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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 4:39 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
Your Health
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Nutrition

Charlyn Fargo Ware: Eggs Really Are All They’re Cracked Up to Be

There seems to be an ongoing love-hate relationship with eggs. Are they good for you? (That’s a definite yes. They’re a great source of high-quality protein). Can someone with Type 2 diabetes eat them? Why is it that some foods go in and out of favor?

First, a little history. For decades, nutrition guidelines advised limiting eggs because it was thought that they raised blood cholesterol and had adverse heart and metabolic effects. New research finds that the general population does not need to limit consumption of eggs. (This is what I love and hate about nutrition. It’s always changing as new research is being done, but that causes confusion.)

While restrictions on eggs were lifted for the general population, the recommendation for people with Type 2 diabetes wasn’t so clear because of mixed research findings, with observational studies tending to suggest eggs had unfavorable effects, according to the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.

However, new clinical trials, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that people with Type 2 diabetes don’t need to limit their egg consumption.

Previous research from a 2015 study found no differences in cholesterol, triglycerides or glycemic control in egg consumption. In that study, researchers randomly assigned 140 overweight and obese people with either prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes to either a high egg intake (two eggs per day) or a low egg intake (less than two eggs per week) for a three-month period. All the participants followed a healthy diet that replaced saturated fats, such as butter, with unsaturated fats, such as liquid oils.

In the new research, participants were followed for an additional nine months. Participants continued their two eggs per day or two eggs per week regime. Like earlier, no changes between the two groups were found in cholesterol, triglycerides or glycemic control.

Researchers concluded that a high egg diet is safe for those with Type 2 diabetes, just like the general population. So go ahead, snack on a hard-boiled egg or have scrambled eggs for breakfast. The nutritional benefits far outweigh any risks.

An egg has 78 calories and 6.3 grams of protein. In addition, eggs contain almost all the daily vitamins and minerals that are needed to produce energy in the cells of the body. Because they are good sources of vitamin A, B12 and selenium, they help maintain a healthy immune system.

Q&A

Q: I keep hearing about advantame. What is it?

A: Advantame is a type of noncaloric, high-intensity sweetener that is chemically related to aspartame, though it is 10 times sweeter, thus making it 20,000 times sweeter than table sugar. Developed by a Japanese flavor company that also produces umami flavors and gluten-free soy sauces, advantame improves upon aspartame chemically because it is more heat-stable and therefore more suitable in baked goods.

Advantame, unlike aspartame, does not contain phenylalanine, an amino acid that must be avoided by those with the rare genetic disorder phenylketonuria.

In 2014, the Food & Drug Administration approved the use of advantame in the United States after reviewing 37 studies on its safety. Although it has gained the popularity of other noncaloric sweeteners, it does not have a brand name.

Calorie-free sweeteners can be a safe alternative for those looking to reduce calories, but they do not have any nutritional benefit. Reducing one’s consumption of sweetened foods, caloric or otherwise, is often the healthiest option because a person’s taste buds can quickly readjust. Becoming less depending on sweetened foods can make natural sweetness, like that found in fruit, more appealing.

— Information courtesy of Environmental Nutrition

Recipe

Here’s a recipe for a slow cooker shrimp jambalaya from the American Heart Association that is low on calories and sodium.

Shrimp Jambalaya

» 1 (14½-ounce) can no-salt-added tomatoes, undrained

» 1 or 1½ cups water

» ½ cup finely chopped onion

» 1 medium rib celery, sliced crosswise

» 1 small green bell pepper, chopped

» 2 ounces lower-sodium, low-fat smoked ham

» 2 teaspoons dried parsley, crumbled

» 1 teaspoon dried oregano

» 2 medium garlic cloves, minced

» ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled

» ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne

» 1 medium dried bay leaf

» 8 ounces raw medium shrimp, thawed

» 1 cup frozen cut okra, thawed

» 1 cup uncooked instant brown rice

» ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley

In the slow cooker, stir together the tomatoes with liquid, water (1 cup if cooking on low; 1½ cups if cooking on high), onion, celery, bell pepper, ham, parsley, oregano, garlic, thyme, cayenne and bay leaf. Cook, covered, on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 2½ to 3 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

If using the low setting, change to high. Quickly stir in the shrimp, okra and rice, and place the lid back on the slow cooker. Cook for 30 minutes, or until rice is tender. Discard the bay leaf.

Serve jambalaya sprinkled with fresh parsley.

Serves 4; 1½ cups per serving

Per serving: 196 calories, 14 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams sugar, 2 grams fat, 78 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams fiber, 472 milligrams sodium

— Charlyn Fargo Ware is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Springfield, Ill., and the media representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Contact her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter: @NutritionRd, or click here for additional columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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