Three Eggs a Day Keep the Doctor Away! | Chris Kresser
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Three Eggs a Day Keep the Doctor Away!

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3 eggs a day, how many eggs a day is too many
Eggs are an important staple of a healthy diet. iStock.com/YinYang

The persistent myth that cholesterol causes heart disease has scared many of us away from eating eggs on a regular basis. But there is absolutely no research that links egg consumption to heart disease.

A recent review of the scientific literature published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care clearly indicates that egg consumption has no discernible impact on blood cholesterol levels in 70% of the population. In the other 30% of the population (termed “hyperresponders”), eggs do increase both circulating LDL and HDL cholesterol.

You’ve probably been conditioned to believe that anything that raises LDL cholesterol (so-called “bad” cholesterol) should be avoided like the plague. But recent research suggests that it’s not the amount of cholesterol in an LDL particle (a.k.a. LDL cholesterol, or LDL-C) that drives heart disease risk, but instead the number of LDL particles in the bloodstream.

If anything, egg consumption is likely to protect against heart disease because it increases the proportion of large, buoyant LDL particles. Larger LDL particles can carry more cholesterol, which means fewer particles are needed overall. In other words, egg consumption may decrease LDL particle concentration, which is the most significant risk factor for heart disease.

Eggs one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. One egg provides 13 essential nutrients, all in the yolk (contrary to popular belief, the yolk is far higher in nutrients than the white).

Eggs are an excellent source of B vitamins, which are needed for vital functions in the body, and also provide good quantities of vitamin A, essential for normal growth and development.

The vitamin E in eggs protects against heart disease and some cancers; eggs also contain vitamin D, which promotes mineral absorption and good bone health.

Eggs are rich in iodine, for making thyroid hormones, and phosphorus, essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Eggs are also good sources of antioxidants known to protect the eye. Therefore, increased plasma concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin in individuals consuming eggs are also of interest, especially in those populations susceptible to developing macular degeneration and eye cataracts.

There’s absolutely no reason to limit your consumption of eggs to three to four per week, as recommended by “heart-healthy” nutritional guidelines. In fact, consuming two to three eggs per day would provide a better boost to your health and protection against disease than a multivitamin supplement. Eggs truly are one of nature’s superfoods.

It’s important, however, to make sure that you buy organic, pasture-raised eggs. Studies show that commercially-raised eggs are up to 19 times higher in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, almost all eggs sold in supermarkets – even the organic eggs sold at chains such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats – are not truly pasture-raised. To find these eggs, check your local farmer’s market or visit the Eat Wild website to locate a source in your area.

To read more about heart disease and cholesterol, check out the special report page.

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139 Comments

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  1. Isn’t it a good point to make a difference between cooked egg consumption and raw??.

    Everyone focuses on cholesterol, but why blame a firefighter for being near a fire?.
    I would focus on inflammation instead.
    Lowering cholesterol should be a consequence, not an end 🙂 .

    I’ve had a good impact on cholesterol (in my body at least) by consuming raw foods, lots of raw egg yolks, raw milk, lots of oranges and fasting at least twice a week.
    In my situation changing the way of eating eggs has made a HUGE difference, before i used to cook them in butter and avoid fruit.. As soon as i stopped doing that it turned the whole matter around for me.

    My 2 cents.
    Thanks for the great comments 🙂

  2. Thanks for your illuminating and evidence based comments to this discussion. Perhaps you will apply your statistical knowledge better in future. Three cheers to an egg free life.

    • The people that continue to defend egg consumption constantly bring up cholesterol.
      The people that avoid eggs often cite the animal protein risks and the choline. Bottom line is what happens to your gut bacteria and the studies relative to prostate cancer and egg consumption.
      You see a difference there?????
      Now concerning cholesterol….Likely that consuming cholesterol in moderation is not going to have a big impact on your blood level. However, my problem is that most cholesterol studies look at people in a range of 180 to 250. Whereas the heart safe zone is below 150 and especially a LDL of around 70.
      Comment till you are blue in the face, I am not eating meat, fish, eggs, salt or processed foods.
      Have a great day!

      • Isn’t it a good point to make a difference between cooked egg consumption and raw??.

        Everyone focuses on cholesterol, but why blame a firefighter for being near a fire?.
        I would focus on inflammation instead.
        Lowering cholesterol should be a consequence, not an end 🙂 .

        I’ve had a good impact on cholesterol (in my body at least) by consuming raw foods, lots of raw egg yolks, raw milk, lots of oranges and fasting at least twice a week.
        In my situation changing the way of eating eggs has made a HUGE difference, before i used to cook them in butter and avoid fruit.. As soon as i stopped doing that it turned the whole matter around for me.

        My 2 cents.
        Thanks for the great comments 🙂

  3. Hi Chris,

    What’s your take regarding cooking eggs? Per Dr.Mercola’s blog, he advises against cooked eggs as it oxidizes the cholesterol & renders the egg harmful to your health. Any evidence to support that cooking eggs makes them harmful?

  4. Hi Chris ,

    I read a globe and Mail article saying that eggs do not higher the chance of heart disease and stroke . They said it does increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 69% .

    My 1 year old is obsessed with scrambled eggs . I’ve been scrambling her 1 per day for the past month and if i miss a day she is not happy .

    where did you get your info from ? I really don’t want to stop giving her happy breakfast. Please tell me

  5. I have 271 mg/dl cholestetol, normal is less than 200, my LDL is 193 mg/dl, normal is less than 130, my HDL is 57, normal is greater than 35. With this lab result, is it safe for me to eat 3 pro organic eggs a day? I am 56 yo. Please enligthen me on this. Many thanks everyone?

  6. Sadly the overriding message here that will be picked up by people is go right ahead and eat eggs. Most people will be unable to afford that sub section of eggs that are not harmful nor will they be able to consistently source them so why take the risk. You can get everything you need from a whole food plant based diet with a Vit B12 supp’. Its cheap and is proven to lower risk of heart disease and other major chronic diseases.

  7. Hey Guys,

    New science says, there is scant information whether dietary cholesterol raises blood cholesterol levels…

    Some try to say, about 30% seem to have high cholesterol from foods high in cholesterol!!! Most science is now focusing on the liver output of cholesterol, meaning there is an imbalance in the body.

    To justify the 30% hypothesis, lets suggest that those 30% have a sugar problem. Sugar is known to not only mess with Cholesterol but with LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.

    A bold statement is still being avoided by the FDA regarding a reversal on their cruel elimination of healthy and nutrient dense foods because of (fill in the blanks. i.e. Pharmaceuticals, sense of failing the public, etc…)

    Wait and see. Vitamin D was seen as a myth 10 years ago when CAM doctors were pushing it, now it’s all over the medical news.

    In the meantime, I’ll stick with what makes sense, not dictates from doctors than want to rob my health instead of sustaining it. BTW, just a few years ago, the FDA started warning about too little cholesterol???

    CONFUSION = USA FDA

  8. It would be prudent to check if you are in the 30% of high responders. It is pretty simple take a cholesterol test and then for 5 days or so have plenty of eggs for breakfast. I did this along with liver twice during the week and my LDL shot from 2.8 mmol to 4.0 mmol. Now if this happens and you really want to be sure then also check your particle size but if cost is a problem then LDL count is often concordant with size so simply stay of eggs and cholesterol laden foods. Check out the blue zone areas who live longer than anybody else free of disease. Do they eat eggs ?

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