Whether it’s looking forward to summer or sticking to your New Year’s resolution, there are always good reasons to pay attention to your diet. But with all the conflicting information out there, how do you know where to start? And few foods have had as much controversy about their health benefits as eggs. So, what’s the deal? Are eggs good or bad?
Well, it turns out the answer isn’t as simple as a quick yes, eggs are good or no, eggs are bad. The issue has a lot more to do with your overall diet and health.
The Hard-Boiled Facts
According to a study conducted in 2019 — which consisted of nearly 30,000 participants — the culprit to the egg controversy is cholesterol. On average, one large egg contains roughly 190 mg of dietary cholesterol. According to dietary guidelines in 2015, a healthy person should consume no more than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day. No more than 200 mg if you are at high risk for heart disease. People who regularly ate over 300 mg each day had a higher rate of cardiovascular issues.
However, the complexity of this issue doesn’t stop at 300 mg of dietary cholesterol. Since 2015, the science of nutrition has turned its gaze from a single part of a person’s diet to look at the interactions of the whole. And they have noticed a troubling trifecta; cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat. This means you need to think about more than how many eggs you are eating a day and start thinking about what else might be unhealthy.
If, for example, you are healthy and eating an egg every morning, that’s only 190 mg of cholesterol. However, if you are eating those eggs with bacon (high in saturated fat) and adding non-dairy creamer to your coffee (high in trans fat) you are hitting a dangerous trifecta every day. And that’s just breakfast. We aren’t even getting into what you might be having at dinner.
The unfortunate — and untrendy — reality is; there are no simple answers when it comes to eggs because there are no simple fixes when it comes to an unhealthy diet. Maintaining a healthy diet will never come down to just eliminating or adding single food items, but diligently practicing healthy eating habits.
The Sunny Side
On the bright side, it doesn’t mean that you have to cut out eggs entirely. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline published by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USDA):
“The USDA Food Patterns are limited in saturated fats, and because of the commonality of food sources of saturated fats and dietary cholesterol, the Patterns are also low in dietary cholesterol. For example, the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern contains approximately 100 to 300 mg of cholesterol across the 12 calorie levels.”
Are Eggs Good or Bad?
So, what does that mean for your breakfast? Well, it depends on the rest of your diet. The occasional egg with your breakfast is probably alright if you are practicing healthy eating habits already and are at low risk for heart disease. However, eating eggs every morning with a combination of other foods high in “bad fats” might have to be something that belongs in the bin.
If you do decide to change up your breakfast routine and reduce the number of eggs you eat every week you might want to include some healthy snacks into your diet to help you adjust.
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