The good-for-you, bad-for-you debate regarding eggs is over, but convincing people that eggs are healthful remains a sensitive subject. This handout is meant to set the record straight and provide answers to common questions about the role eggs can play in your diet.
Are eggs bad for my health?
People were concerned to find out that eggs are high in cholesterol. One large egg contains approximately 185 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol, with most of that cholesterol found in the yolk and very little found in the white of the egg. Previous recommendations placed an upper limit of 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day, but the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services has eliminated that recommendation.
People used to believe that cholesterol from food went straight into the blood and raised blood levels of cholesterol. We now know cholesterol in the blood is raised mainly by eating fat in the diet (especially saturated and trans fats). One large egg contains 5 grams (g) of fat, of which only 1.5 g is saturated, and none is trans fat. Eating foods that are low in saturated and trans fat, such as eggs, does not raise blood cholesterol the same way as foods high in saturated and trans fats does. A review of studies on the relationship between egg consumption and heart health shows no increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from eating eggs in those who are at low risk.
How many eggs can I eat per week?
Recommendations on how many eggs to eat per week vary. It seems the most conservative recommendation is one egg, two egg whites, or one serving of egg substitutes three times per week. Some researchers and experts believe one egg per day is safe. As with most foods, “everything in moderation” applies.
Are raw eggs safe to eat?
Because of the risk of salmonella, it is not recommended that people eat raw eggs, unless they are known to be pasteurized. This recommendation includes foods prepared with raw eggs, such as Caesar salad, cookie dough, and homemade eggnog. Commercial salad dressings and eggnog contain pasteurized eggs, and are therefore considered safe to consume for people who are not immunocompromised.
Why should I eat eggs?
Eggs are amazingly healthful. They are a good source of protein, vitamin B12, vitamin E, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, and essential fatty acids. A large egg contains only 70 calories and provides 6 g of protein. Also, eggs are quick to prepare, and an inexpensive meal option, at about 25 cents individually.
For a more detailed list healthful nutrients in eggs, visit:
How do I keep my eggs safe?
Where can I learn more about handling eggs safely?
Many questions are answered at http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-facts/egg-safety/safe-food-handling-tips#14.
References and recommended readings
Incredible Egg. American Egg Board website. http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-nutrition/. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Kantner M. The new 2015 dietary guidelines and eggs. Egg Nutrition Center website. http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/blog/the-new-2015-dietary-guidelines-and-eggs/. Published January 7, 2016. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Lopez-Jimenez F. Are chicken eggs good or bad for my cholesterol? Mayo Clinic website. http://www.mayoclinic.org/cholesterol/expert-answers/faq-20058468. Published December 5, 2014. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Safe food handling tips. American Egg Board website. http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-facts/egg-safety/safe-food-handling-tips#14. Accessed February 11, 2016.
Updated by Nutrition411.com staff
Review Date: 2/5/16