Is there such a thing as eating too many eggs? We know eggs are loaded with cholesterol; right? So how many eggs per day is healthy?
Heart diseases and diabetes come in to the picture when cholesterol is mentioned. So what’s the magic number when it comes to eggs?
Let’s get to the nutritional basics of an egg
Another misconception is that cholesterol is the enemy.
Basics of cholesterol or how important is Cholesterol?
- Cholesterol is in every single cell in your body
- Cholesterol is fundamental to brain and other neurological functions. Example- it helps in the formation memories.
- Cholesterol is also part of every one of your cell membranes
- It is virtually a component every single hormone
- It also serves as the basis of vitamin D
Remember there is good cholesterol or HDL (high density lipoprotein), bad cholesterol or LDL (low density lipoprotein) and triglycerides.
The American Heart Association recommends that your total cholesterol levels should be below 180 mg/dL
Older studies on this eggs topic, showed that people with high cholesterol were two times as likely to have heart diseases and or diabetes. Based on these studies it was figured out that eating up to 6 eggs per week or about one egg per day is okay.
However, newer studies, have shown the following
- For the majority of the population, when you eat cholesterol your liver just produces less of it to compensate.
- When your bad cholesterol (LDL) goes up the good cholesterol (HDL) goes up as well. So the ratio doesn’t change much which is an important factor for the health problem that we highlighted above.
So how many eggs should you really eat?
There are two scenarios that can answer this question;
First scenario is if you are a person with a high risk for these diseases, then you should stick to the general conservative guideline and go with a maximum of six eggs per week. To know if you are a high-risk, it is advisable to talk to your doctor.
Other ways of know if you are a high-risk
- If you are one of the 10% of the population with naturally high cholesterol because your liver just makes too much of it (again a doctor’s opinion is needed here).
- You have a family history of diabetes and heart disease
- you are overweight and or inactive
- you smoke and have high blood pressure
- Or you have bad eating habits such as eating a lot of saturated fats like butter, fatty meat and cheese.
Second scenario; most recent studies have found no conclusive evidence that eggs increase your risk of heart problems or diabetes. The most important part here is not the number of eggs but the amount of bad fats one is eating. So keep that butter, fatty meat and cheese under control. The conclusion is that the high-egg diet is fine as long as the rest of your diet and lifestyle are healthy. If you are an active person with no predisposition for heart disease or diabetes, with a balanced meal plan, plenty of veggies and goods fats; you should be fine to eat more than one egg in a day.
Dr Joseph Mercola a Natural health physician and Mercola.com founder, says he believe that eggs are one of the healthiest foods in the world and as long as you’re not allergic to them, it is ok to have them regularly in your diet.
He warns us
- Stay away from Omega-3 eggs (from chickens fed a diet containing flax-seed)
- Get your eggs from chicken that are free ranging i.e. pastured hens (chickens are been allowed to forge for natural food).
- Examine the quality of an egg- Make sure the yolk is deep yellow or orange.
How to prepare eggs
The yolk should be consumed raw or with very little heating done to it. When heated at high temperatures, the cholesterol can be easily oxidised.
Suggestion from Dr Mercola on how to be proactive on preventing heart disease.
- Stay away from sugar
- Make sure your vitamin D levels optimize ideally by exposing enough of your skin to sunshine at the right times of day and season.
- Have a regular source of beneficial bacteria. Make sure you’re getting fermented foods in your diet
- Exercise regularly
- It is important to avoid toxins like trans fats
- Getting a high quality of animal-based omega-3 fat is useful
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Optimizing your body fat percentages
So to stay on the safe side, you can have a few whole eggs per day. If you want more, toss the yolk and eat unlimited egg whites.