Are eggs safe to eat every day? Is the cholesterol a problem?
Sure, eggs are an amazing powerhouse of nutrients, containing high-quality protein (high biological value), vitamins, and minerals. They are also a good source of cholesterol, (a fatty substance that is essential for various bodily functions such as cell membrane formation and hormone production) which has been linked to heart disease.
Protein are the basic substance of our bodies, the stuff out of which every cell is built. When eaten in foods, protein also provides energy. Foods vary in the amount and quality of the protein they contain.
However, top-quality protein, with the essential amino acids, is of animal origin: meat, fish, milk and eggs.
And yes, egg yolks contain many vitamins and minerals that are difficult to find anywhere else.
The only nutritionally comparable food is organ meat.
But what about the cholesterol?
Cholesterol, a fatty substance in the blood vessels, is either manufactured by the body or is obtained from animal and other fats.
For years, eggs have been criticized for their cholesterol content, primarily found in the yolk. A single large egg contains approximately 186 milligrams of cholesterol, accounting for most of the daily recommended limit of 300milligrams for healthy individuals. This raised concerns that consuming eggs regularly might contribute to higher cholesterol levels and consequently increase the risk of heart disease.
However, recent research has revealed that the cholesterol content in foods, such as eggs, might not have as significant an impact on blood cholesterol levels as once thought. Instead, other dietary and lifestyle factors play a more substantial role in determining cholesterol levels
Medical authorities believe that the hardening of the arteries is linked to excess blood cholesterol which forms deposits on the insides of the blood vessels. As the deposits increase, the passageways of the circulatory system gradually narrows, until the flow of blood is obstructed.
When the cholesterol buildup occurs in an artery carrying blood to the heart, the end result is often a heart attack.
And many people believe that egg WHITES are okay but they are skipping the yolk.
Well I have some surprises for you.
A study from Sydney University, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating two eggs per day for 12 months did not have any negative effects on blood cholesterol levels or heart health markers in people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes
They enrolled 140 overweight participants in the three-month study. All of the participants were diagnosed with either pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes. The researchers put the participants on a weight-loss diet.
The weight loss protocol consisted of eating 500 calories less than their energetic daily requirements. They divided the participants into two groups.
The diets for the groups were almost identical -- except for the number of eggs eaten by the participants.
One group was instructed to avoid eggs entirely. The other group ate two eggs per day, six days a week, for three months.
“We aimed to determine whether a high-egg diet affected circulating lipid profiles – in particular, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.”
The study then looked at the effects of eggs on lipids and cholesterol.
It turned out there were no significant differences in cholesterol between the high-egg diet and the no-egg diet.
“There was no significant difference in the change in HDL cholesterol – from screening to three months – between groups.”
Eating a little cholesterol in the form of eggs had an insignificant effect on the amount of HDL-cholesterol in circulation. LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol were also unchanged.
“No between-group differences were shown for total cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.”
The study found that eggs had no effect on blood sugar regulation or triglycerides.
“No differences were found for triglycerides or glycemic control.”
From these results, it seems very unlikely that a couple of eggs a day are a risk factor for diabetes or heart disease.
Both experimental diets contained similar amounts of protein, usually a major factor in hunger.
Those in the high-egg diet group reported less hunger.
“Both groups were matched for protein intake, but the high-egg group reported less hunger and greater satiety post-breakfast.”
The authors concluded that eating two eggs per day poses no risk to people with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
“This study suggests that a high-egg diet can be included safely as part of the dietary management of type 2 diabetes.”
The scientists then conducted an in-depth follow-up study
At the end of the previous study, they asked the participants to extend the experiment for another nine months. Most of the participants agreed and they maintained the diet they were assigned. The scientists performed the same tests at the end of 12 months. They also performed a number of other tests looking at inflammation.
12 months of a high-egg diet had no effect on glycemia, cholesterol, lipids, oxidative stress, or inflammation.
“There were no differences between groups in glycemia, lipids, markers of inflammation (C-reactive protein), or oxidative stress from 0 to 12 months.”
A couple of eggs a day seem very safe in regard to diabetes and heart health.
“People with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes who consumed a 3-month high-egg weight-loss diet with a 6-month follow-up exhibited no adverse changes in cardio-metabolic markers.”
High-quality protein: Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, and it can also help you feel full and satisfied after eating.
Vitamins and minerals: Eggs are a good source of vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as choline, selenium, and iodine. These nutrients are important for a variety of health functions, including vision, bone health, and immune function
Eggs are effective for the management of diabetes
Cholesterol: Eggs are high in cholesterol, but the type of cholesterol in eggs is not the same as the type of cholesterol that is linked to heart disease. The cholesterol in eggs is mostly made up of HDL cholesterol, which is actually beneficial for heart health.
Eggs are effective for helping you manage your weight and to lose weight too
Overall, eggs are a healthy food that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, consult your Registered Dietitian for proper dietary guidelines.
Would you like to learn how to use healthy eating to prevent diet-related illnesses?
This free online Introduction to Human Nutrition course will give you a broad insight into nutrition and help you make wise choices when it comes to the food you eat every day. These days, health problems such as obesity, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are becoming more and more common. By the end of this course, you will understand the role nutrition plays in personal health and be able to create a healthy diet for yourself. Learn more and register for the course here
The Effect of a High-Egg Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in People with Type 2 Diabetes: The Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—a 3-mo Randomized Controlled Trial by Namson S Lau, Tania P Markovic et al
The Effect of a High-Egg Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in People with Type 2 Diabetes: The Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase by Namson S Lau, Tania P Markovic et al
The Effects of a High-Egg Diet on Cardio metabolic Risk Factors in People with Prediabetes or Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2018.
Egg Consumption and Glycemic Control in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Nutrients, 2020.