Are Eggs Healthy For You?

Chicken Eggs

Eggs are a very good source of inexpensive, high-quality protein. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white, which also includes vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat than the yolk. Eggs are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12, and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper.

“The egg is meant to be something that has all the right ingredients to grow an organism, so obviously it’s very nutrient- dense,” says Christopher Blesso, associate professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in the US.

Eggs plus other foods.

Eating eggs alongside other food can help our bodies absorb more vitamins, too. For example, one study found that adding an egg to a salad can increase how much vitamin E we get from the salad.

But for decades, eating eggs has also been controversial due to their high cholesterol content – which some studies have linked to an increased risk of heart disease. One egg yolk contains around 185 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than half of the 300mg daily amount of cholesterol that the US dietary guidelines recommended until recently.

Chickens that run around outside, peck in the dirt, eat weeds, slugs, snails, and compost, fertilize the soil with their manure, and aerate the earth with their claws and beaks could be a relatively nonviolent and healthy part of a sustainable farm.

And when farmers breed chickens to lay eggs, they will do so every day or two, at least for a few years, without the killing that’s an inherent part of meat consumption.

But life doesn’t exist in theory. And in the real world, the vast majority of our modern eggs come from animal factories that are nothing humans should feel terribly proud of.

The Ethics of Eating Eggs (In the Real World)

About 94% of the eggs produced commercially in the U.S. come from caged hens.

The average caged laying hen spends her entire life in an area smaller than a single sheet of paper. She is unable to lift a single wing or move more than a step or two.

Factory farms typically stack cages so that the feces and urine of the upper birds constantly fall on the heads of the ones below. To prevent hens from pecking and wounding each other in these conditions, egg producers will cut off their beaks with a hot blade.

Conditions of the chicken

Chickens often die in their cages, and are, sometimes, not even removed when they do. The birds who do survive only live to be around two years old (about a quarter of their natural lifespan). And then, they are killed due to their waning egg production.

This means that one hen is killed for about every 600 eggs. Because roosters do not lay eggs, the hatcheries kill all the male chicks right away. They often dispose of the chicks in horrific ways — like grinding them up alive.

What About Cage-Free, Free-Range, and Organic Eggs?

If, for ethical reasons, you don’t want to support the factory farms that use battery cages to house their hens, can you be reassured by the labels “cage-free,” “free-range,” and “organic?”

The short answer is no. These labels aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

Organic eggs come from hens who are not given antibiotics. They also eat organically-grown feed that is free of GMOs and synthetic pesticides. But the organic certification tells you almost nothing about the actual conditions in which the birds live.

The “cage-free” and “free-range” labels mean that birds had at least a bit more space. But that doesn’t mean the farmers tucked them in at night and read them bedtime stories.

Cage-free birds typically have 1.5 square feet of space per bird, but the FDA doesn’t have clear-cut rules on the subject.

Free-range birds get at least two square feet, and must, technically, have access to the outdoors. But in practice, this often means that they have a door to a tiny outdoor patch of dirt. It also means birds still spend their entire lives cooped up in a giant barn with thousands of other birds.

Excretory ammonia typically chokes the air in cage-free, free-range, and organic operations alike. This affects the health of birds as well as humans.

And farmers can still confine “cage-free,” “free-range,” and “organic” birds with little or no access to the outdoors. They can still debeak them. And they can still live in such cramped conditions that they cannot spread their wings.

My own remedy

With the information above, don’t you feel so trapped that you don’t know whether to stop eating eggs altogether or what? And so I did for a whole year. I challenged myself if I could do it and I did. I did not eat eggs for a whole year and it didn’t bother me at all. I did not miss it at all.

After, a year, I was contemplating that maybe I just continue to not eat them and see how I go. After few months I started to eat them again and now I don’t really crave them anymore and I’ll just have them once in a while.

Are eggs healthy?

The egg is standard breakfast fare, but many people may be wondering whether eggs are healthy.

At just 78 calories each, eggs are an efficient, rich source of protein and vitamins. A large egg contains about 6 grams of protein. Eggs also are a good source of other nutrients, including vitamin D (which aids bone health and the immune system) and choline (which helps metabolism and liver function, as well as fetal brain development).

Egg yolks also can be good for the eyes; they are significant sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older.

But egg yolks are also known for their cholesterol. A typical large egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, more than half the amount previously recommended for daily consumption before federal dietary guidelines dropped the numerical goal in 2015, citing a lack of scientific evidence for a specific limit.

Whether to eat egg or not and how to eat them

“We are probably more embracing of eggs within a heart-healthy dietary pattern than we were 20 years ago, but it’s still a source of dietary cholesterol,” said Jo Ann Carson, professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Eating an egg a day as a part of a healthy diet for healthy individuals is a reasonable thing to do.”

The key, Carson said, is for people to know their risk factors. In general, people at risk for heart disease, who have diabetes, or who have had a heart attack should pay close attention to the amount of cholesterol in their diet, she said.

But that’s not to say cholesterol makes eggs a harmful choice. Carson pointed out that if a person’s diet contains little other cholesterol, eggs may be considered less dangerous.

“For someone who’s decided to go vegetarian, and they’re not eating red meat, maybe the only source of cholesterol would be in an egg,” she said. “Those individuals could probably include eggs a little bit more in their diet.”

Eggs must be refrigerated and should be cooked fully because there’s an increased risk of salmonella with raw eggs. Common ways of cooking eggs include boiling, poaching, scrambling, or frying.

The American Heart Association suggests one egg (or two egg whites) per day for people who eat them, as part of a healthy diet.

Egg whites

Egg whites provide plenty of protein without the cholesterol of the yolk. Carson recalled making lower-cholesterol scrambled eggs for her children by combining two eggs with two egg whites.

“There are other good things in the yolk that you’re going to miss out on if you don’t have the yolk,” she said.

For people who like fried eggs, Carson recommends using a non-tropical vegetable oil such as corn, canola, or olive oil: “Certainly not adding animal fat would be a good thing to do. If you’re going to use fat in your food, use a heart-healthy oil … instead of butter or bacon grease,” she said.

“But the bacon wasn’t a great idea, to begin with.”

Top 10 Health Benefits of Eating Eggs

1. Incredibly Nutritious

Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.

A whole egg contains all the nutrients required to turn a single cell into a baby chicken.

A single large boiled egg contains

  • Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA
  • Folate: 5% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA
  • Selenium: 22% of the RDA
  • Eggs also contain decent amounts of vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B6, calcium, and zinc

This comes with 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of healthy fats.

Eggs also contain various trace nutrients that are important for health.

In fact, eggs are pretty much the perfect food. They contain a little bit of almost every nutrient you need.

If you can get your hands on pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs, these are even better. They contain higher amounts of omega-3 fat and are much higher in vitamin A and E.

2. High in Cholesterol, but Don’t Adversely Affect Blood Cholesterol

It is true that eggs are high in cholesterol.

In fact, a single egg contains 212 mg, which is over half of the recommended daily intake of 300 mg.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that cholesterol in the diet doesn’t necessarily raise cholesterol in the blood.

The liver actually produces large amounts of cholesterol every single day. When you increase your intake of dietary cholesterol, your liver simply produces less cholesterol to even it out.

Nevertheless, the response to eating eggs varies between individuals.

  • In 70% of people, eggs don’t raise cholesterol at all
  • In the other 30% (termed “hyper responders”), eggs can mildly raise total and LDL cholesterol

However, people with genetic disorders like familial hypercholesterolemia or a gene variant called ApoE4 may want to limit or avoid eggs.

3. Raise HDL (The “Good”) Cholesterol

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is often known as the “good” cholesterol (9).

People who have higher levels of HDL usually have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

Eating eggs is a great way to increase HDL. In one study, eating two eggs per day for six weeks increased HDL levels by 10%.

The discussion on the health effects of eggs has shifted partly because our bodies can compensate for the cholesterol we consume.

“There are systems in place so that, for most people, dietary cholesterol isn’t a problem,” says Elizabeth Johnson, research associate professor of nutritional sciences at Tufts University in Boston, US.

In a 2015 review of 40 studies, Johnson and a team of researchers couldn’t find any conclusive evidence on the relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease.

“Humans have good regulation when consuming dietary cholesterol, and will make less cholesterol themselves,” she says.

4. Contain Choline — an Important Nutrient That Most People Don’t Get Enough Of

Choline is a nutrient that most people don’t even know exists, yet it is an incredibly important substance and is often grouped with the B vitamins.

Choline is used to build cell membranes and has a role in producing signaling molecules in the brain, along with various other functions.

The symptoms of choline deficiency are serious, so fortunately it’s rare.

Whole eggs are an excellent source of choline. A single egg contains more than 100 mg of this very important nutrient.

You can also take choline as a nutritional supplement and get your supply by clicking this link, please. Thank you so much.

5. Are Linked to a Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

LDL cholesterol is generally known as “bad” cholesterol.

It is well-known that having high levels of LDL is linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

But many people don’t realize that LDL is divided into sub types based on the size of the particles.

There are small, dense LDL particles and large LDL particles.

Many studies have shown that people who have predominantly small, dense LDL particles have a higher risk of heart disease than people who have mostly large LDL particles.

Even if eggs tend to mildly raise LDL cholesterol in some people, studies show that the particles change from small, dense to large LDL, which is an improvement.

6. Contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin — Antioxidants That Have Major Benefits for Eye Health

One of the consequences of aging is that eyesight tends to get worse.

There are several nutrients that help counteract some of the degenerative processes that can affect our eyes.

Two of these are called lutein and zeaxanthin. They are powerful antioxidants that accumulate in the retina of the eye

Studies show that consuming adequate amounts of these nutrients can significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, two very common eye disorders

Egg yolks contain large amounts of both lutein and zeaxanthin.

In one controlled study, eating just 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks increased blood levels of lutein by 28–50% and zeaxanthin by 114–142%.

Eggs are also high in vitamin A, which deserves another mention here. Vitamin A deficiency is the most common cause of blindness in the world. You can also take Vitamin A as a nutritional supplement and you can get your supply by clicking this link, please. Thank you so much.

7. Omega-3 or Pastured Eggs Lower Triglycerides

Not all eggs are created equal. Their nutrient composition varies depending on how the hens were fed and raised.

Eggs from hens that were raised on pasture and/or fed omega-3 enriched feeds tend to be much higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce blood levels of triglycerides, a well-known risk factor for heart disease.

Studies show that consuming omega-3 enriched eggs is a very effective way to lower blood triglycerides. In one study, eating just five omega-3 enriched eggs per week for three weeks reduced triglycerides by 16–18%.

You can also derive Omega-3 as a nutritional supplement by clicking this link, please. Thank you so much.

8. High in Quality Protein, With All the Essential Amino Acids in the Right Ratios

Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body.

They’re used to making all sorts of tissues and molecules that serve both structural and functional purposes.

Getting enough protein in the diet is very important and studies show that currently recommended amounts may be too low.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with a single large egg containing six grams of it.

Eggs also contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so your body is well-equipped to make full use of the protein in them.

Eating enough protein can help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure, and optimize bone health, to name a few.

9. Don’t Raise Your Risk of Heart Disease and May Reduce the Risk of Stroke

For many decades, eggs have been unfairly demonized.

It has been claimed that because of the cholesterol in them, they must be bad for the heart.

Many studies published in recent years have examined the relationship between eating eggs and the risk of heart disease.

One review of 17 studies with a total of 263,938 participants found no association between egg intake and heart disease or stroke.

Many other studies have arrived at the same conclusion.

However, some studies have found that people with diabetes who eat eggs have an increased risk of heart disease

Whether the eggs are actually causing the increased risk isn’t known, because these types of studies can only show a statistical association. They cannot prove that eggs caused anything.

It is possible that people who eat lots of eggs and have diabetes are less health-conscious, on average.

On a low-carb diet, which is by far the best diet for people with diabetes, eating eggs leads to improvements in risk factors for heart disease.

Meanwhile, along with prawns, eggs are the only food high in cholesterol that is low in saturated fat.

“While the cholesterol in eggs is much higher than in meat and other animal products, saturated fat increases blood cholesterol. This has been demonstrated by lots of studies for many years,” says Maria Luz Fernandez, professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut in the US, whose latest research found no relationship between eating eggs and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

10. Are Filling and Tend to Make You Eat Fewer Calories, Helping You Lose Weight

Eggs are incredibly filling. They are a high-protein food, and protein is, by far, the most satiating macronutrient

Eggs score high on a scale called the satiety index, which measures the ability of foods to cause feelings of fullness and reduce later calorie intake.

In one study of 30 overweight women, eating eggs instead of bagels for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and made them automatically eat fewer calories for the next 36 hours

In another study, replacing a bagel breakfast with an egg breakfast caused significant weight loss over a period of eight weeks.

Summary:

Studies clearly show that eating up to three whole eggs per day is perfectly safe.

There is no evidence that going beyond that is harmful — it is just “uncharted territory,” as it hasn’t been studied.

Eggs are pretty much nature’s perfect food.

On top of everything else, they are also cheap, easy to prepare, go with almost any food. and taste awesome.

Please leave your comments below.

  • Do you eat eggs? Why or why not?
  • What do you think? Are eggs healthy?
  • Do you have a favorite egg alternative?

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Disclaimer

Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.

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REFERENCES:

foodrevolution.org

https://www.bbc.com/future/article

https://www.heart.org/en/news

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition

 

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