Remember “The Incredible, Edible, Egg”?

Let me be perfectly clear: eggs are one of the most perfect foods on the planet.

And– wait for it– that includes the yolk.

Yup, the yolk, that poor misunderstood but essential component of the egg that too often gets thrown out in a misguided attempt to avoid cholesterol and fat. So let’s clear a few things up about eggs, cholesterol, fat and health.

Number one: the cholesterol in eggs has virtually no effect on the cholesterol in your blood.

Number two: the fat in the egg yolk is mostly monounsaturated fat, the same kind found in olive oil! Yes, you heard that right. Of the 5.30 grams of total fat in one large egg, only 1.6 grams is saturated (2.0 is monounsaturated).

Number three: Many of the nutrients that make eggs so incredibly healthy are found in the yolk. Examples: lutein and zeaxanthin, two members of the carotenoid family that are essential for eye health. The yolk also contains choline– important for brain health– and vitamin D.

The idea that eating eggs is bad for your heart is a myth. No study has linked egg eating to greater risk of heart disease. In fact, quite the opposite. According to Harvard Health (a publication of Harvard Medical School), “The only large study to look at the impact of egg consumption on heart disease……. found no connection between the two”.

Research has also shown that eggs eaten at the start of the day can reduce your daily calorie intake, prevent snacking between meals and keep you satisfied.

Worth noting: Stay away from scrambled eggs at open buffets. While the cholesterol in eggs poses no real harm to you, when that cholesterol is “scrambled” and then exposed to air and oxygen for a long time (like on an open buffet) it becomes damaged. That’s not something you really want in your body. Better to poach, soft or hard boil. If you do scramble eggs, eat them quickly and don’t let them sit around a long time!

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21 Comments

  1. cheryl

    How about whipping them up in some milk, add a bit of almond extract and cinnamon for flavoring, and drink it down? It tastes really good, no sugar. I get my eggs from the lady up the road who raises her own chickens and they are such nice eggs I can’t bear to cook them. I feel like they deserve to be eaten pure.

    Thanks for your great tips on nutrition.

    I have a question for you. My daughter recently completed 1,100 hours of training to be a licensed massage therapist in NYS. Is there some training she can get in nutrition to add to her MT degree, a certificate of some sort she could get in nutrition from some kind of course? Who wants to go to a state school to learn nutrition when the state is one telling us all the bad advice about nutrition in the first place.

    Reply
    • Dr. Jonny

      Hi

      You could try University of Bridgeport Masters program- it’s rigorous but brilliant, and definitely not the standard party line. It’s also available as distance education. For more unconventional distance education try Clayton College for Natural Health (might be the perfect place for her) or Institute for Integrative Nutrition

      warmly
      jb

      Reply
  2. Cecil E. Law (Prof Emeritus)

    Why haven’t I found you long ago!? It’s so hard to find good, accurate info, especially from MDs! I love em all, but it’s so very hard to get past the myths. Keep it up!

    Reply
  3. john wells

    Dr. Jonny-
    I read a statement attributed to Charles Poliquin that if you run hot tap water over the egg(in the shell) for 1 minute, you eliminate the avidin problem and also improve the absorption,similar to soft cooking.Would that improve the bioavailability of the “raw” egg?

    Reply
    • Dr. Jonny

      i’m afraid you’ve got me on that one!

      warmly
      jb

      Reply
  4. Matt

    Also, those scrambled eggs on the buffet line might very well be reconstituted powdered eggs … more oxidation!

    Reply
  5. Michelle Malmberg

    Eggs on the buffet… good advice, IF they are indeed eggs…
    could be egg beater things, whisked eggs-in-a-box (preserved, of course), or anything powdered. My rule of thumb is to order the whole egg or watch the chef crack the eggs to make my omlette.
    Thank you for the schooling recommendations; been trying to find something to upgrade on my ‘nutrition school’ course. Very disappointed. Any recommendations on certification/registration bodies/designations?

    Reply
    • Israel Mayer

      Cornell has an awesome course on plant based nutrition. Go to ecornell.com.

      Reply
  6. Josh

    I was wondering about the difference between grass-fed eggs and vegetarian grain eggs? There are new eggs at my local Whole Foods that are organic and grass-fed, so I was excited to try them.

    Reply
  7. Israel Mayer

    I am sounding like a detractor of yours today, I am sorry, I love the debate on your website!!

    That is a misrepresentation of the study. For one, studies showing a direct relationship between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol are probably flawed, that is what the study showed BUT as a good scientific review of the study (See Int J Clin Pract Suppl. 2009 Oct;(163):1-8, 28-36.) actually says “The degree to which serum cholesterol is increased by dietary cholesterol depends upon whether the individual’s cholesterol synthesis is stimulated or down-regulated by such increased intake, and the extent to which each of these phenomena occurs varies from person to person.” As far as I know there is no test for this, so for some people increased dietary cholesterol does raise serum cholesterol.

    There is absolutely no need for DIETARY cholesterol (wish I could bold and not capitalize, makes me like like a smart -ss, sorry). Our livers do just a fine job at synthesizing it for us from the food we eat.

    There is also some fairly convincing data that shows that there are some links between eggs and diabetes. See Diabetes Care. 2009 Feb;32(2):295-300. Epub 2008 Nov 18 as well as others.

    Interestingly in the review of the study they mention the following after stating its use may be consistent with a healthy diet says “except in male patients with diabetes for whom an association in higher egg intake and CHD was shown.”

    This confirms other studies of the association. Now, correlation does not imply causation but the the studies with diabetes warrant caution that is all I am saying.

    Choline is found in potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, oats, sesame seeds and flax seeds. Lutein and zeaxanthin are both found in dark leafy greens and the only reason they are found in the egg is likely because they are in the feed for the chickens though that is speculation. This is not a reason to eat eggs when the data is so conflicted. So far as I know there is no data showing lentils and leafy greens have any association except with health:) This should cause one to pause and think about nutrition in general. Again when one looks at the ratio of nutrients to calories, dark leafy greens are going to beat eggs with one hand tied behind their back. I for one, as I was taught in medical school to, look for funding sources and see if the egg industry had a part to play. I don’t know.

    I am not suggesting people never ever eat eggs but the data is not as clear as the Harvard Letter says when you actually look at the studies. The problem is also often also how people cook the eggs as you mention. Frying with addition of salt and oil, then ketchup with sugar, and tabasco with more salt often compounds matters.

    Regards,

    Izzy

    Reply
  8. John

    Cave-man hungry… cave-man go hunt. Cave-man kill boar… cave-man eat boar… cave-man not hungry.

    Cave-man hungry again… cave-man go hunting… cave-man find eggs from bird. No bird though. Cave-man eat eggs from bird. Cave-man not hungry.

    Cave-man hungry again… cave-man go hunting… cave-man find no boar, cave-man find no bird, cave-man find no eggs. Cave-man real hungry. Cave-man eat nuts, berries, plants… cave-man not hungry.

    Pretty simple as that folks.

    I was recently diagnosed with high cholesterol. Of course it was the eggs I was eating for breakfast with those nasty yolks. Was given a statin by the doc..going to a new doc now. Told me eat egg whites…ugh. Yes my high cholesterol was from the egg yolks, NOT the peanut butter cups, or ice cream loaded with peanut butter cups, or the sub sandwiches on football Sundays with the side bag of barbecued potato chips. IT was the eggs that caused my high cholesterol.

    Well I cut all that out…eating simpler now…dropped 25 lbs over a few weeks. Going to see a new doc..get cholesterol checked.

    Thank you Dr. Jonny… I will be going back to eating the WHOLE egg..as nature intended. Low-carb, simple natural whole foods is where it’s at!

    Reply
  9. jade

    Short of budget. I eat 6 medium industrial farm eggs/day; 3 in the morning, 3 at night. this is the only source of my protein in taken beside a handful of nuts with the meal. do you think my protein intake enough? how about cholesterol, can be too much?

    Thanks for your time!

    warmly,

    Reply
  10. Jon

    I’d like to know more about the eggs being left out for a period of time. What exactly is happening? I’m always strapped for time in the morning with my kid (plus I’m a sleep maximalist…check the spelling on that one, you get my point)….but I make my omelette/skillet at night and leave it in the fridge to eat in the morning. Is this creating damaged cholesterol and what does damaged cholesterol do to me?

    Reply
    • Dr. Jonny

      hi

      i don’t think anyone has actually tested or studied the degree of damage or change that happens when exposed to air for a long time, but basically cholesterol in your body isn’t a problem unless it becomes damaged (ie oxidized). A certain amount of oxidation can be presumed to take place if eggs are exposed to air for a long time, but as a practical matter i don’t know if this is something i’d worry about a lot if you’re doing everything else right. My point was only that given a choice, avoid buffets where they’ve been sitting out in the air and light for hours..

      warmly
      jb

      Reply
  11. Guillaume Leahy

    Hi Jonny,
    What do you think about this article recently published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology :

    http://www.pulsus.com/journals/abstract.jsp?sCurrPg=abstract&jnlKy=1&atlKy=9788&isuKy=946&isArt=t&fromfold=Current%20Issue

    The article begins with this quote : “A widespread misconception has been developing among the Canadian public and among physicians. It is increasingly believed that consumption of dietary cholesterol and egg yolks is harmless.”

    Thanks

    Reply
  12. Alan

    Cave-man hungry again…cave-man go hunt. Cave-man kill boar… cave-man walk right over nuts, berries, plants…
    cave-man eat boar…cave-man happy…

    Haha, spot on, love it…

    Reply
  13. Susie Falco

    Hi Jonny!

    I am a graduate of IIN….a rogue like you, and use your books as my resources a LOT. Even helped my brother, who is an oncologist, write a paper on nutrition and cancer, and used a lot of your information! I LOVE copying your “EGG” info for my clients who are afraid of eggs. Once they see your credentials and face, they believe me. 🙂 Thanks for being you.

    Susie Falco

    Reply
  14. Jeffrey

    Hi Jonny,

    Is it problematic to eat eggs raw when tossed into a smoothie? Thank you for the wealth of amazing information.

    Reply
    • Dr. Jonny Bowden

      I do it all the time. Just make sure you’re buying high quality (preferably organic or barnyard) eggs. Your risk of salmonella is very small.

      Reply

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