Are You Eating Too Many Eggs?

Eating Too Many Eggs
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

Most of us really love to eat eggs. But eating too many of them could actually be dangerous. Do you keep track of how many eggs you eat daily? And do you know all the benefits and dangers of eating too many eggs? Keep reading to find out.

So there was once a time when people would scream at you advising how bad eggs are for your life. I even know a couple of people who turned away on eggs after years of calling them their favorite food. It’s fun and sad at the same time because all this was based on some rushed up research. And it resulted in millions of people around the world reducing* the number of eggs they eat.

You see back in the 70s, scientists discovered that the level of cholesterol in animal products can raise the blood cholesterol level. They then linked this to things like heart disease. But their research was kind of flawed. It looked at animal products in general and later came up with the conclusion that cholesterol in animals raises blood cholesterol. Eggs being one of the foods with high levels of cholesterol were not spared and so were added to the blacklist. It was until later when researchers discovered it was actually Tran’s fats and saturated fats that caused heart disease not the cholesterol. And in eggs, these fats are in low quantities compared to other meat and poultry products.

Unfortunately for eggs, the damage had already been done. And to others, eggs are as bad as fatty piece of bacon.

Many Eggs

Now if you didn’t know, the body itself makes cholesterol each and every day. It is a requirement for a normal life. But that does not mean we should actively consume it. No! The body can manage to make all it needs. On a daily basis, our bodies need about 1000 mg of cholesterol.

The recommended amount we can eat in a diet daily should not exceed 300 mg for health people. And for people with diabetes or heart disease, it should not be more than 200 mg. A medium sized egg has about 186 mg of cholesterol. And 184 mg of that is found in the yolk. Now I guess you see why earlier studies insisted we avoid the yolk.

There is what is called (LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein) also known as the bad cholesterol. When passing in our arteries, it drops fat particles in the arteries. And high amounts of these particles can bloke our arteries and lead to heart disease.

There is what is also what is known as the good cholesterol (HDL – High Density Lipoprotein) which when in high amounts, helps in cleaning fat particles in the arteries, the ones that are dropped by LDL (the bad cholesterol). This helps in reducing* the risk of heart disease.

Now you may wonder* why I am telling you all this. The reason is that eggs help in increasing* the level of the good cholesterol in our bodies. In one study conducted for 6 weeks, people were put on a diet with an increased number of egg intakes daily. In the end, it was observed that the level of the good cholesterol had risen. Interestingly, the level of the bad cholesterol remained the same. The researcher’s conclusion was that moderate egg intake should therefore not be restricted in health individuals.

Healthy Food

A medium sized egg contains only 1.4 g of saturated fats and no Tran’s fats. Research has showed this is not enough to register any health risks in a healthy human, unless of course you eat too many eggs.

Throughout the article, I have been saying eggs are harmless to health individuals, but how about that not in good health? Well, other research has proved that there is actually a health risk for people with diseases like diabetes, heart disease and high LDL. In one study for example on people with diabetes, there was an increased risk of heart disease. The researchers recommended that people with these conditions should limit their egg consumption to no more than 3 per week.

Getting a little scared and starting to think of giving up on eggs, not so fast, enough of the negative side.

We already know eggs help raise the good cholesterol level in our blood “but what other benefits can we get from eggs” you ask. Let’s go on and look at that.

But first, I have to say something I have believed for many years, “you cannot have a valid list of the 5 most nutritious foods that doesn’t include eggs.”

See Also: List of Low Calorie Foods

Subjective or what you may wish to call it, but I believe there are many others who share that opinion with me.

Eggs have most of the essential nutrients we would ever need. The table below summarizes some of these them:

Nutrients Quantity
Protein 5.5 g
Omega-3 Fats 36.2 mg
Vitamin A 214 IU
Vitamin D 15.4 IU
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg
Vitamin B12 0.6 mg
Calcium 23.3 mg
Iron 0.8 mg

There are many other nutrients I didn’t include in the table. I didn’t want it to be too clattered with other nutrients in low quantities. But as you can see, that composition in itself is quite remarkable.

Eggs come with lots of proteins. These help in the building and maintaining of our body organs. Without them, I can’t imagine what we would really look like because everything you see around you is protein, the skin, hair regrowth, all organs etc. as a matter of fact, after water, protein is the one other molecule found in abundance in our bodies.

But protein does not end there; it also helps in the production of different hormones like insulin and secretin. Insulin has a lot of functions like regulating the level of sugar in the blood and more. In addition, proteins help in the formation of antibodies. These are what protect* us from all kinds of viruses, bacteria and more.

There are other functions like helping in the formation of enzymes, providing energy when it’s needed and transportation of other molecules like oxygen. As you can see in the table above, a medium sized egg has 5.5 g of protein.

But Hey, that’s not All

In the same medium sized egg, you will get 36.2 mg of Omega-3 fats. It’s a rear fat not found in most foods. It’s one of the healthy fats our body desperately needs. Unfortunately, it can’t produce* this so we have to eat it. It helps in preventing blood clots, building cell membranes in the brain and protection against heart attack and stroke.

People with low omega-3 fats have problems with memory, depression and are at a risk of suffering from heart disease.

But Omega-3 fats are not the only polyunsaturated fat contained in eggs. There are also Omega-6 fats. It’s important too to have just enough of this Omega-6 fat. It helps in lowering LDL (the bad cholesterol) and protect* against heart disease as well.

But Eggs don’t Stop* There

They also contain Choline. You probably have never heard of this one. It has been newly added to the list of vitamin any human should have. It’s similar to vitamin B and so it’s sometimes classified as such. It helps in a lot of things like brain development, liver disease and muscle control*. In addition, it can help with depression, memory loss, dementias and other seizures.

A large egg contains about 100 grams of this rear nutrient. Statistics show that over 90% of the population in the USA gets less* than its recommended amount.

Nutrient Statistics

Hey, we are still going, because eggs also have lutein. This is one the antioxidants we get from food. These protect* us from the free radicals which can have damaging effects if left to do as they wish.

In addition, lutein along with zeaxanthion, also found in eggs, can help keep eye problems at bay. This can help in aged people who experience diminishing* sight problems with age. Studies have proved that taking these in right amounts can help in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration. So, try eating eggs for better* sight starting today.

An egg also has 23.3 mg of calcium. This is important for health and strong bones. Without it, we can develop all kind of bone abnormities like rickets etc. Scientists recommend that we take enough calcium and the daily amount is about 1160 mg.

But it does not matter how much calcium you take in if there is no vitamin D. Calcium is useless without this vitamin. Vitamin D is what helps the calcium get absorbed from the gut. Not getting enough of it is then clearly dangerous. But this vitamin also has other functions like helping in the immune system, cell growth and reducing* inflammation. An egg has about 15.4 IU of vitamin D but it is advised that we take in about 600 IU per day. So you would have to eat a lot of eggs a day to get that, but of course you are not going to do that. You want your food nutrient sources to be varied. That makes eating fun.

So there you have it. But we still have questions to answer. Am I eating too many eggs? Is it okay to eat eggs daily? How many eggs should I eat? Read on to find out.

The two are so simple questions, but I am afraid the answers are not that simple. Because it all comes down to whom you are and what is your condition. We have seen in this article that eggs can actually be very healthy, but we also saw that they can be harmful to people with other conditions.

So here is the answer. People with diseases like diabetes, heart disease or high LDL levels, should not eat more than 3 eggs per week. To be precise, no more than 3 egg yolks a week. The egg yolk is where most of the cholesterol and other fats are. So it’s important to avoid this. I already said it earlier this might raise the chances of diseases like heart disease and more.

The recommended amount of cholesterol for people suffering from these diseases remember is no more than 200 mg per day. A large egg has about 186 mg, which is just 16 mg less* from the maximum amount. Instead, you can try eating egg whites and avoiding the egg yolks. This will help reduce* the side effects of eating too many eggs.

Watch – Egg White Vs. Whole Egg: Egg Yolk As Bad As Smoking?

Now when it comes to healthy people, the story is different. Eating eggs does not in any way greatly affect the level of cholesterol or fats in your bodies. But that does not mean you can eat as many as you want, because even as it appears to be small, eating too many eggs could prove dangerous in the long term. You need to be on the safe side with this.

Now you might be asking, “But how much is too much?” Indeed, “too much” means a lot of things to a lot of people. But from research, healthy people should not eat more than one egg daily. That is the maximum amount. Remember, as for cholesterol, the daily limit should not exceed 300 mg. Now if you take two eggs a day for example, that will add up to 372 mg daily.

As you can see, that can be a dangerous situation. So don’t eat anything more than 7 eggs a week. 4 per week is actually the optimal amount in healthy people.

Conclusion

Eggs are very nutritious foods we could ever find on this planet. They even have some of the rarest nutrients our bodies need. So we should all try and eat them whenever we get a chance. There are so many health benefits to gain like we saw in this article. Everyone at any age can take advantage of this great food. But make sure you follow the recommendations and not just getting carried away. It’s very healthy yes, but if abused, eggs can as well be harmful. No one has a license to eat as many eggs as they want.

References

  • http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Understanding_Cholesterol.htm
  • http://www.today.com/health/it-ok-eat-eggs-every-day-1D80333508
  • http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/eggs/
  • http://www.livescience.com/39353-eggs-dont-deserve-bad-reputation.html
  • http://www.heartandstroke.on.ca/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=pvI3IeNWJwE&b=5063573&ct=7512525
  • http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/
  • http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/knowhowmuchtoeat/01.html
  • http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/111/2
  • http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  • http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3/
  • http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/6-primary-functions-proteins-5372.html
  • http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega3-fatty-acids
  • http://www.iovs.org/content/44/6/2461.short
  • http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/2/247.short

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Author

Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.