Eggs have been the source of significant confusion thanks to their cholesterol content. On the contrary, they are concentrated sources of vital nutrients. So are eggs good or bad for you?
Let's take a look at the science of the golden yolk:
Eggs are good sources of Vitamin D, choline and riboflavin. Zinc, Vitamin B12, iron and folate are also present in smaller amounts.
A couple of medium eggs, deliver 12g of protein. A recent study found that eating protein at breakfast reduces weight gain, thanks to its regulatory effect on appetite (1).
If you are watching your weight or just want to be a bit healthier, eggs make a smart breakfast choice from a nutritional perspective.
Far from being a bad thing, cholesterol is essential for many bodily processes.
Yes, cholesterol is present in the yolk of eggs, but the link between dietary cholesterol and blood levels of cholesterol is very weak. In fact, 75% of the cholesterol we have in our body is made by the liver, not ingested.
Research studies show that the consumption of 2-4 eggs per day does not raise blood cholesterol levels in the majority of people (2) but if you have cardiovascular disease it may do (2).
This is where the science gets a little bit confusing.
Studies indicate that high egg consumption increases the risk of developing type two diabetes (3). Sadly, science is never clear cut so this is at best an association, not a direct cause.
In addition, if you already have type 2 diabetes, eating eggs may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (4) but then again, type 2 diabetes alone increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Should you eat eggs?
If you don't suffer from cardiovascular disease or diabetes then eating eggs is a good move. They contain some vital nutrients, including Vitamin D, a vitamin that we are particularly low on in the UK.
Eggs are quick to prepare and contain protein, which when eaten at breakfast has been shown to reduce weight gain. If you are used to eating cereal for breakfast, eating eggs a few times a week may benefit your health and waistline.
As with any food, it is important not to overdo it. A couple of eggs three times a week is ideal.
Organic is best. Luckily, in comparison to other organic animal sources of protein, eggs are the cheapest.
In a nutshell: eat organic eggs for breakfast 2-3 times a week. It'll do you some good.
1. Liedy HJ, Hertel HA, Douglas SM, Higgins KA, Shafer RS (2015) A high-protein breakfast prevents body fat gain, through reductions in daily intake and hunger, in "Breakfast skipping" adolescents. Obesity, 23: 1761-1764.
2. Djoussé L, Gaziano JM (2009) Dietary cholesterol and coronary artery disease: a systematic review. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 11: 418-422.
3. Djousse L, Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Lee IM (2009) Egg Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Men and Women. Diabetes Care, 32: 295-300.
4. Shin JY, Xun P, Nakamura Y, He K (2013) Egg consumption in relation to risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 98: 146-159.