Eggs: what's good, what's dangerous, and what's scrumptious

Sometimes it can be confusing to determine which nutrition experts to trust. When it comes to eggs, one study finds them good for you and the next calls them dangerous. So which ones are correct?

While this back-and-forth topic can be confusing, deciding whether an egg will raise your cholesterol or clog your arteries will depend on your lifestyle, health status, daily diet, and more.

Here's an example: A large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a lot compared to most foods. That's where the cholesterol misconception comes in, according to Jacob Klessens, RD, LD, CPT, who is here to speak about Jacob Klessens, RD, LD, CPT.

Your liver produces cholesterol every day, and the amount of cholesterol produced depends on how much you eat, which means that dietary sources of cholesterol have minimal effects on cholesterol levels in the body. So when you get a lot of cholesterol from food, your liver produces less. If you don't eat foods with cholesterol, your liver produces more of it. In addition, studies show that eating cholesterol in the diet has no association with heart attacks or strokes.

While too much of one thing can be bad, fear of raising your cholesterol levels, especially if you practice clean eating, will make you give up eggs completely and miss out on some of the best nutrients on earth.


Egg Misconceptions (Debunking Cholesterol Myths)

Klessens explains that the way you look at eggs has changed many times over the past five decades, and it can be a bit difficult to keep up. "One day you'll hear that you shouldn't eat eggs because they have extremely high cholesterol, the next they're perfectly safe to eat," he says. We've all seen the runaround.

Yes, eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're bad for you. "Eggs have a lot of health benefits, not to mention they're delicious, so eliminating them entirely is unnecessary," Klessens says.

He explains, "If you're someone who watches your cholesterol, you should limit your cholesterol intake, which can be done by eating fewer eggs or cutting out other animal products high in saturated fat." He recommends good ones Include sources of soluble fiber in your diet as this will help lower LDL levels if you are concerned about this.

Egg-cellent health benefits

From a solid source of protein to one packed with vitamins and minerals, eggs should have a place on the table every day. "Eggs have many health benefits, one of the most well-known being that they're a great source of protein, averaging six grams of protein per egg," Klessens says.

"Boiled eggs are also one of the most bioavailable protein sources you can consume at 91%, second only to whey protein," he says. This allows the body to utilize the protein optimally - a plus point for the muscle fibers that tear in the gym day in and day out.

Klessens explains that eggs also contain a variety of vitamins, such as B6, B12, and vitamin D, which are important for maintaining a healthy nervous and immune system, produce red blood cells, and support bone health and muscle growth.

And let's not forget the thyroid supporting minerals, which are known to increase overall health and energy levels. "Eggs are a great source of selenium, which is important for thyroid support, reproduction, and protecting the body from free radicals," Klessens says, making this protein choice a must-have for both men and women. And what's even better, the same nutritional profile applies to the yellow - aka egg yolk!

Don't be afraid to get yolks

Time to rethink, says Klessens - egg yolk is not the enemy. In fact, eating egg yolk has many health benefits. "People often think that the egg white is the only part of the egg that contains protein, but that's not true," he says. "Egg yolks actually have a few grams of protein, too, along with healthy unsaturated fats and vitamins A, D, E, K, and B vitamins," he explains. All the vitamins you need to keep you healthy and strong while providing a delicious breakfast (or dinner).

How Many Egg Yolks Should You Eat? According to recent studies, eating one to two whole eggs a day seems safe to include in a healthy diet. "This number will vary for everyone depending on their health status and other foods they eat throughout the day, but that's the best answer," Klessens says. Working with your PCP will help you best understand what's going on inside your body, how your liver is working, and whether eggs should feature in your diet as a regular guest.

Female chef cracking an eggAfrica Studio

Two egg hacks you need in your life (how to tell if an egg has gone bad)

  • Crack it and inspect the spread: Klessens recommends cracking the egg open and seeing if the egg white looks watery. "If it's spreading quickly across the pan, that might indicate the egg is old, but not necessarily that it's bad," Klessens says. Remember, if the egg has any kind of discoloration or sulfur smell, it usually means the egg has gone bad. Run the float test:
  • Carefully place your egg(s) in a water arc: If the egg sinks it's fresh, if it tips up or floats it's most likely gone bad.

Egg buying tips:

  1. Egg color is determined by the genetics of the birds, no color is better than the other.
  2. Always buy organic eggs. (if you can). If you don't have a farm nearby, ask your local grocer if they can give you more information about the eggs you're considering buying.
  3. If you buy from a meat market or a local farmer, eggs don't need to be refrigerated for a few months. (If they have not already been refrigerated). These eggs will most likely come unwashed. Once you've washed the eggs, they need to be refrigerated. The eggs can easily sit on the counter rather than in the fridge thanks to the protective coating on their eggshell that prevents them from going bad. Washing removes this protective layer.

eggs in the bowl Luminous Kitchen / Getty

Why it is important to go organic (or grass-fed) when buying eggs

Egg prices are currently through the roof so the thought of buying (or investing in) organic/gravel eggs at this point makes you cringe. Here's why you should go organic and/or pasture-raised.

  • Organically raised birds are fed food that is certified organic and free of GMOs, antibiotics, heavy metals, hormones, animal by-products and pesticides. USDA regulations require that organic birds have year-round access to nature and are not caged in unhealthy living conditions.
  • Grazed birds roam freely and feed on nature; seeds, grasses and insects. (Much healthier and happier birds and higher egg quality). These birds are fed food, but in small amounts, and have been shown in studies to have higher levels of vitamin D as these birds roam free in the sun. · Both organic and grass-fed eggs contain more vitamins A and E and omega-3 fatty acids than regular eggs.
  • Regular eggs are the standard supermarket eggs. Conventionally raised birds are fed diets that most likely contain GMO soy, corn and pesticides. The living conditions of these birds are unknown, but they are supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
  • "Cage-free" is quite similar to the conventional—the birds that lay eggs without a cage still get their beaks and wings trimmed and live in confined spaces with minimal sunlight (and no guaranteed access to the outdoors). As a result, egg quality suffers and the birds may suffer as well.
  • Free-range eggs are produced by birds that are "allowed" to go outside. The term “free range” is used differently (and is unregulated in many areas) by country and by law.

Don't forget duck eggs

Duck egg, chicken egg, what's the difference? Both are good for your body.

While not typically found in your local grocery store, duck eggs are significantly larger than chicken eggs (sometimes), almost twice the size. "So you might think that a duck egg has twice as much protein as a chicken egg, but that's not true," explains Klessens. On average, duck eggs contain 9g of protein compared to 6g in chicken eggs. "However, the duck egg contains a much larger yolk, giving it around 10g of fat per egg, compared to 5g in chicken eggs," Klessens explains.

However, if you like the creaminess, flavor, and size of a duck egg compared to a chicken egg but want to save on the fat, you can simply eat one duck egg instead of two chicken eggs.

Don't Fear Bigger Eggs: Duck eggs contain up to 168% (or more) of your daily value of vitamin B-12, making this protein source a great choice for sustained energy, building DNA, and creating new blood cells. Plus, duck eggs are a baker's best friend, adding volume, creaminess, and richness to many baked goods.

TOP: If you're buying eggs of any kind, do some research on (or even contact) the company and see how they raise their hens, what they feed them, and how much roaming they do. Free range doesn't always mean free range, cage-free doesn't always mean cage-free. Some brands may be better than others, allowing you to save money while consuming a healthier egg option.

The final result

If you can't go organic or pastured, don't stress. Egg prices will go down. If you want to go the healthiest route, specialty stores, farmers markets, and meat markets may have healthier egg choices, even if you live in a city. Some meat markets, specialty stores, and farmers' markets buy their eggs from farmers who live outside of the city, offering cleaner egg options to city dwellers.

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