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Ask the Expert: Eggs

Q: Is there evidence linking the consumption of eggs to cancer risk?

A: While egg consumption and cancer risk have not been studied as thoroughly as the consumption of meat and dairy products as they relate to cancer risk, there is still enough evidence to encourage dietary alternatives to both egg whites and egg yolks. The most convincing evidence points to egg consumption as increasing risk for colorectal cancer and bladder cancer.

A case-control study done in Argentina found that people consuming approximately 1 1/2 eggs per week had nearly 5 times the colorectal cancer risk compared with individuals consuming less than 11 eggs per year. And, the World Health Organization analyzed data from 34 countries and determined that egg consumption was significantly and positively correlated with mortality from colon and rectal cancers in both men and women. Moderate egg consumption also tripled the risk of developing bladder cancer as determined by a case-control study of 130 newly diagnosed bladder cancer patients published in the journal International Urology and Nephrology.

Eggs have zero dietary fiber, are devoid of cancer-fighting antioxidants, and about 60 percent of the calories in eggs are from fat—a big portion of which is saturated fat. They are also loaded with cholesterol—about 213 milligrams for an average-sized egg. Because egg shells are fragile and porous and conditions on egg farms are crowded, eggs are the perfect host for salmonella—the bacteria that is the leading cause of food poisoning in the U.S.

Eggs are often used in baked products because of their binding and leavening properties. But smart cooks have found good substitutes for eggs.

Egg Replacements for cooking/baking:

If a recipe calls for just one or two eggs, you can often skip them. Add a couple of extra tablespoons of water for each egg eliminated to balance out the moisture content of the product.

1 egg =

  • 1/4 cup of tofu blended (any kind) with the liquid ingredients in the recipe. Reduced-fat tofu cuts down on the fat and calories in the recipe
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or pureed fruit
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of Ener-G  Foods Egg Replacer  +  2 tablespoons  lukewarm water (Ener-G is a powder commercial egg substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water + 1 tablespoon mild flavored cooking oil + 1 teaspoon low sodium baking powder + 1 teaspoon tapioca or potato starch or corn starch.
  • 1/4 cup mashed white potatoes or  sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoon potato starch, cornstarch, or arrowroot
  • 2-3 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup cooked oats
  • 2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs
  • 2-3 tablespoons of flour

Iscovich JM, L'Abbe KA, Castelleto R, Calzona A, Bernedo A, Chopita NA, Jmelnitzsky AC, Kaldor J. Colon cancer in Argentina. I: Risk from intake of dietary items. Int J Cancer. 1992;51(6):851-857.

Zhang J, Zhao Z, Berkel HJ. Egg consumption and mortality from colon and rectal cancers: an ecological study. Nutr Cancer. 2003;46(2):158-165.

Radosavljevic V, Jankovic S, Marinkovic J, Dokic M. Diet and bladder cancer: a case-control study. Int Urol Nephrol. 2005;37(2):283-289.



   

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