Eggs: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, January 23, 2009

Over the years, eggs have gotten a bad rap as cholesterol no-nos. But should you totally ditch them in your diet?

The Nutrition Facts:
One large egg contains 210 milligrams of cholesterol, which is about two-thirds of your daily need (300 milligrams per day is the recommended maximum). Most of us have two or three eggs for breakfast, which means we’re topping out on cholesterol in one meal. What you may not realize, however, is that saturated and trans fats influence your cholesterol levels the most, according to research.

Although eggs do contain cholesterol, they also have other benefits that make them a good-for-you food. They’re are full of vitamin A and D, which are mostly found in the yolk, and have some omega-3 fats, which are good for your heart. Nowadays, there are even eggs with added omega-3 fats available at your supermarket (a heads up: they can be quite pricey).

Another plus for eggs is the antioxidant lutein (pronounced LOO-teen), which helps promote healthy eyes and skin. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found the blood more successfully absorbs egg-sourced lutein than lutein from other foods (i.e. spinach and corn).

Better still, eggs are a “perfect protein” because they contain all the essential amino acids needed for growth and your body’s maintenance. There is as much protein in an egg yolk as there is in the egg white.

And yes, you might wonder: what’s the difference between brown and white eggs? Nothing nutritionally. The color all has to do with the hens earlobes — hens with white earlobes lay white eggs and hens with red earlobes lay brown eggs.

The Bottomline:
The American Heart Association says an egg a day is fine for a healthy diet, and you should try to replace other high cholesterol foods such as dairy, meats and poultry. If you follow that one-a-day rule, keep in mind that many baked goods contain eggs and are a source of cholesterol and fat as well.

Of course, a plain egg isn’t the only option; there are low cholesterol alternatives available. Egg substitutes work well in recipes, and 1/4 cup is equivalent to a single egg. Using a combination of whole eggs and egg whites when prepping a dish can also help lower the overall cholesterol tally. Always avoid frying eggs or cooking with tons of butter. Try poaching them in water.

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Comments (58)

  1. andrea says:

    Thankyou for the helpful info on eggs. I eat eggs twice a week and use the substitute in recipes and my cholesterol is just fine.

  2. Larry55 says:

    thanks for the highlights of the egg by it’s self .
    However i like a good 2 egg omlett cooked in 1tsp of butter and ham/mushroom filling .
    does this cause unhealthy eggs ?

  3. Tina says:

    My grandson loves egg whites I was glad to read this. I fix them for him every morning.I was leary of the health efect

  4. Toby Amidor says:

    Hi Larry,
    The American Heart Association’s guideline is about 1 per day due to the cholesterol and saturated fat. In your omelet you can cut some of that by using a non-stick spray and filling with veggies (like your mushrooms). You can also use a combination of whole eggs and egg whites.

  5. I was surprised to learn there is the same amount of protein in the yolk and white of an egg. To eliminate the fat in an egg, I hard boil and then eat only the white.

  6. Marianne says:

    Thank you for the egg analysis which encourages me not to leave eggs out of the of my teens and myself. Cooked with unsaturated fat or olive oil, a sprinkel of cheese — an easy meal to provide on a cold afternoon.

  7. Greg Kaler says:

    The American Heart Assoc is not right on this one folks. They are uniformed. First of all, please think about this: “What is the natural purpose of a chicken’s egg?” To hatch a chick, not to feed a person. We’ve all been duped, same as the with milk and dairy industry. The natural purpose of a mother cow’s milk is to feed its calf, not a person. We’ve been duped. If you research it, milk and ALL dairy products actually promote bone disease/other human diseases. If you really want to learn the truth about food, here it is:http://www.thetruthaboutyourfood.com/teleseminars.php, or drfuhrman.com, or drmcdougall.com, just to name a few. The webinars in the first website are long, and they have a few technical problems, but if you hang in there you will be enlightened. I am not a raw foodist however I am making the changeover to a much healthier diet. Eggs are not included. There is a big myth out there on how much protein we need. An important key to good health is consuming nutritious amino acids, not an overabundance of protein, which taxes our kidneys and other organs. Any ingested protein has to be broken down by the protein thats already in our bodies. Eggs have a large of amount of protein- intended to nourish a chick. Not to mention the misery of chickens raised in factory farms. Many caged birds have no room to even spread their wings. When more than one chicken is in the same small cage their beaks are painfully clipped to prevent injury. There is much more to learn folks.
    Any ?s ForPlanetHealth@aol.com

  8. Ron Dix says:

    I am more inclined to believe the comments posted by Healthy Eats than by Greg since the egg is an almost perfect food. I do not believe that the egg was meant only to produce chicks no do I believe the comments about milk. “God” forbid that I even bring up his Holy Name, but God put these two animals on earth to make may self sufficient. Also used in reproduction. The egg has natural lethicin which breaks down the cholesterol in the egg. Also I don’t think it was necessary to get into the “caged” birds thing. Yes, I agree it is not humain to treat chickens this way but unfortunately it is the way things are. I love eggs. I eat ten (10) a week, I am 71 years old and have a good cholesterol count and wonderful blood pressure. It’s all in the genes.
    Thanks

  9. Ron Dix says:

    Correction to my previous comments. I misspelled “Man”. I said may self sufficient instead of making man self sufficient.

  10. Andrea Mavro says:

    The artical states there is no difference in nutrition b/w white eggs and brown, however it fails to mention that there is considerable difference in nutrition from a supermarket egg (from a caged in, grain-fed, sick, beakless chicken, or even a “cage free” chicken that is allowed a small opening to outside but never goes b/c it isn’t opened until after the chicken has become used to the cramped inside life) and from a pasture-raised chicken that actually roams free, and eats whatever nature intends it to eat! I agree that modern dairy is not meant for human consumption but real dairy from grass-fed cows (especially raw and unpasteurized) and real eggs are certainly nutritious for human consumption. As far as separating out the whites? An egg is one of nature’s most perfect foods, once you introduce only parts of it to the body that is when you lose the synergystic value of a whole food. The saturated fat and cholesterol in an egg from a pasture raised chicken is certainly not going to raise your cholestrol, and the egg whites in a container? who knows what that does in the body. Heart disease is way higher now than in the time of our grandparents – do you know any grandparents that separated out the whites?

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