Eggs are one of the natural foods that have been demonized by mainstream nutrition in the past few decades, mainly because they have a high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol.
It’s true. A large portion of the calories in eggs are from saturated fat, and they contain a high amount of cholesterol. A large egg contains 2g (23% of calories) of saturated fat, and 212mg of cholesterol (1).
But, as I will explain below, saturated fat is just fine and the cholesterol content in eggs doesn’t matter.
Are eggs bad for you?
Alright, let’s examine the two reasons eggs have been considered unhealthy in the past.
Eggs are high in cholesterol
It’s true that eggs have a high amount of cholesterol, but the fact is that dietary cholesterol doesn’t have much of an impact on cholesterol levels in the blood.
Eggs are high in saturated fat
A very common misconception regarding health and nutrition is that saturated fat causes heart disease. This is something that has never been proven, and the research actually shows that saturated fat isn’t associated with heart disease in any way (5, 6).
It seems clear that there is no association between egg consumption and heart disease, and the fact that they are high in cholesterol and saturated fat simply does not matter.
The fact is that cholesterol is a substance absolutely vital to human life, and it is contained in vast amounts in every cell in our bodies. Saturated fat is a healthy fuel that has been unfairly demonized by “experts” for no valid reason.
Are eggs good for you?
One of the things I noticed back in my calorie counting days, was how incredibly nutritious eggs were despite being low in calories.
I used to have 3-4 whole eggs per day (and I still do) and they were always by far my biggest source of vitamins and minerals for the day. This is because the egg is a powerhouse of nutrients, and contains the building blocks necessary to turn a single fertilized chicken cell into a multicellular baby chicken.
High quality protein
The egg white contains a large amount of animal protein with extremely high bio availability. That is, the amino acids in them come in ratios that are easily used by humans.
Vitamins and Minerals
If you take a look at the nutrient profile for eggs, you will see that they are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamins B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), B12 and Folic Acid. They are also abundant in the minerals Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium.
Additionally, eggs are rich in a nutrient called Choline, which is not yet considered an essential nutrient but has many health benefits.
Eggs are also very rich in the carotenoid antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which have a protective effect on the eyes, among other things.
Glucose, Insulin and Satiety
Eggs contain almost no carbohydrates, so their effect on blood glucose levels, and their subsequent effect on insulin, are very small.
They are also high on the Satiety Score, an indicator of how much particular foods lead to fullness and appetite. For these reasons, eggs may be considered a great food for weight loss.
When you consider the fact that egg consumption has no effect on cardiovascular disease whatsoever, what remains is the fact that eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
They are low in calories, low in carbs, have a profound effect on satiety and could therefore be considered the perfect weight loss food.
They are cheap, easy to acquire, very easy to cook, and to top it off they taste fantastic and can be used in all sorts of recipes and dishes.
Personally I eat Omega-3 enriched eggs, which do have a better nutrient profile than conventional supermarket eggs. If you can get those, then that will probably be optimal.
I eat about 3-4 of those every single day, with coconut oil and a bit of vegetables, and this is usually the healthiest meal I have for the day, and keeps me comfortably full for the next 3-4 hours.
If I could only pick 3 foods to eat for the rest of my life, eggs would be one of them.