Eggs are a rich source of fatty acids, proteins, choline, vitamins A, D, and B12, as well as selenium.
Through research, around 15 fatty acids have been identified in a single egg – some of these include palmitic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, and oleic acid. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that is not directly produced within the body and must be actively supplemented through diet or other exogenous sources.
A large egg weighing around 50 grams contains around 72 calories. Its yolk contains around 55 calories, and the albumin contains 17. Out of these the macronutrient breakdown of a whole egg is 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, about 200 mg of cholesterol. Thus, making it an energy-dense, nutrient-packed, and low-calorie food.
Eating Two to Three Eggs Per Day Improves HDL Function
Eggs have had a bad reputation of being high in cholesterol. Thus, people tend to avoid it. Comprehensive research reported results that countered this hypothesis. Eggs are rich in good cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and also have the bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Increasing HDL intake improves its function and decreases the overall risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. HDL in eggs also contains antioxidant enzymes and Vitamin A derivatives, that are abundantly found in the yolk. This protects the lipoproteins from oxidation.
Studies investigating the amount of these lipids after the intake of eggs showed a significant difference in function and concentrations. Subjects given one egg per day had increased HDL function and an increase in plasma carotenoids, the protective antioxidants. But the experimental group consuming two to three eggs per day produced a greater increase in plasma antioxidants, better HDL function, and a reduction in free radical-induced atherogenesis by LDL. Thus, having breakfast, snacking at midday, and eating them again later as a nighttime snack improved overall function as opposed to eating one egg a day.
Leucine in Eggs Helps in Muscle Repair and Protein Anabolism
Eggs are rich in essential amino acids, especially Leucine which is not naturally produced in the body. Other vitamins B include thiamin, riboflavin, folate, B12, and B6. These are crucial for DNA repair and energy regulation in the body.
Studies have highlighted the positive impact of nutritional foods rich in Leucine in endurance training. This is because the essential amino acid stimulates and maintains muscle protein synthesis and eventually increases muscle mass.
Leucine also regulates metabolism by increasing the mobilization of glucose into skeletal muscle cells by up-taking insulin from the blood. Thus, providing an energy-efficient consumption; where glucose is primarily catabolized for energy expenditure whereas protein is used for increasing muscle mass.
Additionally, leucine also helps in muscle recovery and repair. Thus, making eggs one of the best midnight snacks for better muscle recovery – especially after resistance or endurance training.
Cholesterol in Eggs May Help Increase Lean Muscle Mass with Resistance Exercise Training
Muscle mass reduces with age. Iris is medically termed sarcopenia. Researchers have been keen on finding effective ways to manage sarcopenia. In one such experiment, 60 to 69 years old subjects were given high-intensity resistance exercise training (RET).
This was followed by protein supplements, and a mandatory weekly food log thrice per week. The results showed a positive correlation between dietary cholesterol intake with lean muscle mass growth with RET. The elderly taking statins for cholesterol management also showed an increase in lean muscle mass during RET.
Thus, eliminating the bias that consuming dietary cholesterol in eggs may contribute to hyper-cholesterolemia and solely increases body fat – other factors might come into play for the latter. The results also show an increase in the inflammatory marker, C-Reactive Protein. So regular follow-up with a doctor is crucial for the management of sarcopenia.
Eggs are a rich source of proteins, fats, and micronutrients. Eating more than one egg per day improves the HDL profile and reduces lipid oxidation. Leucine, an essential amino acid, in eggs speeds up muscle recovery and repair. Having cholesterol in eggs and other food items during high-intensity resistance exercise training increases lean muscle mass.
So are eggs a good nighttime snack? The answer is yes. Bodybuilders tend to take up to six eggs in one meal. This depends on the phase of bodybuilding. During in-season bodybuilders are eager about gaining more muscle mass and taking up higher training loads.
This makes the consumption of the entire egg necessary. If bodybuilders and athletes want to lose fat and gain more muscle then they can skip the nighttime egg snack and replace it with protein supplements or just the egg whites. During peak weeks of bodybuilding tournaments fluid, sodium, and carbohydrate levels must be adjusted for better vasculature and cell volume. Thus, egg intake varies with age, level of activity, and weight goal.