Tag Archives: eggs

AMD Recipe: Eggs, Bacon, and Honeydew, and How to Extinguish a Grease Fire

Bacon, eggs, black coffee, and Cholula hot sauce. A caveman wouldn't recognized any of this except for eggs.

Bacon, eggs, black coffee, and Cholula hot sauce. Like my smiley mug?

This is a very basic recipe for a reason. Overweight and obese folks in the long run and better off—i.e., better weight management—if they start preparing their own meals at home. Many young people, however, never learn how to cook. I’ll admit I have to look up how to make a hard-boiled egg because I don’t do it very often.

If you follow nutrition science literature, you’ll see periodic references to “processed meats” like bacon contributing to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or premature death. I think the associations are pretty weak. I don’t want to debate it right now. Health-conscious cautious people aren’t going to go hog-wild on processed meats. I don’t. We may never have a definitive science-based resolution of the issue.

If you want to control the degree of processing in your bacon, make your own. The recipe at the link includes pink salt (sodium nitrite), maple syrup, and dark brown sugar. Many other recipes are available, some of which could be more paleo-compliant. My understanding is that sodium nitrite is a preservative and gives bacon meat that pink color. Does it contribute to flavor? If you’re not storing your bacon for a long time, you may not need the pink salt.

In any case, I thoroughly enjoy three strips of bacon with my eggs. Pictured above  is the Kirkland brand from Costco was $3.80/pound (USD). Two slices provide 80 calories (uncooked) and zero grams of carb although, if I recall correctly, it was honey-cured bacon.

Ingredients:

3 large eggs

3 strips of bacon, standard thin slices

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup raw honeydew melon, cubed

Instructions:

Fry the bacon over medium or medium-high heat. If there’s too much grease leftover in the pan after cooking, poor out what you don’t want, for later use or drizzle over your dog’s dry kibble food. Leave a little grease in the pan so your eggs don’t stick. Then fry your eggs over medium heat. Enjoy with raw honeydew, which will cleanse your palate after eating bacon.

You can pay a lot more than $3.80 a pound for bacon
You can pay a lot more than $3.80 a pound for bacon

Servings: One

Nutritional Analysis per Serving: (from FitDay.com)

63 % fat

10 % carbohydrate

26 % protein

319 calories

9 carb grams

1 fiber grams

8 digestible carb grams

845 mg sodium

423 mg potassium

Prominent features: high in B12, riboflavin, selenium, protein, pantothenic acid, and phosphorus. Although this is low in calories, it’s adequately satiating because of the rich protein and fat content. The calorie count will be higher by 50 if you eat all the bacon grease.

By the way, I didn’t start a grease fire when cooking this. But I thought about it. After I poured excess grease out of my pan, some of it dribbled onto the outside of the pan. If I had put that pan back on a gas stove to cook my eggs, would that outside grease have caught fire and crept up into the pan?

How do you put out a grease fire? I knew water wouldn’t do the trick; my first thought was pour salt on it. That’s wrong! About.com says to simply smother it by putting a metal lid on the pan and turn off the heat. If you can’t find the fitted lid, use a cookie sheet. Fire won’t burn without a supply of oxygen. You could pour baking soda on the fire, but it takes a lotWikihow has more info on putting out a grease fire, mentioning a dry chemical fire extinguisher as a last resort if you’re going to handle the fire yourself. Think safety first.

Grease fire? Put a lid on it and turn off heat. If that fails, try a LOT of baking soda. Or fire extinguisher.

Grease fire? Put a lid on it and turn off heat. If that fails, try a LOT of baking soda. Or fire extinguisher.

Do Eggs Cause Heart Attacks and Premature Death?

At the beginning of my 30-year medical career, egg consumption was condemned as a cause of heart attacks.  Heart attacks can kill.  How did eggs kill?  It was thought to be related to the cholesterol content – 200 mg per egg – leading to higher serum cholesterol levels, which clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to heart attacks.

Fifteen years ago the pendulum began to swing the other direction: Egg consumption didn’t seem to matter much, if at all.

The evidence is usually collected in observational, epidemiologic studies of large groups of people.  The groups are analyzed in terms of overall health, food intake (e.g., how many eggs per week), healthy lifestyle factors, etc.  Egg consumption of the group is broken down, for example, into those who never eat eggs, eat 1-4  eggs per week, eat 5-10 per week, or over 10 eggs weekly.  A group is followed and re-analyzed over 10-20 years and rates various diseases and causes of death are recorded.  Researchers don’t follow just 25 people like this over time.  You need thousands of participants to find statistically significant differences.

The debate about eggs was re-opened (although never really closed) by the publication in April, 2008, of an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Scientists of the Physicians’ Health Study suggest that consumption of seven or more eggs weekly is associated with significantly increased risk, over 20 years, of all-cause mortality.  Interestingly, this level of consumption did not cause heart attacks or strokes.  Study participants, by the way, were 21,327 Harvard-educated male physicians.  5,169 deaths occurred during 20 years of follow-up.  If you’re not a Harvard-educated male physician, the study results may not apply to you.

When physicians with diabetes  – type 2’s mostly, I assume –  were analyzed separately, consumption of even less than seven eggs per week was associated with higher all-cause mortality.

Several other observational studies looking at this same issue have found no association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and all-cause mortality.

Bottom line?  If you worry about egg consumption, limit to 7 or less per week.  If you have type 2 diabetes, consider limiting to 4 or less per week.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a study were published next week saying “eat as many eggs as you want; they don’t have adverse health effects.”

Remember, all the cholesterol is in the yolk.  Try making an omelet using the whites only.  But in our lifetimes you’ll never see an observational study looking at egg white consumption and mortality rates.

I’m still not convinced egg consumption is worth losing sleep over.  “More studies are needed…”

Steve Parker, M.D.References:

Djousse, L. and Gaziano, J. M.  Egg consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease and mortality: the Physicians’ Health Study.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87 (2008): 964-969.

Dawber, T.R, et al.  Eggs, serum cholesterol, and coronary heart disease.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 36 (1982): 617-625.

Nakamura, Y., et al.  Egg consumption, serum cholestrol, and cause-specific and all-cause mortality: the National Integrated Project for Prospective Observation of Non-communicable Disease and Its Trends in the Aged, 1980.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80 (2004): 58-63.

Best Eggs Evah!

Darya Pino suggests smoked paprika on fried eggs.  Not regular paprika, smoked.    Hope my local supermarket has it.  I got the fresh eggs—my chickens lay five a day.  That’ll slow down as it gets hotter.

-Steve