Ever since the 1980’s when eggs were deemed to be the main source of high cholesterol (and thus heart disease), people have been wondering just how many eggs they can eat in a day and still steer clear of “The Danger Zone.”
A few years after we all cut down to no more than two eggs per week, the gods of science told us, ‘go ahead, eat all of the egg whites you want, it’s the yolks that will kill you.’ Dutifully, we are now buying cartons of egg whites and letting the chickens keep their dastardly yolks.
The problem is that eggs are not only delicious, they are very versatile. They fill us up, are inexpensive, hold flour and sugar together to make delicious cookies and cakes, whip with cream to make ice cream and darn it if they don’t make a quick breakfast. All in one convenient, low calorie package. Add to all of that, eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition. Those scientists must be tired from trying to talk us all out of the one food we have a hard time giving up, eggs.
Although yolks and whites can easily be separated, they aren’t meant to be.
The white contains only protein, but no vitamins or minerals.
If you eat just the yolk, you’ll be getting vitamins, minerals and fatty acids but none of the protein.
The brilliance of the egg is the combination of the yolk and white, which together forms a complete protein. (And yes, lemon meringue pie counts as using the whole egg. Yolk custard and meringue topping. It’s almost a health food!)
The Question Remains: How Many Eggs Can I Eat?
Science tells us that we can safely eat 3 eggs per day. You’re welcome to keep count if you want, but here’s why I don’t.
Science has been wrong plenty of times before. I’m not convinced that anyone knows what’s best for my body other than my own self.
Eggs are a complete protein.
There are 20 different amino acids that are important to the body, 9 of which must be supplied by food, and certain combinations of food. A complete protein means that a food contains these 9 essential amino acids. An example of an incomplete protein is tofu because it does not contain large enough amounts of all the essential amino acids
The amino acid content in eggs mimics the levels in mothers milk-the perfect human food.
The nutrients in one egg are enough to provide everything a baby chick needs to grow and hatch healthfully. However, one egg isn’t going to cut it for a human. We need a lot more to reach those same nutritional goals!
What about cholesterol?
Although many studies have shown that there is no correlation between egg intake and incidence of heart disease and that eating two eggs per day has “very little effect on total cholesterol levels” it is always important to listen to YOUR body. Maybe you do well with one egg per day, maybe you can tolerate five. Whatever the case, moderation is always key.
If you love eggs and have high cholesterol take the time to have your blood work tested. Get a baseline, eat as many eggs as you want for a month and then go back in and get re-tested. Keep a food journal, and see if there’s anything else that could be affecting your levels of LDL and HDL. If you’re cooking all of those eggs in corn oil, switch to coconut oil and you may see your HDL (good cholesterol- I always remember that the “H” stands for “Happy) soar and your LDL fall.
How many eggs does Alison eat in a day?
I personally eat 2-3 eggs every morning for breakfast, and often have more during the day if I eat a food that is made with eggs (banana bread, crustless pumpkin custard, etc). However, if I’ve eaten eggs for breakfast I generally won’t have something like egg salad for lunch. It just feels like too much. By the way, since incorporating a high protein, high fat, and 2-5 eggs per day into my diet my HDL has gone way up while my LDL has lowered significantly.
You are what you eat
Remember, eggs are a very healthy food, but like all foods, are a product of what the animal has eaten and the standards with which it’s been raised. Free range, pastured chickens, preferably fed organic feed (so no GMO’s), are going to impart more nutritional value than caged hens that aren’t allowed to act like chickens, and are fed chemicals, antibiotics, and by-products of grains that have been grown using pesticides and are genetically modified.
The bottom line is, don’t be chicken about eating eggs, yolks included!
My main source for this article was the article, Protein: Building Blocks of the Body– by Fred Kummerow, PhD. Published in the Weston A Price, Fall 2011 Journal.
If you want a really fantastic source of peer reviewed articles on health and wellness please go to www.westonaprice.org and become a member. You’ll automatically receive their useful and eye-opening journal publications quarterly. Be sure to say that Alison Russo from Healthnutnation sent you as I receive credit towards attending next years conference (And I share all of the information I learn with all of you!).