Why Are Eggs Good For You? An Egg-ceptional Superfood

Girl Holding an EggNutrition professionals have an excellent track record of demonizing healthy foods.

Red meat, cheese, coconut oil… to name a few.

But the #1 worst example is their decades of propaganda against eggs, which are among the healthiest foods on the planet.

Eggs do NOT Cause Heart Disease

Historically, eggs have been considered unhealthy because they contain cholesterol.

A large egg contains 212mg of cholesterol, which is a lot compared to most other foods.

However, it has been proven, time and time again, that eggs and dietary cholesterol do NOT adversely affect cholesterol levels in the blood.

In fact, eggs raise HDL (the good) cholesterol. They also change LDL cholesterol from small, dense LDL (which is bad) to large LDL, which is benign (1, 2, 3).

A new meta-analysis published in 2013 looked at 17 prospective studies on egg consumption and health. They discovered that eggs had no association with either heart disease or stroke in otherwise healthy people (4).

This isn’t new data. Multiple older studies have led to the same conclusion (5).

Bottom Line: Despite the fear mongering of the past few decades, eating eggs and cholesterol has no association whatsoever with heart disease.

Eggs Are Rich in Unique Antioxidants

Eye on White Background

Eggs are particularly rich in the two antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine.

These antioxidants gather in the retina of the eye and protect against the eye diseases Macular Degeneration and Cataracts (6, 7, 8).

In one study, supplementing with an average of 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks increased blood levels of Lutein by 28-50% and Zeaxanthine by 114-142% (9).

Bottom Line: Eggs contain large amounts of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine, which dramatically lower your risk of age-related eye disorders.

Eggs Are Among The Most Nutritious Foods on The Planet

Just think about it… one egg contains all the nutrients and building blocks required to grow an entire baby chicken.

Egg

Eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients.

A large egg contains (10):

  • Only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
  • Rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among others).
  • One egg contains 113 mg of Choline – a very important nutrient for the brain, among other things. A study revealed that 90% of Americans may not get enough choline in their diet (11).

If you decide to include eggs in your diet (you should) then make sure to eat Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs. They are much more nutritious than eggs from factory-raised chickens.

Eat the yolks, they contain pretty much all the nutrients!

Bottom Line: Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids, are highly concentrated with vitamins and minerals and are among the best sources of choline you can get. Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.

Eggs Are Satiating and Help You Lose Weight

Woman smiling and holding an egg

Eggs score high on a scale called the Satiety Index, which means that eggs are particularly capable of making you feel full and eat less overall calories (12).

Eggs only contain trace amounts of carbohydrate, which means that they will not raise blood glucose levels.

In a study of 30 overweight or obese women that ate either a bagel or eggs for breakfast, the egg group ended up eating less during lunch, the rest of the day and for the next 36 hours (13).

In another study, overweight men and women were calorie-restricted and given either a breakfast of 2 eggs (340 kcal) or an isocaloric breakfast of bagels. After 8 weeks, the egg eating group had a (14):

  • 61% greater reduction in BMI.
  • 65% more weight loss.
  • 34% greater reduction in waist circumference.
  • 16% greater reduction in body fat.

…even though both breakfasts contained the same number of calories.

Bottom Line: Eggs are a nutritious, protein rich food with a strong impact on satiety. Studies show that eating eggs for breakfast can help you lose weight.

An Egg-ceptional Superfood

If you need any more reasons to eat eggs… they are cheap, go with almost any food and taste awesome.

If there was any food I’d be willing to classify as a superfood, it would be eggs.

88 Comments

  1. Hi Kris.
    Love your regular updates. Thank you.
    One question regarding eggs, what are the benefits of restricting to the egg whites only? I am on a strict weight loss program and have been advised to avoid the yolks until I reach my goal weight, because of the calorie content. What are your views on this?

    • I would eat the yolks if I were you. If you’re eating a fixed number of calories, then cut back on other foods instead.

      • Just eating the yolks sounds good but what should we do with all the whites? I don’t want to waste food…. any suggestions?

        Also, can we really eat up to 4 eggs a day? What about young children?

        • I eat four eggs a day. Have my whole life. I’m 47. My HDL is 94, LDL is 77 and my Triglycerides are 52. Basically my ratios are off the charts. Sugar, simple carbohydrates, stress, and lack of exercise are the real problems. Eat your eggs and enjoy them.

          • Mark styler says:

            Hi Clay,
            Just looking at the site and fascinated with your comments. I am actually trying to put weight on as I suffer from stress and poor eating habits. One of the draw backs to having your own business I guess.

            We live next to a farm and have an endless supply of free range eggs if we want them but have not done so. I have just started to eat 2 a day and wondered if 4 would be the thing to do to help the weight gain.

            Cheers,
            Mark

        • Are you serious? I eat 5 eggs a day. Used to eat 14 eggs a day. Not all yolks mind you – usually no more than 3 yolks a day with that. My cholesterol and my health is top notch at 43.

      • Whole foods are the way to go. Cutting back with only egg whites, or restricting certain ingredients on non processed foods can potentially put your body in starvation mode. Your metabolism slows down and you store more fat. I’m not a diet person really, but one diet that I can advocate for is a paleo diet.

        Humans have been walking the earth for nearly 2,000,000 years. They didn’t eat processed foods. Not saying we shouldn’t have cheat days, but a change in diet and cutting back some of the convenient garbage can dramatically improve health, and in fact save you boatloads of $$$ by potentially not having to see the doctor due to health issues.

        Of the 2 million years of evolution, our bodies have remarkable healing abilities, and it all starts with input and output.

    • Manuel Shaw says:

      We are now raising back yard chickens for the eggs (fun to watch). To hear it is good having a few eggs every day… well, a good thing!

      Since my little ladies (4 hens) will be laying about 600-700 eggs a year.

  2. Thanks! I think I’ll have a couple. what are some suggestions of how to fancy them up or disguise them so that my daughter an egg hater might try them?

    • Hmm… maybe throw in some cheese with the eggs?

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Syrup on eggs = amazing.

    • Here’s something I tried as an experiment and it turned out really delicious. Mix one whole egg and 2 egg whites in a bowl. Beat well with a bit of salt and if your daughter likes it, a dash of sweet (not hot) paprika. It turns the eggs a salmon-ish colour.

      Take an egg poacher and lightly grease the sides of the poaching cups with some butter or XV Olive oil. Pour enough of the egg mix into each cup just below the top because they rise a little… somewhat like a souffle. Then poach as normal until they are cooked through. About 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the egg cups.

      They end up looking like a soft meringue. They are firm (hold their shape) and soft at the same time. I wanted more :*)

      Has she ever tried just eating just the whites? A nice way to cook egg whites I find, is by quickly sizzling some fresh herbs (I like fresh sage… also sliced spring onions are nice) in XV Olive oil or butter and pouring the separated egg whites directly into the pan without beating them first… turn the heat down to medium low and cook until firm and cooked through (a small pan with a lid is best I find).

      They cook solidly, as if you were frying a whole egg. OR use one whole egg with the yolk and add several extra whites and stir gently to blend before pouring into hot pan. Simple, quick and delicious.

  3. I love eggs, but a question I have is why after eating them I feel nauseous? I’ve tried eating just the whites, then just the yolks and I still feel queasy. I can never have them just on their own, which is a shame because there’s nothing nicer than a boiled egg with a sprinkle of salt… I still persist but have to have them with something else either in a salad or with bacon, then I don’t get the yuk stomach… Any ideas as to what is causing this?

    • Very strange. I’m clueless as to what could be causing it.

    • My step mom was the same way when she would eat store bought eggs. She now can only eat fresh farm eggs, it has something to do with what they feed them. That might not be the same in your case but just though I would share.

    • Hmm, maybe it’s what you’re preparing the eggs IN (butter? margarine? coconut oil? etc.?). If you haven’t already, try just a plain hard-boiled egg.

      If you are reacting to the fat, it could be nothing, or it could be gall bladder problems; also some diabetes medications can cause nausea when too much fat is consumed.

    • Sounds like you could have an egg allergy. A GI response to allergens is less common than a skin or respiratory one, but it is definitely possible to suffer nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea from ingesting an allergen.

    • My girlfriend is allergic to eggs. They make her stomach sick and upset. Maybe you have an allergy to eggs causing you to feel sick.

    • Will Fisher says:

      If eggs upset your stomach, you should check out your blood type diet and see if this matches you.

  4. Last week the SF Chronicle Business Section ran an article about the “clean food” industry. The “clean food” industry makes fake foods out of soy, canola oil, gums, etc. The story featured a company trying to come up with a fake egg “because it will have a longer shelf life”. It also mentioned a company I’d heard profiled on NPR some months ago that is making a “clean food” chicken out of soy that is difficult to tell apart from the real thing. So far, with respect to the fake eggs, they haven’t found a way to deliver the right texture at a cost as low as a real egg. But they will . . . .

    This is SCARY stuff. How can people possibly think that it’s a good thing to replace the egg-nature’s most perfect food, with a fake, synthesized product full of GMO soy? Why is that considered “clean food”? Why would anybody think that’s a good thing for the human body?

  5. Kris,

    It’s a shame that some people still think eggs are unhealthy. I love eggs because they are one of the easiest things to make and taste great. I’m a big fan of the egg and vegetable scrambles as I know you are also.

    Alykhan

  6. Cristina Ribeiro says:

    What is the maximum amount of eggs a woman should eat per week before she needs to worry about high cholesterol. I am a mid 30 year old woman, active, non drinker, smoker, drug user, healthy, and enjoy eating hard boiled, scrambled eggs ands omelets.

    • If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about it at all. There is no evidence that egg consumption has adverse effects on cholesterol in otherwise healthy people.

    • Cristina,

      I’m 33, started the Paleo diet a little over a year ago and began eating 5-6 eggs per day (vs. my previous two per day) and my cholesterol and triglyceride levels drastically improved (they were good before, but now they’re impeccable). Kris is right; enjoy those omelets! :)

  7. Christina,

    I’m a 53 year old woman and my cholesterol (total and LDL) has gone DOWN since adding eggs back into my diet–as many as 5 a day. HDL has gone up a LOT and triglycerides are very low. The cholesterol in food will NOT raise your blood levels of cholesterol, and are not a risk factor for heart disease. The lipid theory has been disproven.

  8. We have “backyard” chickens and get wonderful pastured eggs everyday. We plan on linking to this page from our site. Have an eggcellent day, Kris!

  9. Are there any studies of health impacts of high egg consumption, ie above 3 eggs including yolks a day? Observational or experimental studies would both count.

  10. I need to share this with my son’s teacher! We currently live in Indonesia and at school right now they are learning about healthy foods. His teacher keeps telling him that eggs are not healthy and now he won’t eat them. He has always loved eggs but he loves his teacher more and I am very unhappy that she is telling him NOT to eat eggs. He is only 4 and a very picky eater, so I always get him to eat eggs at least every other day because they are full of so many vitamins and nutrients that he needs.

  11. Labropotes says:

    I have often thought that if eggs were bad for one’s health, that would have become very apparent among farmers like me who eat 5 or 6 eggs a day. Since eggs are delicious and almost free, and since farmers are not rich, I bet a lot of us eat a lot of eggs. No one ever had to make special mortality tables just for farmers!

  12. Can you point to studies that show that eating 3-4 eggs a day, as you do, does not increase health risks? The meta-analysis you point to looks at people who consume 1 egg a day. This finding (that one egg a day is fine), is in line with the conclusions drawn by the Harvard Nurses Study and others (see http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/#1). But there are studies out there that show that too many eggs increases heart problems (see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195171?dopt=Citation)

  13. I am a young college student (17) who absolutely LOVES eggs. My favorite is hard-boiled because they are easy to make and eat when I don’t have time to make a whole meal! The nutrients in eggs keep my skin and hair healthy, and keep me full and focused during long study sessions. Go eggs :)

  14. Peter Springer says:

    According to the studies:

    “Eggs are better than bagels” – does anyone really suggest eating bagels for breakfast every day?

    Eggs are ok, IF you have no health problems. Should not be overweight, have diabetes or high cholesterol.

    My opinion is if you are young, or are very active and have no health problems, then eat as many as you like.

    As I am getting older, I think I will cut back to around 3 per week. I feel better with pre-made oatmeal or a piece of toast with good peanut butter on it.

  15. I’m 58 years old. I’ve been averaging 5 – 6 eggs/day for at least 5 years. Maybe longer. I eat scrambled or fried eggs every morning. I don’t even think about eating again until lunch. I use to eat a bowl of homemade oatmeal, but by 10:00 I had to have something to eat. My cholesterol and triglycerides are fine, and I feel great. Eggs are awesome!

    • I may be overdoing it a bit. I eat 3 eggs a day for breakfast. I am on a low carb diet and eggs are the best option for breakfast. It’s either eggs or sausage. I feel full after eating eggs all the way up to lunchtime.

  16. I love eggs. They make me feel full and amazingly put me in a good mood. I’m positive they possess stress busting properties.

  17. Vanessa says:

    I eat four eggs every morning and have been for the past 10 years. On the weekends, I even throw in five pieces of bacon in the mix. I’ve never had any health problems. In fact, I visited the doctor a month ago and she literally said I was one of the healthiest patients she’s ever seen.

    I think key here is that people stay active, don’t smoke, and naturally take care of themselves. For example, a sedentary person who eats lots of sugar has a much higher chance of developing diabetes. An active person who eats sugar will actually assist their muscles, the sugars will be used as fuel, and will probably not result in diabetes. Same goes for high fatty foods. The whole package is needed for health!

  18. I once ate an entire dozen eggs in one sitting. It was pretty difficult and I had to choke them down with some water. (I wouldn’t recommend that lol!) I felt great. Like I was empowered. Sort of like I had taken some kind of drug or something. Eggs are awesome. They are feel good foods, physically, not emotionally.

  19. I have a very strange situation… I’m still trying to figure it out.

    5 weeks ago I became very ill. I vomited for a week and my chest, side, and back were hurting badly. After an ultrasound and hida scan it was determined that my gall bladder is functioning at 16%.

    If I eat anything unhealthy or fattening I pay the price. I have lost 18 lbs because of sticking to the diet… that’s a good thing. In the past, I had not been able to eat eggs… they would make me violently ill.

    Now I crave eggs…sunny side up… I HAVE to eat them!

    It’s almost 3am and I just got out of the bed to fry myself 4 eggs. So weird! Any clues?

  20. I grew up on a farm and had eggs every day. I love eggs cooked all different ways. Although my doctor wants to argue that I should not eat eggs, I have told him it is my body and I will eat what I want. Well, I eat about three eggs a day with fried mushrooms and cheese. I have always had some cholesterol problems, but not bad.

    Not to brag, but nobody who asks me my age believes me when I tell them that I am close to 73 years of age. Most people think I am in my early 50s. My skin is young in appearance and I feel good even though I have diabetes, but the numbers are never high. I will continue to consume eggs as I have done for more than 70s years almost daily. I even love them at night before you go to bed fi you hard boil them and sprinkle lots of pepper on them.

    I usually fry or scramble them in unsaturated fat cooking oil. I am not about to stop because some young nutritionist tells me they are harmful. God knows that they may not even live to be my age as most of them are in their 30s. Their studies makes no sense. I usually am not hungry until late afternoon when I eat a light snack. I am sick of one group saying they are bad for you when they are so good and healthy.

  21. Therese says:

    Jude,

    You are likely allergic to eggs. Hence the nausea. I am, my father was. We cannot hold them down.

    Therese

  22. William says:

    For years I have neglected eggs in my regular diet; I over-looked just how important they are. You can feel the benefits within minutes, and it lasts throughout the day. I feel stronger, more focused and positive.

    I can also get them cheap compared to other ‘good’ food sources (15 eggs for around £1.40), without sacrificing the quality. I now intend to included eggs in my diet. Thank you very much for this useful information.

  23. Hi… My cholesterol count is 315. Age 41yrs. But I love eggs. Can I have them regularly, I mean one whole egg a day?

    Also, my father aged 77 years, a blood pressure patient, can have one whole egg daily or egg white only? Thanks in advance…

  24. I have been told my son has an egg allergy (via blood test in a lab (not the prick type)) and thus I have stopped giving him eggs. However I do not like the idea because I always believed that eggs are super foods for kids. Is there some kind of other test that I can have done to double check this thing? Thanks.

  25. Stephanie says:

    For a long time I gave up eggs because of all the negative publicity they were receiving.

    A recent visit from my brother changed my mind. He argued successfully for their health benefits and is one of the healthiest people I know. Since reincorporating eggs back into my diet I noticed that I feel better overall.

    A ton of research is great but listening to my body’s reaction to eggs vs. no eggs did it for me. This cheap, healthy staple earned a place at my table for life.

    I try to look for free roaming and humane certified when available.

  26. Interesting article. I’m wondering if the same thing is true about the cholesterol in chicken liver.

  27. I love eggs. I raise my own backyard chickens, have 20 hens and 3 roosters. I love eggs for breakfast, pan fried with the yolks still runny along with a pan seared sliced tomato. I eat 3 eggs every morning. The yolks are like sunflower petal yellow, because the hens graze and scratch and forage for insects as well. High in omega 3.

  28. I recently read, “The China Study”. It details the largest, most comprehensive study of nutrition and health ever conducted. I strongly recommend it!

  29. Thanks for this article. I love eggs and I’m going back to them! I would like to make a brief comment on Tamara’s post of March 13 and the NCBI article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195171?dopt=Citation). I do wonder how reliable this article is:

    “CONCLUSIONS:
    Our data suggest that infrequent egg consumption is not associated with the risk of HF. However, egg consumption of > or = 1 per day is related to an increased risk of HF among US male physicians”.

    So, all you US male physicians, cease and desist!

  30. Is it good to eat a fried egg before bed?

  31. I’m 44 years old and I have always eaten eggs. They taste so dang good. I feel it is the best breakfast food. Since I started working out, I have read that not only are eggs not bad for you, they are in fact one of the best foods one can eat. They are loaded with protein and the body metabolizes about 95% of it.

  32. Eggowarrior says:

    I love eggs more than my wife. Eggs give me pleasure, wife does not!

  33. I drink a shake every morning, with 1 raw egg, glass of milk, strawberries with Honey or peanut butter. Is this good or bad? Are the commercial eggs good enough or rather free range eggs?

    • Raw eggs contain an anti-nutrient from the white called avidin that will bind to the biotin in your body.

      Not good. Cook the whites thoroughly.

  34. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9205/are-eggs-healthy-or-not-a-cardiologist-explains.html

    I’ve read this, they say is very up to date. what do you think?

    Thanks for your researches and posts, your website is very interesting!

    Alan

  35. I used to eat at least 2 eggs every morning and sometimes a couple more during the day, but I have reduced my consumption of eggs to one a day.

    Sometimes, I cook two eggs and throw away the yolk of one. The reduction has been due to the scary news that egg cholesterol cause heart disease. Is there any truth in the news that eggs that are not free-range are bad because they have the bad cholesterol?

  36. A new study reported in the April 25 issue of New England Journal of Medicine titled “Intestinal Microbial Metabolism of Phosphatidylcholine and Cardiovascular Risk” shows that bacteria in the gut help convert lecithin in eggs to TMAO and in turn people with high levels of TMAO in the blood (from eating eggs) are at higher risk of adverse cardiovascular events.

  37. It’s a great site, keep going.

  38. Thanks for the article! I’ve been adding eggs into my lunch for a while now, as it’s a cheap way to stretch food. A pound of beef, 2 cups of rice, and for eggs scrambled all work nicely when in a bowl together. It’s cheap, it stays tasty for about 11 days for me, and it’s easy to make.

  39. Great site. I have been on two half boiled eggs for breakfast and one cup of tea and a slice of toast almost on a daily basis. It is great and I feel less hungry. I last 4 hours till noon. I exercise daily… run/jog for 30 minutes and I notice a loss of weight and feel alert.

  40. Marie Kilpatrick says:

    I love scrambled eggs with flakes of ham mixed in. Makes me feel full and the taste is absolutely delicious.

  41. Julie Adams says:

    I am delighted to learn that the low-fat diet idea never was right and am excited to eat my eggs with no guilt! However, I heard the other day that FRIED eggs were still not good and that boiled, poached or soft scrambled were fine. I don’t understand why frying them would suddenly make them bad for you. Does it really matter how you cook them?

    • As long as you don’t burn them then I don’t see a problem. I always fry my eggs, they taste the best that way.

      Frying adds some fat, but if you choose a healthy cooking fat like butter or coconut oil then that is not a problem.

  42. Is it true that eggs can make you constipated?

  43. I am so confused about eggs – so much controversy.

    So if you go to Dr. Greger’s site – whom I deeply respect – he definitively warns people against eating eggs and cites many studies that say eggs are no good for you. Yet, I have heard by another doctor that I follow that eggs are actually the number one food for stabilizing blood sugar/insulin. Darn this is confusing – I wish everyone would get on the same page about eggs!

  44. I’ve been eating eggs fried in olive oil… is that a bad idea?

  45. Lorraine Johnson says:

    I hope not Mike, that’s the only oil we use in our house. I tend not to use extra virgin for frying eggs though, as they come out looking a bit green. Lol.

  46. Hi there, I’m pregnant of 30 weeks at the moment and for the past 1 week I had been craving/eating 4 half boiled eggs for supper every night with 2 pieces of bread and also a glass of milk.

    If I didn’t have them, I would wake up now and then with tummy feeling hungry and I didn’t get to sleep well too. But if I had them I would sleep quite well and feel quite full.

    Is it a bad habit to have them almost every night? Will it affect my baby? I’m quite happy to read your article about egg but some site stated mostly “eggs are bad”. I’m quite concerned… Please help.

  47. I think everybody should eat once a week, no more than 2-3 eggs. It’s bad for your hair.

  48. Sultan Ali says:

    Hello Mr. Kris Gunnars.

    Many thanks for your clarifications about eating eggs.

    I am eating 3 eggs at 7 am every morning for a week and feel no hungriness but feeling satiety until 3 to 4 pm in the evening.

    Please, I want to know, is there any difference in hatchery eggs and fresh chicken eggs with regards to nutrients. If there is a difference, then what is your advice for me to choose?

    Regards,
    Sultan Ali

  49. Hi Kris.
    I too am an everyday egg eater. I was intrigued to know how best to keep/store eggs?
    I’ve been told to store them in a cool dark cupboard or to store them in a fridge. However I’ve also been told if you store eggs in a refrigerator the shells become more pour-us, therefore the taste of the egg can be impaired due to the other produce stored with them.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks.

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