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Scrambling Eggs

Scrambling EggsFirst we were supposed to eat them -- then we weren’t. Now what? Tufts nutrition expert Alice Lichtenstein weighs in on whether eggs are all they’re cracked up to be. Boston.

Boston [04.14.03] For many American households, a visit from the Easter Bunny is just around the corner. But, after years of debate about the nutritional value of eggs, is the holiday favorite a healthy choice? According to a top Tufts nutrition expert, eggs are good in moderation - but don't go overboard.

"Eggs contain six grams of high-quality, nutritionally complete protein," Dr. Alice Lichtenstein - the Gershoff Professor at Tufts' Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy - told Newsday.

But while they may be a good source of protein, Lichtenstein warns that eggs also have their drawbacks. The Tufts expert told USA Today that the springtime food is high in cholesterol, which can be especially worrisome for those trying to watch their cholesterol level.

"Even though saturated and hydrogenated fats have the greatest effect on cholesterol levels, dietary cholesterol also has an effect," Lichtenstein told Newsday. "All things being equal, the more cholesterol you consume, the higher your cholesterol will be."

Which means that for those with exceptionally high cholesterol levels, cutting down on foods like eggs - as well as other foods high in certain types of fat - is a good idea.

"According to Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Research Program at Tufts University and vice-charwoman of the American Heart Association's nutrition committee, the best way to lower serum-cholesterol levels is to cut back on foods that contain saturated fat and trans fatty acids," reported Newsday.

But for those who have normal cholesterol levels, says the Tufts expert, there is no reason to avoid eggs altogether.

"If you're maintaining a healthy body weight, and restricting your intake of animal fats and hydrogenated fats - that's primary - then you can enjoy an egg," Lichtenstein told Newsday.

But as the Tufts expert told USA Today, "Egg lovers should limit their consumption to one a day."

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