Posts

So are eggs an amazing super food or a cholesterol bomb? Looking at the evidence

Few foods are as controversial as the egg. It feels like one minute it is being hailed as the next super health food, and the next minute, a cholesterol-laden bomb to be avoided at all costs. This back and forth gives me-and my patients- some serious whiplash when we’re trying to figure out the answer to the simple question ” should I eat eggs or shouldn’t I???”

So you know me, I’m all about the evidence.  As much as I like Google and social media, there can be lots of biased misinformation out there. As a physician, I seek the results of  clinical studies to help guide me in my answer. So let me help summarize the latest research for you!

Long-story short: in people without underlying medical conditions, an egg a day is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, lutein, choline and some fats (mainly mono and poly-unsaturated fats ). Interestingly, the data suggests that people with diabetes and other CVD risk may have higher risk of heart disease if consuming more than 3 eggs a week. {link} (It seems like more research is needed to determine exactly why).

To break that summary down a bit more, here are the key points:

-Eggs are extremely delicious (this is totally anecdotal from my taste buds, not from clinical studies)

-One egg contains about 200 mg of cholesterol a day, found in the yolk, but that type of cholesterol isn’t NECESSARILY the bad type

-Most studies don’t prove that eating eggs are BETTER for you than not eating them, but some studies show that you’re not WORSE OFF if you eat eggs (in moderation) than if you didn’t

-If you’re at higher risk for heart disease (especially if you have diabetes) then it seems that you can only get away with fewer eggs a week than the average person.

So what would I tell my patients after reading these studies? If they are generally healthy, I’d say eat up to 7 eggs a week without guilt! And watch what you’re eating those eggs with; we tend to sabotage a healthy meal with the accompaniments (bacon, sausage), or the way that we prepare that meal (ie: frying eggs )…and these things are worse than the actual egg itself. Want some healthy options to complement your egg? Avocado, whole wheat toast, tomatoes and other veggies in an omelette come to mind ! And one tip I like to give: if you use one whole egg and 1 or 2 egg whites you still get the benefit of that delicious yolky taste without as much cholesterol.

Have an Egg-cellent day ! (sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂 )

Dr Kim