Everyone seems to have an opinion on eggs.
Some people think that they're the perfect breakfast food, filled with healthy fats, protein and numerous vitamins. Others aren't so sure.
In recent years the purported negative health effects of eggs have become a form of tabloid gossip as dieticians and dieters alike rant and rave about the high levels of cholesterol within the ever-delicious yolk.
Simply searching online for the answers might leave you more confused than before, so we've taken it on ourselves to do the difficult work for you and find out once and for all what role eggs should take in your daily diet.
The rest of this article delves deeply into the story behind eggs. And yes, we'll be answering the cholesterol question as well.
If you want to know the truth about where eggs should fit in your daily diet, then keep on reading.
Claims About Eggs Being Bad
In the past few decades they have gotten enough bad publicity to take them permanently off many people's menus.
Two of the biggest concerns are:
1. You can get sick from salmonella - Our mothers were right to warn us, as salmonella bacteria have the power to make you extremely sick, and occasionally even dead .
The widespread media publicity about salmonella infections around the country has caused many people to be concerned enough to take eggs permanently off their plate.
2. They are high in cholesterol - The American Heart Association's guidelines for dietary cholesterol are about 240-300 mg per day, and because one egg can contain over 185 mg, many people see them as too big of a risk for their diets to handle .
Are these risks so great that they outweigh the benefits of eating eggs? Frankly, we don't think so.
The negative health effects have been greatly exaggerated and are out of touch with the reality of the actual full-body benefits of this natural food.
4 Health Benefits Of Eggs
1. They Are a Powerhouse of Nutrients
A egg contains 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and 78 calories.
This is only the beginning of the impressive nutritional content contained between each shell.
Eggs contain trace amounts of the vast majority of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function. Some of the highest concentrations of these essential nutrients are listed below.
Within one large egg there is:
They are also filled with disease-fighting nutrients that are essential for keeping your body functioning properly.
Each egg contains a healthy dosage of letein and zeaxanthin that can help to reduce your risk of macular degeneration that is caused by age and often leads to blindness in older adults .
2. Pumped Full Of Protein
Each egg contains 6 grams of protein, meaning that a breakfast cooked with two eggs will give you the metabolism-boosting benefits that you need to stay full and energetic all morning long.
Eating lots of protein in your diet helps to ensure that your body gets lots of health benefits, including quicker recovery after exercise, more stamina with less hunger throughout the day, and help you build lean muscle faster.
Eggs rank high on the Satiety Index meaning that eating meals containing eggs increases your feeling of fullness faster, even compared to eating meals that contain more calories .
Rich Source of Choline
Eating an egg without the yolk is like eating popcorn without any salt or butter - perfectly edible, but lacking in “oomph”.
One egg contains over 35% of your daily choline needs (all of which is found in the yolk), which is a key nutrient for maintaining human health and keeping various brain development systems running properly.
Choline is required to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is a component of cell membranes and essential for aiding brain development and memory as well as protecting against Alzheimer's disease.
Not getting enough choline in your diet can have negative health consequences and is shown to lead to liver diseases, cardiovascular disease and even neurological disorders.
Even more notable, choline is essential for pregnant women, as a shortage in their diet while their child is developing can lead to reduced mental abilities in their children .
According to recent dietary surveys, over 90% of adults in the United States are eating less than the daily recommended amount of choline .
Improve Your Cholesterol Profile
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommended that adults limit their dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day.
Because a single large egg has 185 mg, eggs were immediately seen as a dangerous food that should be avoided for heart health.
This makes perfect sense in theory, but in fact, multiple studies have shown that it's just not true.
Research has instead consistently shown that the cholesterol you eat has very little impact on the cholesterol levels in your blood stream. The reason for this is that your body makes much of its own cholesterol. Every day it produces between 1 and 2 grams all on its own (roughly the amount found in half a dozen eggs) .
The risk of heart disease may be more closely tied to the foods that accompany the eggs in a traditional American breakfast - such as the sodium in the bacon, sausages and ham, and the saturated fat or oils with trans fats used to fry the eggs and hash browns.
When you eat more cholesterol from foods like eggs, your body actually makes less of it.
This is because your body has a cholesterol “set point” like a thermometer, and it's always trying to maintain a relative level of equilibrium.
The evidence that cholesterol isn't always bad for you is so strong that the AHA revised their guidelines in 2000 to note that healthy adults can eat an egg a day.
The ways that this set point is controlled comes from a variety of factors, including your genetics, amount of daily exercise and even stress levels.
Comparatively, your diet itself has a minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels.
Even people who are at a higher risk for heart disease can eat an egg every day without hurting their health, according to a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition .
Does this mean that you should eat five eggs every morning for breakfast? Hardly.
Too much of any good thing inevitably turns it into a bad thing, so keep your egg eating to moderate levels and moderate portions in order to enjoy the healthy benefit - read about portion control here.
The 3 Healthiest Ways To Eat Eggs
The health benefits of eggs only make a difference if you chose to eat them in a healthy way. Here's how to eat your egg in a smart way so that allows you to enjoy all of the benefits without putting your body at risk.
1. Moderation Is Key - A safe bet is to limit your egg consumption to about one a day, in compliance with the recommendations from the American Heart Association. If you need more to fill out an omelet, you can consider eating one full egg and the whites of a few others.
2. Choose Pasture Raised - The origins of your eggs have a huge impact on their overall quality, so chose the highest quality sources you can find to guarantee that you get the maximum health benefits.
3. Be Smart About Other Breakfast Staples - Sure it might be hard to imagine eggs without bacon, but the health effects of bacon are bad enough to wreck any diet. Pair your eggs with fresh fruit and tastily seasoned sauteed vegetables instead.
Eggs are delicious and extremely versatile. They can be cooked in many different ways and are easy to combine with other healthy foods, like vegetables. Cooking them also destroys any dangerous bacteria, making them safer to eat.
Are Eggs Good For You? The Bottom Line
In regards to bang for your buck, eggs are a cheap protein source that is highly versatile in a number of dishes. Not only do eggs taste great, they are full of essential nutrients that keep you healthy.
There's no need to worry about eggs and cholesterol if you keep yourself within the healthy dietary limits.
So long as you don't top them with unhealthy condiments and cooking oils, an egg a day should keep the heart doctor away and help you to live a long, physically fit life.
1. CDC, Salmonella and Eggs. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellaeggs/
2. American Heart Association, Common Misconceptions about Cholesterol. Retrieved from https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.cir.102.18.2284
3. webMD, Macular Degeneration Health Center. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/macular-degeneration/default.htm
4. Fallaize R ,Variation in the effects of three different breakfast meals on subjective satiety and subsequent intake of energy at lunch and evening meal. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22948783
5. Steven H. Zeisel, Choline: An Essential Nutrient for Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/
6. Christy Brissette, The nutrient you didn’t know you needed – and why haven’t you heard of it before? Retrieved from https://www.kansascity.com/living/article120279938.html
7. Why You Should No Longer Worry About Cholesterol in Food. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-should-no-longer-worry-about-cholesterol-in-food/
8. Jyrki K Virtanen, Associations of egg and cholesterol intakes with carotid intima. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/103/3/895/4569580