Are Overcooked Eggs Unhealthy?

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Well, both have been on mankind’s menu since the very beginning of humankind. There is evidence that the fowl was first domesticated in 3200 BC and many ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Romans, Chinese, and Indians have records of chickens laying eggs for men. It’s not long after that man developed new ways to farm chickens and their eggs in mass productions for food. 

Today, the humble egg is considered to be one of the most versatile foods that are readily available. Eggs are known to fit into any recipe imaginable and it’s individual parts like the yolk and egg whites are can also be used separately in baking. It’s also one of the most popular breakfast ingredients that can be prepared in many ways and everyone has their preferences on how they want their eggs cooked between scrambled, sunny-side up, fried, etc. 

Health Benefits of Eggs

Eggs are often classified as a superfood because of the many health benefits it provides to the human body. These health benefits were earlier ignored by scientists because of concerns that eggs might contain too much cholesterol over the daily dose recommended for a human to take. 

But recent studies have shown that the cholesterol in eggs, although high, doesn’t adversely affect our blood cholesterol for the average person. This is because eggs have low LDL cholesterol content also known as the bad, and only mildly affect people’s cholesterol levels. The people who might find the high cholesterol content in eggs as concerning are within 30% of the population and those who have genetic disorders that require them to limit egg intakes.

In fact, eating eggs provide the body with HDL Cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein which are labeled good cholesterols that the body needs that helps in the decrease of the risk of health problems such as stroke and heart disease.

Eggs can have benefits to our eye health due to its Lutein and Zeaxanthin content. These two are antioxidants that accumulate in the retinas of the eyes. This slows down the process of macular degeneration as well as prevents cataracts from forming in our eyes.

Eggs are also high in choline, an important nutrient that keeps our minds sharp by building cell membranes that help in the production of molecular signals. Additionally, eggs contain quality proteins and amino acids that are important to the human body, prevent the increase of risk to certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and brain disease. Lastly, eggs can aid in weight loss as it can make for a filling and satisfying meal that can help reduce the intake of calories along with providing higher energy levels.

Is it bad to eat eggs every day?

Eating too many eggs in a week used to be compared to cigarette smoking because of its high cholesterol content that is linked to increased risk of heart disease but recent studies have shown that there are no adverse effects to the health of most people if they eat an egg or two every day. This is because eggs are high in “good” cholesterol, also known as HDL cholesterol, that helps lower the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Studies show that eating an egg every day only mildly raise the cholesterol levels in the blood but increases the HDL cholesterol that the body needs.

Eating an egg a day actually increases the health benefits that it can provide the body, as discussed above. However, there is evidence that people with type 2 diabetes pose a higher risk of heart disease but further studies are still needed for a conclusive answer. People with egg allergens or genetic abnormalities that could make them react badly to eggs are recommended not to have too many eggs in their diet.

Can you get food poisoning from eggs?

Yes, eggs can cause food poisoning. This happens when you eat a bad egg that’s either spoiled or contaminated. Eggs are some of the most nutritional food and some of the most affordable, unfortunately, they are also the most potentially contaminated food that we eat, especially if eaten raw or lightly cooked.

A germ called salmonella is the most common contamination an egg can have. The eggshells or the inside of the egg can contain salmonella even when they look normal and uncontaminated. When contracted in the body, the salmonella germ can cause vomiting, diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, and dehydration. The symptoms can last for a week without needing medical intervention. 

People with a weakened immune system, the elderly and young children can experience more severe symptoms that are potentially life-threatening if they contracted the salmonella germ and should immediately see their doctor. 

Are undercooked eggs bad for you?

Undercooked or raw eggs aren’t necessarily unsafe to eat. However, eggs that are contaminated with salmonella are often contracted in the body through undercooked eggs or raw eggs which can cause unwanted symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, dehydration, and abdominal cramps. Salmonella can be quite dangerous for certain people. There is a chance that infected eggs can be safe if it’s cooked properly.

Furthermore, undercooked or raw eggs retain all their nutritional values as properly prepared eggs. However, our bodies may not be able to observe or get blocked from getting all the nutritional benefits that undercooked eggs or raw eggs provide compared to properly prepared eggs because our bodies are more equipped to digest and absorb all the nutrients from solid foods. 

Is it bad to eat overcooked eggs?

Overcooking your egg, no matter what way you prepare them, scrambled, fried, boiled, etc. will cause the eggs to become crispier or harder but can still be edible. However, some argue that eating overcooked hardboiled eggs can be dangerous to the body and should not be eaten. This is because toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulfide and iron sulfide are released inside the overcooked yolk that creates its gree/yellow coloring when it’s cracked open. This can be toxic the more hardboiled eggs are overcooked and can potentially be toxic to those who eat it. 

Although more studies still need to be made, it’s better to properly cook hardboiled eggs and not overcook them.

Do overcooked eggs lose nutrients?

As mentioned above, eggs have all their nutrients if they’re raw or lightly cooked but the full nutritional value contained in the eggs may not be entirely digested as our bodies are more capable of digesting and absorbing nutrients from solid foods. To get the maximum nutritional value from eggs, some heat and solidification are needed. 

So cooking makes the nutrients in the eggs more digestible, however cooking eggs in high heat can reduce or damage their vitamin and antioxidant content, although still highly nutritious. Cooking eggs in high heat also oxidizes their cholesterol content which can be pose harm in the body. So it’s best not to overcook your eggs with any methods of cooking like fried, scrambled, or boiled. The longer and higher the eggs are heated, the more nutrients it’ll lose and may even increase the amount of oxidized cholesterol it contains. 

Why do eggs smell so bad?

When eggs are properly cooked, it probably won’t stink. Eggs can smell bad if it’s either gone bad/rotten or it’s overcooked, specifically overcooked hardboiled eggs can produce a not so appetizing smell. The bad smell came from what’s inside the egg which is sulfur compounds in the egg whites and iron in the yolk. If cooked properly, hardboiled eggs won’t have any smell at all but if subjected to high temperatures too fast for too long, the sulfur atoms can travel outside of the egg whites then hydrogen sulfide compounds began to form rapidly with the intense heat. This causes the bad smell that came from the overcooked hardboiled eggs.

Why do eggs turn green?

A ring of gree/yellow color forms around the yolk of hardboiled eggs because of the same reason why overcooked hardboiled eggs smell so bad: chemical reaction. The chemical reaction is caused by too much heat from the boiling water or when the eggs are boiled for too long that caused them to become overcooked. Too much heat causes hydrogen sulfide inside the egg white to release and react with the iron from the egg yolk which then forms new chemicals: ferrous sulfide and ferric sulfide. These chemicals can be seen as the green-yellow ring around the yolk when you slice the egg.

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Is it safe to eat GREY eggs?

Grey eggs are formed if there is too much seasoning put on the eggs like too much salt in a scrambled egg or if a hardboiled egg is overcooked, a thin gray layer over the yolk is formed due to chemical reactions from too much heat. Too much seasoning on that causes grey eggs doesn’t have any harmful consequences if you eat it, just watch your salt intake if you’re eating grey scrambled eggs for a while. 

And there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that the overcooked hardboiled egg with the thin gray layer around the yolk has any harmful effect on the body. Although some would caution not to overcook hardboiled eggs as the chemical reactions can potentially have some effect on our health, however, more research needs to be done to support this claim.

How long should you boil an egg?

To produce a hardboiled egg, it is recommended to put an egg on gently boiling water for about 12 minutes then removing the egg and placing it on ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. By this method, eggs will be perfectly hardboiled without unwanted chemical reactions.

But there are different styles to boil an egg. You can boil it for 7 minutes if you want a soft, sticky yolk that’s just almost set or you can boil it for only 5 minutes for a set white but runny yolk that’s perfect to dip into. It’s all up to personal preferences.

How long is too long to boil eggs?

If you boil an egg over 12 minutes, then it’s going to be overcooked and will create a nasty smell due to chemical reactions inside the eggs caused by the intense heat. The sulfur and iron compounds inside the egg convert into gas-like aromas that escape the egg’s shell, creating the bad egg smell.

Which is better to eat: raw egg or boiled egg?

In terms of nutritional contents, raw eggs have more nutritional value compared to boiled eggs because heating eggs can destroy some of its vitamins and antioxidant properties, although boiled eggs are still highly nutritious. The problem with raw eggs is that when it’s eaten, despite having the more complete nutritional value, not all the nutrients will be digested and observed in the body. So it’s best to eat boiled eggs if you want to get maximum nutrients from your eggs despite boiled eggs losing some of its health benefits. Boiled eggs are also more convenient to eat and prepare while you can be at risk of contracting salmonella if you eat raw eggs.

What is the healthiest way to eat eggs?

As discussed above, eggs need to be heated so that it can properly be digested by the human body and observe all the nutrients. However, the different preparation methods of eggs do not provide equal nutritional value.

The least healthy way to eat eggs is said to be scrambled and fried as yolks and whites being exposed to heat without the protective cover of the shell causes the oxidation of the cholesterol within the egg along with the reduction and destruction of some of the vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants in the eggs. 

The healthiest way to eat an egg is if it’s soft boiled. A soft boiled egg still retains most of its nutritional value and fats in the yolk of the egg. All its nutrients are preserved within the hard shell of the egg and protected from oxidation because of the fast cooking time.

References:

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