7 Reasons Why You Should Start Eating Eggs
Eggs are one of nature’s finest foods. They are extremely nutrient dense, easy to cook and taste good in lots of healthy low carb dishes.
Unfortunately they have also been vilified since the 60s as causing heart disease because of the high cholesterol content.
In this article, I’m going to give you 7 reasons why you should start eating eggs every day if you’re haven’t already done so.
Reason 1: Eggs Are Extremely Nutrient Dense
Inside an egg is all the nutrition that’s needed to transform it into a chick so it’s a nutritional powerhouse.
It’s an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In terms of macronutrients one hard boiled egg has about:
- 77 calories
- 6 grams of protein
- 5 grams of healthy fats
- 0.6 grams of carbs
The vitamins and minerals include:
- Vitamin A: 6% of RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance
- Vitamin E: 4% of RDA
- Riboflavin: 15% of RDA
- Vitamin B6: 3% of RDA
- Folate: 5% of RDA
- Vitamin B12: 9% of RDA
- Pantothenic Acid: 7% of RDA
- Phosphorous: 9% of RDA
- Selenium: 22% of RDA
Now it’s important to realize that most of the nutrients in an egg is contained in the yolk so please eat the entire egg and not just the white like some people who have a phobia for cholesterol do: I’ll get to that later on why the cholesterol isn’t harmful. And by the way, the egg white is just primarily protein and nothing else so please eat the entire egg!
Reason 2: The Cholesterol in Eggs Don’t Increase Your Heart Disease Risk
We’ve heard that probably a zillion times before haven’t we? – that eggs are high in cholesterol which will increase heart disease risk. Well, I’ve debunked that and the saturated fat myth in an earlier post.
Even though an egg has 212 mg of cholesterol (the RDA or recommended daily allowance is 300 mg), it won’t negatively impact your cholesterol level because your liver produces about 75% of the cholesterol. The remaining 25% comes from food sources.
In the past it was thought that eating foods high in cholesterol would drive up cholesterol levels but recent studies such as this one have shown that dietary cholesterol doesn’t really negatively impact serum cholesterol.
When you eat high cholesterol foods like eggs, liver and other organ meats, your liver simply produces less so it balances out in the end.
Now, let’s get back to eating eggs.
A 12-week study from the University of Connecticut involving 28 participants showed that eating 3 eggs increased HDL levels. Increased HDL levels decreases heart disease risk so this refutes the mistaken notion of eating eggs increase cardiovascular disease risk.
In another 6-week Danish study, 24 healthy adults were instructed to consume 2 eggs every day. At the end of the study, serum HDL went up by 10% with triglycerides and LDL remaining unchanged.
In fact a much earlier 1991 case study published in the New England Journal of Medicine documented an 88 year old man who ate between 20 and 30 eggs a day without suffering any ill effects; his lipid profile was healthy.
Now I’m not suggesting that you go and gorge yourself silly with over 20 eggs every day. The studies just show that eggs aren’t the artery clogging and heart disease promoting food that they were erroneously thought to be.
Reason 3 – Eggs Lessen Heart Disease Risk
You may find this rather surprising but eggs DO lessen your chances of getting cardiovascular disease.
The medically community has been telling us that increased levels of LDL (low density lipoproteins) are bad because it jacks up your heart disease risk.
However the LDL equation isn’t as straightforward as that because the LDL particle size matters greatly: there are the small dense particles and the large fluffy particles.
Studies such as this one show that it’s the small dense LDL particles that we should be wary of because it’s these that increase heart disease risk by promoting atherosclerosis.
Furthermore, studies show that that once triglycerides go over the 133 mg/dl (1.5 mmol/l) mark, this is where it “favors the formation of small, dense LDL from larger, less dense species.”
What this basically means is that even if your LDL reading is within the acceptable range as defined in lipid profiles, you are at increased risk of heart disease if your triglycerides go pass this 133 mg/dl (1.5 mmol/l) threshold because it means most of your LDL comprises the small dense particle subtype which promotes atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
All this was confirmed by a population based 1998 study by the Stanford University where they found that “LDL size was significantly smaller in CAD (coronary artery disease) cases. These findings support other evidence of a role for small, dense LDL particles in the etiology of atherosclerosis.”
Now what has all this got to do with eating eggs? Plenty!
Apparently the consumption of natural high cholesterol foods like whole eggs has been associated with a shift in the LDL particle size from the harmful small dense particle subtype to the harmless large particle subtype.
This is seen not only in normal folks but also in hyper-responders i.e. people whose cholesterol levels go up when they eat foods that are high in cholesterol. Hyper-responders form about 30% of any population.
If you eat omega 3 enriched eggs, it’ll be a double bonus because not only will your LDL particle size be changed from the artery clogging small dense particle subtype to the harmless large particle subtype, your triglycerides will also be lowered – and lower triglycerides also decrease heart disease risk.
In this 6-week study, 25 healthy participants were given 5 normal eggs per week for 3 weeks followed by 5 Omega 3 enriched eggs for the next 3 weeks. At the end of the study, there was an average of 18% decrease in the triglycerides levels of the participants.
Reason 4 – Eggs contain Nutrients which are Essential for Eye Health
As we age, our eye sights deteriorate and the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration increases. I’ve written an earlier article on the nutrients that we need for healthy eyes in the aging process.
Of all the nutrients that are important for eye health, lutein and zeaxanthin are probably the most important because these 2 antioxidants are known popularly as the eye vitamins. Just taking 6 mg of lutein a day together with zeaxanthin can decrease the risk of macular degeneration by as much as 35% to 40%.
High intake of lutein and zeaxanthin is also associated with decreased risks of cataracts of 23% to 32%.
Egg yolks are rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin.
In this 4.5 week study by Tufts University, eating just 1.3 egg yolks a day increased plasma lutein levels by 28% to 50% and zeaxanthin levels by 114% to 142%.
In another study by the University of Massachusetts, it was found that eating 1 egg a day increased lutein levels by an average of 26% and zeaxanthin levels by 38% in just 5 weeks.
Reason 5 – Eggs are High in Choline
Choline is an important but lesser known nutrient that is often grouped with the B vitamins because of similar functions and properties. However although it’s an essential nutrient it’s neither a vitamin nor a mineral.
Choline deficiency has been associated with chronic conditions such as liver disease, atherosclerosis, and neurological disorders.
In this study by the University of North Carolina, a diet deficient in choline led to the development of fatty liver or muscle damage in 77% of men, 80% of postmenopausal women and 44% of premenopausal women.
Another study by the same university showed that when postmenopausal women go on choline deficient diets, 73% of them developed liver disease.
The Oregon State University puts the recommended adequate intake of choline at 425 mg a day for women and 550 mg a day for men. One egg has an average of 113 mg of choline so eating just 5 eggs a day would be more than enough to get your daily requirement for choline.
Reason 6 – Eggs have Quality Protein with All the Essential Amino Acids
If you’re a senior like me, you need more protein to slow down age related muscle loss or sarcopenia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “newer research is showing that higher levels are needed for adults age 65 and older. Between 1 and 1.2 g/kg a day seems to be the target for healthy adults. Those with sarcopenia may need 1.2 to 1.5 g/kg a day.”
Eggs are an excellent protein food: a normal 50 gram egg contains about 6 grams of high quality protein with all the essential amino acids in the correct ratios so that our bodies can utilize all of it.
All dietary protein is made up of amino acids; there are 20 amino acids and 9 of them are deemed essential because our bodies cannot produce them while the others are non-essential meaning that our bodies can synthesize them from other amino acids and foods.
In fact, the biological value – which is a measure of protein quality – of eggs are often given a perfect score of 100. The higher the biological value of a protein source, the easier it is for the body to utilize it. In general all animal protein sources have much higher biological values than protein from plant sources with the exception of soy beans which is the only plant based protein source that is complete, having all the 9 essential amino acids.
Reason 7 – Eating Eggs can Help with Weight Loss
Eggs are high in both protein and natural healthy fat with only a slight trace of carbohydrates.
Because of this eggs score high on the Satiety Index which is a system developed by Dr. Susanna Holt from the University of Sydney in Australia to measure how foods contribute to fullness or satiety.
Since eggs are so filling, eating them especially during breakfast makes you less hungry throughout the day so you eat less during lunch and dinner. When you eat less, your reduce calories and in the process lose weight.
In a study by the Saint Louis University in the US, 30 overweight women were randomized into 2 groups: the 1st group was given bagels for breakfast while the 2nd group was given eggs. The group that was given eggs for breakfast ate much less during lunch and dinner and lost more weight than those given bagels for breakfast.
In another 8-week study, those who ate eggs versus those who had bagel breakfasts were found to have:
- A decrease BMI of 61% greater than those who had bagels.
- A 65% greater weight loss.
- A 34% greater loss in waist circumference.
- A 16% greater loss in body fat.
Which are the Best Types of Eggs to Buy?
Eggs from free range chicken have an edge in nutrition over eggs from chickens that are grained fed, caged and kept in cramped spaces.
So, where possible, buy pastured eggs that are enriched with omega 3 – this will be definitely be more value and nutrition for your money. That having said, I also realize that such eggs are more expensive than normal ones. If you’re on a tight budget then by all means just buy normal eggs.
You’re probably wondering how many eggs you can safely eat a day. All the studies only show that eating up to 3 eggs a day is sufficient to reap the many health benefits that eggs offer.
That doesn’t mean you should only limit yourself to 3 eggs a day. I used to eat up to 15 eggs a day when I was younger and working out hard with weights and I didn’t get heart disease.
Today, nearing 60 years of age, I still have 6 to 10-egg omelets several times a week and I still don’t have heart disease.
But that having said, although eggs are super nutritious the road to good health isn’t dependent on 1 or 2 nutritious foods; it’s dependent on what you eat daily and how active your lifestyle is.
I’ve found that as a senior, keeping fairly active by exercising 6 days a week and following a low carb high fat diet is my best insurance against almost all the chronic conditions.
If you would like to start on a low carb diet but don’t have any idea how or where to start, I’ve written a post on how to do that.
If you would like to start on a low carb diet but need personal coaching on how to get it right the 1st time, just send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org or just complete the contact form below.