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. Momcat says:

    Let’s not confuse inhumane farming practices (which I hate) with a balanced view of nutrition and living. The two are not connected. I eat less of certain items, so I can purchase from more humane sources (costing more). Healthy bones, joints, and muscles are also dependent on exercise. Moderation in all things is my motto.

  2. Marvy Schuman says:

    Hooray for this article! I've always eaten an egg-a-day for the last half century or so, as my day doesn't start right without one. My cholesterol levels are good, so all the bad rap about eggs don't hold true for me. It is a perfect food, and as with all foods, moderation in key. When I was a kid, my dad concocted a dish to tantalize us finicky kids into eating. A huge bowl of freshly cooked hot rice, about 3-6 raw eggs cracked into it, soy sauce sprinkled all over, and mixed very well. The best comfort food ever that even my kids to this day love! For those skittish about raw eggs, microwave this dish for a few seconds although the hot rice already cooks the egg. Yum.

    Eggs have their own particular flavor, so I stick to free-range natural eggs if possible, as they taste much better. Soft boiled is my fave, with the whites cooked. But now, I "fry" them oil-less in a non-stick pan.

    Enjoy this perfect, inexpensive food!

    • Renee says:

      My kids love this, and not to burst your bubble, but this is a very common dish in Asia, particularly in Japan. Everyone eats this daily, it is called tamagogohan. So, not sure it was an original idea. But yes,my 8 year old considers this his comfort food. I was worried about the raw eggs, thanks for the microwave tip.

  3. Joey G. says:

    Albumen or egg whites exists in the human body. It is very natural, and a perfect protein. To whom that posted eggs are meant to hatch a chick. I say, bean sprouts were not meant to nourish humans; produce more bean sprouts. You can say this for anything!

  4. Excellent article. I always hear that a minimal of 2 eggs per week is ideal, which is ridiculous considering I'll eat a 3-egg omelet for breakfast three times per week!! But maybe that's pushing it?

  5. Gary says:

    I eat 3 per day at least, and have excellent blood cholesterol levels. If you are at all active, eat as many eggs as you want. I have yet to see proof of anyone who had great blood cholesterol levels ruined because they started eating eggs. I'll slow down on mine once I see something like this, but until then, EGGGGGS EGGGGGGGS EGGGGGGGGGS!

  6. Scott says:

    I have to agree with Gary… I myself eat 3 eggs per day for breakfast, on average. Usually they are scrambled, and I often eat egg white omelets with an egg to yolk ratio of 2:1. (Ex. 4 whole eggs with 2 yolks removed.) Occasionally I'll have a couple of fried or hard boiled eggs just to change things up. I usually have them with a bowl of granola or when it is colder, oatmeal, with fruit. I also have a couple of slices of whole grain toast with at least 2G of fiber per serving. The oats and the fiber help to "neutralize" the cholesterol intake, I believe. I have been eating this way for 10+ years now. Back in my early to mid 20's, I got away from eating breakfast and suffered for it. I was sluggish and would eat a huge lunch to compensate and then struggle to stay awake at work in the afternoon. I am now 36 years old and reasonably active, and I wouldn't think of missing my eggs for breakfast! I do not have any issues with my cholesterol. Like many other comments posted, I believe that if you have some balance in your life thru diet and exercise, and don't cram processed foods and "fast" food into your body on a daily basis, just about anything in moderation (reasonably speaking) is OK.
    Life is short – EAT WELL!

  7. pebbles06 says:

    i use the brown eggs by egglands best the cage free eggs. i only eat one egg once a day my chos. is fine. but thsanks for the info on the eggs….also for rec. if it calls for eggs i either use egg whites or brown cage free eggs. i never use the other eggs anymore.

  8. Captain Steve says:

    We've got five chickens (I call them "bird-brains") living in our backyard that are also our moving lawn ornaments. They give us five eggs per day or almost three dozen per week! I've got perfect cholesterol levels (145) but I'm a little concerned where the number will go if we ate all of those eggs. We're trying to keep a happy balance between saving money (the eggs like ours would be roughly $4.75 a dozen), our health, and not helping to sustain a very inhumane food industry.

    Bottom line… we love the eggs we get and love the little "bird-brains" that help eat up our compost waste and keep the yard bug-free.

  9. giovanni says:

    My mother had gone through life eating two eggs a day ,at breakfast. She mentioned this to me a number of times. She passed away at the age of 94 from old age. i remember this story from the first time she told me when i was five years old. Three cheers for eggs.

  10. Sara says:

    Do chicken have ears??? Come on…white lobes=white eggs??? I have never heard of such a thing?!?!?

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