Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. However, eggs have gotten a bad reputation because the yolks are high in cholesterol. In fact, a single medium sized egg contains 186 mg of cholesterol, which is 62% of the recommended daily intake. People believe that if you eat cholesterol, that it would raise cholesterol in the blood and contribute to heart disease. But it turns out that it isn’t that simple. The more you eat of cholesterol, the less your body produces instead.
How Your Body Regulates Cholesterol Levels
The liver produces large amounts of cholesterol. When we eat a lot of eggs (high in cholesterol), the liver produces less instead.
What Happens When People Eat Several Whole Eggs Per Day?
Eggs consistently raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol. For 70% of people, there is no increase in Total or LDL cholesterol. There may be a mild increase in a benign subtype of LDL in some people.
Eggs and Heart Disease
Many observational studies show that people who eat eggs don’t have an increased risk of heart disease, but some of the studies do show an increased risk in diabetics.
Eggs Have Plenty of Other Health Benefits Too
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain important brain nutrients and powerful antioxidants that can protect the eyes.
How Much is Too Much?
Unfortunately, we don’t have studies where people are fed more than 3 eggs per day. It is possible (although unlikely) that eating even more than that could have a detrimental effect on health. Eating more than 3 is uncharted territory, so to speak.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all eggs are the same. Most eggs at the supermarket are from chickens that are raised in factories and fed grain-based feeds. The healthiest eggs are omega-3 enriched eggs, or eggs from hens that are raised on pasture. These eggs are much higher in omega-3s and important fat-soluble vitamins.
Overall, eating eggs is perfectly safe, even if you’re eating up to 3 whole eggs per day. Given the incredible range of nutrients and powerful health benefits, quality eggs may just be the healthiest food on the planet.