Posted By: CustomVite Nutrition Team Date: January 12, 2018 Comments: 0
When it comes to nutrition facts, one large egg contains about 6g of protein, 72 calories, 270 IU of vitamin A, and 41 IU of vitamin D. Research shows that for the average person, an egg a day likely does not increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases, but there still seems to be a lot of confusion around whether or not eggs are a healthy food item. On one hand, eggs contain healthy nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin (important for eye health), and vitamins A and D. On the other hand, eggs (especially the yolks) contain high levels of cholesterol therefore causing many people to avoid eggs altogether. So what should you do? The truth of the matter is that for most people, dietary cholesterol only has a modest impact on cholesterol levels in your blood because most of the cholesterol in your body is actually made by the liver, not from the foods you eat. However, for other people, blood cholesterol levels respond very strongly to dietary cholesterol and since more research needs to be performed to determine who is a “responder” or “non-responder” to dietary cholesterol, US guidelines typically recommend limiting dietary cholesterol as much as possible.
Even though it’s very likely safe for the average healthy person to have an egg a day, it doesn’t mean that you have to, or should eat one everyday. Skipping the yolk every so often and just having the whites is a good idea, especially if you are trying to increase protein intake, lose weight, or lower your dietary cholesterol intake. Another factor to consider is what often accompanies eggs – bacon, butter, sausage, muffins, hash browns, fries, and pastries. It’s often these accompaniments (processed foods that contain trans fat) that may raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke much more than the egg itself. For individuals who are at risk for heart disease, or who currently have diabetes, doctors recommend no more than three eggs per week.. That’s the beauty of nutritional supplements– if your doctor recommends you limit your egg consumption, you can still get the necessary nutrients found in eggs like, lutein, zeaxanthin, and other vitamins through plant based food sources, or supplementation.
Even though eggs get the green light according to the US government’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, always remember that moderation is key. Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that previous US dietary recommendations for cholesterol were set to 300mg/day for a healthy individual. Interestingly, one large hard-boiled egg contains approximately 200mg of cholesterol alone! Although the Key Recommendation in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines no longer states a specific limit of cholesterol per day, it doesn’t mean that dietary cholesterol no longer plays a role in a healthy diet. In fact, the Institute of Medicine recommends eating as little dietary cholesterol as possible. With that in mind, if you do decide to eat eggs, you may want to limit them to no more than one/day. Additionally, watch how you prepare them and try to limit processed foods, saturated and trans fats in general .
(1) Cholesterol. Retrieved January 10, 2018 from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/cholesterol/#ref22
(2) Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-202. Retrieved January 10, 2018 from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines-answers-your-questions
(3) Drayer, L. (2017, April 14). Are eggs healthy? Retrieved December 21, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/14/health/eggs-healthy-food-drayer/index.html
(4) Gregor, Michael (2014). How the egg board designs misleading studies. Retrieved January 10, 2018 from https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-the-egg-board-designs-misleading-studies/
(5) Publishing, H. H. (n.d.). Are eggs risky for heart health? Retrieved December 21, 2017, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/are-eggs-risky-for-heart-health