The truth to the age-old question “are eggs healthy?” is now finally being unscrambled by science after decades of notoriety.
It seems like too many so-called health “experts” out there keep flip flopping on whether or not they recommend eating eggs.
I understand how this can be totally confusing to the average person who just wants to know if eggs are healthy for them.
Unfortunately, eggs have been incorrectly labeled as “cholesterol bombs” for far too long.
The truth is eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
I can only shake my head when I see people throwing away all the egg yolks.
It’s like I’m seeing them toss their own health into the garbage.
It’s time once and for all to use the latest scientific research to make a definitive answer to the “are eggs healthy” question.
Eggs Are Healthy Again
Eggs are an extremely nutrient dense food that are loaded with protein and many other critical vitamins, minerals, protein and fats for your health.
Eggs are a high quality source of protein that offer all nine essential amino acids.
These amino acids are essential because your body is unable to produce them directly so it’s absolutely necessary you get them from foods.
It’s rare to find one food that can actually give you all nine of these essential amino acids.
Even though the eggs whites contain a little more protein than the yolk it doesn’t mean you should toss out the yolks.
The yolks contain the bulk of the nutrients and if you threw them away you’d be missing out on…
- vitamin A
- vitamin D
- B vitamins
Eggs are also high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two highly potent antioxidants that are both needed to keep your eyes healthy.
Many studies have found lutein and zeaxanthin to help reduce cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
If you toss out the yolks you’re going to miss out on these valuable nutrients.
I’ve even added eggs to my superfoods list they’re that impressive.
Are Eggs Healthy For You? YES
For the longest time we’ve wrongly believed eggs to be bad for us because they were high in cholesterol.
When you look at the food label each egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol.
At first appearance this can seem high when the American Heart Association only recommends having up to 300 mg for the whole day.
The truth is just because you consume cholesterol it doesn’t mean it’s also going to raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
A recent meta-analysis by British Medical Journal found higher egg consumption was not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Eggs may have a high amount of cholesterol inside but just because you eat them doesn’t mean it’s going to go directly into your bloodstream.
If it did your total and LDL cholesterol levels would go through the roof.
Even this 2016 Finnish study found eggs not to be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The researchers also found these finding to apply to those who were pre-disposed to heart disease.
The truth about cholesterol in eggs (and food) is it only has a minimal effect on your blood levels of total and LDL cholesterol.
Are Eggs Healthy Fats?
Yes it’s true eggs are higher in fat content than most foods.
When you break down the fat content of eggs you’ll find out they’re mostly made up of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
These healthy fats have been associated with an actual improvement in heart health.
Your body needs these healthy fats to run efficiently, and for most people I’ve found they do better on a higher fat, higher protein diet than a high carb one.
Just like how your body also needs cholesterol and shouldn’t be totally avoided like someone with the black plague coughing up a lung.
Cholesterol and fats are nutritious for your brain and provide essential nutrients to the function of neurons.
The neurons in your brain can’t make this cholesterol on their own so it’s absolutely essential you get them from your diet.
Not to mention cholesterol is also needed for testosterone production.
If you’re a man then you should be welcoming some cholesterol into your diet.
Cholesterol has also been shown to help increase the speed of recovery. This is good news if you workout hard in the gym.
Choline In Eggs
Eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline on the planet.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is needed for your metabolic and cardiovascular health.
It can also help prevent birth defects.
Since choline can be hard to get from foods many people who don’t eat eggs are often choline deficient.
Choline has also been shown to promote fat loss when taken with caffeine and carnitine in athletes.
This is why I like to drink my morning cup of coffee along with my egg rich breakfast every morning to promote weight loss.
I’ll sometimes even go with Charles Poliquin’s “Meat and Nuts” breakfast to increase fat loss and promote lean muscle gains.
Are Eggs Healthy For Weight Loss?
I recommend my clients eat a protein rich breakfast every morning and usually the easiest food to eat are eggs.
Getting your morning protein helps to get your metabolism revving so you can burn more fat throughout the day.
Unfortunately, most people are eating carbohydrate rich breakfasts like cereal, oatmeal, bagels, toast, donuts, croissants, and Pop Tarts.
This is probably the worst breakfast you could be eating if you’re looking to lose weight and tone up.
This study even found when overweight and obese people ate an egg rich breakfast they lost significantly more weight than the counterpart group who ate a bagel.
I use this little gadget called the Dash Go Rapid Egg Cooker to soft boil my eggs in the morning when I’m in a hurry.
The good thing about it is all you have to do is set it and forget it.
The eggs shells are surprisingly quite easy to take off after they’ve been cooked in this gadget.
Then you have an easy made to-go eggs that are packed with protein and will help you burn more fat.
If you’re even too short on time to cook these eggs then you might want to pick up some protein powder to get your morning protein fix.
I like BioTrust Low Carb protein because it’s super low in carbs, sweetened with stevia and tastes delicious.
Are Eggs Healthy For Breakfast?
Another study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham tested eating whole eggs with a low carbohydrate diet against a higher carb diet.
The interesting hook with this study is they didn’t ask the participants to restrict their calories.
At the end of the study they found the group that ate eggs with a low carb diet lost on average 11% of their body fat.
While the other group only lost 2.3% of their body fat.
Another interesting finding from the study was the group that ate eggs with a low carb diet actually lost 300% more deep visceral fat than the counterpart group.
The deep visceral fat is especially deadly because it surrounds your organs and is linked to some serious health problems.
Another study by Kangwon National University used rodents to see if egg yolks were responsible for lowering blood cholesterol or if it was just the fat content.
The group that ate a 3-4 egg a day equivalent didn’t gain near as much weight as the group that ate pork belly oil.
The researchers also found high abdominal and liver fat in the group that ate the pork belly oil than the egg diet.
This just proves it’s not just the fat in eggs that are beneficial to you, but there are many other nutrients working together that are beneficial to your health.
One more fascinating study proving the benefits of eggs in your diet switched refined starches and added carbs for an egg protein and unsaturated fatty acids.
The Midwest Biomedical Research Center for Metabolic and Cardiovascular Health Objective found the egg diet group had an increase in insulin sensitivity and improved pancreas functioning.
The unfortunate consequence of eating too many refined carbohydrates is an increased resistance to insulin and overtaxed pancreas that can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Switching out these bad carbs for eggs also resulted in significantly improving blood lipids, which is an indication for your heart health.
Egg Whites vs. Yolk
I don’t know if you would believe me if I told you how many people I’ve seen toss out all their eggs yolks because they thought they were bad for them.
It’s sad to see how many people actually think eating the egg yolk is what’s making them fat and at risk for heart disease.
While the nutrient profile of egg whites is nothing to sneeze at it doesn’t mean there aren’t any in the yolks of eggs.
When the world questions “are eggs healthy” they didn’t seem to hesitate with recommending the whites of eggs.
The truth is you need the healthy fats and cholesterol inside the egg yolks to not only help your body burn fat but to also improve your cognitive health.
A study by the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry found fats added to elderly diets helped to maintain the cognitive health better than a low-fat diet.
More proof why the fats in eggs are good for you.
Another study found that neither the cholesterol nor egg intake had any risk of raising the chances of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
If you go by the old school out-dated thinking that the yolks of eggs are bad for you then you’re going to be missing out on a lot of valuable nutrients that can help you lose weight and keep a strong mind.
How Many Eggs A Day Should I Eat?
Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats without getting additional saturated fats into your diet.
Even those who refuse to eat meat for their own personal reasons will greatly benefit from getting the protein, cholesterol and fats from eggs.
This study by the University of Connecticut found those who ate 3 eggs a day had improved heart health than those who only ate one or two a day.
Keep in mind this study only looked at healthy subjects but they did see improvements in HDL and LDL cholesterol.
Interestingly enough, the researchers in this study also discovered how powerful the antioxidants in eggs were.
One of the most underrated benefits of eating eggs are their antioxidant defenses against damage-causing free radicals in your body.
But this doesn’t mean I recommend you start eating 20 eggs a day.
For most people I recommend eating 1-3 eggs per day, but if you’re paranoid then you might just want to eat 1 or 2 whole eggs and mix in some egg whites.
I understand some people are not totally ready to switch back over to eating only whole eggs even though the science out there proves they’re undeniably good for you.
Personally, I’ll eat four eggs just about every morning. I’ll also sprinkle some turmeric, black pepper and ketchup on top.
It might sound a little weird but the turmeric and black pepper combination is an incredibly powerful antioxidant that will help to slow the aging process in your body.
The Best Eggs to Buy
Yes it’s true not all eggs are created equal so it’ll be best if you take a little bit of time to search out the best ones.
The best eggs you can find are pastured.
This just means instead of being cooped up in a cage all the time the hens were allowed to walk around outside like nature intended to eat bugs for their food.
Otherwise they’d be locked up in cages never seeing the light of day while they’re fed corn feed to fatten them up. Yuck.
This 2010 study from Penn State University found hens that were kept outside to pasture had eggs containing twice as much vitamin E and 2.5 times the omega-3 fatty acids than the unfortunate cooped up chickens.
Fun Fact: Brown eggs aren’t any healthier for you than white eggs. The color of the egg is determined by the color of the hen and doesn’t have anything to do with the nutrient content.
I also make an effort to find eggs that are organic, local and AA graded.
Just because that egg carton in the supermarket says they’re organic doesn’t mean they were let out to pasture.
If anything it just means they were fed organic grain feed while being cooped up in a cage.
Every once in a while I’ll eat some duck eggs too.
Duck eggs have higher protein content, more omega-3 fatty acids and are more alkaline than chicken eggs. The problem is sometimes they’re hard to find.
If you find yourself with an allergy or food sensitivity to chicken eggs than duck eggs may be a good alternative.
So are eggs healthy for you?
Yes, they absolutely are.
Eggs have gone from being the villain to savior.
Kinda like Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Haha
We’ve been told for decades the cholesterol in eggs was killing you, but the truth is it never was.
In fact, it was good for you all along.
Instead the bad foods that are raising your total and LDL cholesterol you should stay away from are sugary treats, fried foods, processed meats and refined carbohydrates.
These are the real culprits that raise your bad cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Eating eggs have no association with damaging your heart and I only have one way to end this… eggs-cellent!
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.