I love breakfast! I know it's an important meal, but for me, it's one of my favorites. Like most of us, from time to time, I eat breakfast or brunch at restaurant. We all know that not every food on a menu is going to be healthy, but there are some that are made to sound healthy. There is one food that is on just about every breakfast or brunch menu from coast to coast that could very well be one of the worst things we could eat.

If you're wondering what it could possibly be, or even if you've been eating it, let me assure you that it's not butter, jam, the perfect poached egg, or even that big fluffy stack of pancakes. No, there is something much more ominous looming on most menus (and quite possibly in your kitchen), that's filled with far too many artificial ingredients.

How Do You Like Your Eggs?

For years I've been telling people that whole eggs (including the yolk) are good for you. Whole eggs contain an amazing nutrient called choline. Choline can boost brain function, prevent liver damage and detoxify the liver. Not bad! Eggs are also a god source of selenium, B12 and folate. Let's not forget about the protein and body-loving fat, either. All in all, eggs are pretty darn good for us.

Needless to say, one of the most popular items on a breakfast menu people eat when they dine out is, of course, eggs. Among egg items, scrambled eggs and omelets are a couple favorites. Chances are, however, the scrambled eggs or omelet you think you're eating is far from just eggs. In fact, the omelet you're ordering, or scrambled eggs you scoop off the buffet could contain as many as 21 different ingredients. 

How One Study Made Us All Fear Fat

One of the most popular eggs available for consumer purchase is Egg Beaters. Made available to kitchens across America in 1972, Egg Beaters' claim to fame was a lower calorie egg substitute that tasted as good as whole, shell eggs, without the cholesterol. Given that 1972 was at the height of the US's fear of fat, and association with heart disease, Egg Beaters made it easy for fat-fearing consumers to eat their eggs again - just healthier. We were so off the mark.

Humans have eaten whole, shell eggs for thousands of years. Then, the early part of the 20th century, trans fats were introduced via Crisco. Around that time, sugar consumption began to skyrocket. The lethal combination of sugar and trans fats ultimately increased the incidence of heart disease. By the 1950s, public opinion was heavily persuaded by a study called the Lipid Hypothesis, suggesting that saturated fat - not trans fat and not sugar - was the culprit for heart disease. This resulted in decades of increased consumption of low fat, low cholesterol foods. In retrospect it's no surprise that heart disease continued to rise.

Butter was shunned, so margarine was considered good for you. Fat was feared, so a low fat, higher refined carbohydrate diet was voraciously consumed. Eggs contained cholesterol, so the 1970s were ripe for Egg Beaters.

And here we are today. I think we're more educated as a society, with many people understanding that whole, unrefined foods are better than their processed counterparts. But the allure or low calorie, no cholesterol is still there. But why? Why are we still so convinced that a food product that contains 21 separate ingredients could be better than one whole egg? It's mind boggling, but not uncommon.

Here are the ingredients you'll find in a store-bought container of Egg Beaters:

Egg Whites, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Color, Spices, Salt, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Calcium, Iron, Vitamin E, Zinc, Calcium Pantothenate, B2, B1, B6, B12, Folic Acid, D3, Biotin

This list is hardly straightforward, with Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Color and Spices (four of the top five most prevalent ingredients in Egg Beaters) defined as any number of ingredients.

What About Restaurant Liquid Bagged Eggs?

Most restaurants yield to bagged eggs to make their scrambled eggs and omelets. Arriving at the restaurant in 20 to 30-pound bags, this pool of eggy yellow contains a bunch of ingredients (other than the egg itself) that contain far more than just eggs.

If you have allergies or food sensitivities and think you're getting eggs cooked in a little oil, be sure to ask if the eggs are whole or from bags.

The Solution

You love eggs when you go out for breakfast. Now what?

  • Eggs are healthy and good - in their whole form - so go ahead an order them that way!
  • You can always request that the omelet or scrambled eggs you order be made from whole eggs. Many restaurants will refuse to do to prevent contamination from the bacteria listeria, or may upcharge you for using the whole egg.
  • Order egg white only omelets. I know this isn't ideal, but a majority of liquid egg whites do NOT contain the same ingredients found above. In fact, many of them contain egg whites alone.

Now get out there and enjoy your eggs…preferably in their whole form! If you need more ideas for how to eat healthy, lose weight and feel great, buy my book The Belly Burn Plan!

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