all that impressive but let's break it down a little further. First of all, one large egg has 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories.
Protein is a super important macronutrient that your body breaks down into amino acids to fuel metabolic processes. Egg protein contains all nine essential amino acids (ones your body can't make and must get from food), four non-essential amino acids (your body can produce them if it doesn't get enough in the diet) and five semi-essential nutrients (important for times of stress or illness).
Eggs also contain all sorts of important micronutrients. Micronutrients are fundamental to our body functioning properly, starting at the cellular level, contributing in every system from that smallest building block all the way to tissues and organs. Micronutrients can fall into the shadow of their popular brother, the 'mac daddy' -- macronutrients. Despite the emphasize that popular dieting has put on carbs, fats and protein, it's very important for us not to forget our itty bitty friends. Here's a list of all the micronutrients that eggs contain and what they do for your body (thanks Eggs 101).
I wrote a whole other post on how we've unfairly popularized the myth that saturated fats cause heart disease and made fat out to be a 'bad guy'.
If you really are trying to reduce fat intake in your diet you can always use egg whites as an alternative, which still contain some of the protein and micronutrient benefits, though by and large, most of the nutrient content in eggs are in the yolk. If you want to see what that nutritional profile looks like you can check it out at www.nutritiondata.com. This is a great website for tracking the nutritional content of almost any food.
The other one people worry about is the cholesterol. I get why people get concerned about this one. They've heard enough smart people say that high cholesterol is related to higher risk of heart disease. That link is starting to look more and more questionable as we do more research on how our body synthesizes cholesterol.
The important thing for you to know is that your body actually makes its own cholesterol -- and quite a bit of it. Even if you ate a diet completely free of any cholesterol your body would still make the ~1000 mg it needs in order to function. This is because all proteins, carbs and fats contains the carbon necessary for the body to create it's own cholesterol.
The total amount of cholesterol in your body is a balance between how much your body makes, how much you eat and how much you excrete or use up in bodily processes. If you eat more cholesterol, your body makes less and vice versa. Your body does a good job of regulating this level automatically if you're eating a diet focused on nutrient dense, natural food and stay away from trans fats, deep fried foods and excessive sugar intake.
Hopefully this article has given you a bit of an idea of what egg nutrition looks like and why I personally consider it one of my favorite super foods. You can add a few of these to your next breakfast with zero guilt attached. Rocky Balboa knew what was up long ago. Time for you to hop on the train too (though you may want to cook yours first...)