Are Eggs Evil?

March 17, 2015   30 Comments

This is a good time of year to talk about chicken eggs. I receive a bunch of questions about them so I thought I would try to answer them.

Eggs and Cholesterol

From Erica:

I am an active 40-year-old woman who has normal cholesterol and recently started on the egg bandwagon of boiled eggs for a mid-morning snack.

It's hard for me to break away from the past notions that eggs are linked to high cholesterol. Can a person who is reasonably fit and has normal cholesterol eat a hard-boiled egg daily?

I feel like I'm doing the nutritional equivalent of eating a pound of butter at breakfast by eating an egg a day.

Wow! A pound of butter! Erica is feeling really guilty. Hang in there, Erica.

I must say that I am completely annoyed with how long it takes for dietary guidelines to change after scientific research has shown that eggs aren’t evil.

Eggs were considered evil because they contain a high level of cholesterol.

High levels of bad cholesterol found in your blood increase your risk for a heart attack. This led to the thinking that you need to eat less cholesterol to decrease the levels in your system. Eggs have a lot of cholesterol so it made sense to avoid them.

BUT! And this is a very big BUT. It turns out that if you eat a lot of cholesterol it doesn’t end up in your blood. The cholesterol that you eat gets broken down in the stomach and tossed out or used to make bile acids to help you digest food.

A friend of mine with a high bad cholesterol number recently cut out red meat and eggs. After six months of restrictions, his bad cholesterol number didn’t shift down. He credits his high cholesterol number to the genetics of his family.

Where do you get all that BAD cholesterol if it isn’t from your diet? You get it from your body. Every cell in your body makes cholesterol (those rascals).

Are there foods that increase your cholesterol levels? Yes! Trans fats and saturated fats (meat, daily) raise your total cholesterol.

Here is a great article about foods and strategies that can lower your overall cholesterol level: 11 Tips to Lower Your Cholesterol. It mentions that eggs are not implicated in the crime.

The sad thing about fear of eggs is that people might reach for less healthy foods at breakfast (like crappy cereals) because they don’t know it is okay to eat them.

Eggs are inexpensive, fast to cook, low in calories, and nutritious. You can’t go wrong eating them!!

Here are some “eggcellent” recipes for your perusal:

Do you eat eggs? How do you serve them?

Other posts you might like:


Cheap Eggs - Should You Buy Them?

Does anyone else get concerned when they see a tag like the one above? Ninety-seven cents for eggs?!!


Lighten The Devil In These Eggs

Yes, this photo does look like "deviled" eggs, but Snack Girl has a fix to make them much less evil....

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Eggs are so good for you! Yolks too, they are great brain food. I love them on a sandwich, I have a creation that uses salsa and some cheese and veggies I adore:…

And there are so many different ways to cook them- alone or in dishes- you can incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle and never get bored with them!

The law was passed in 2008 requiring that the birds must have enough space to spread their wings by 2015. So, your farmer had seven years to comply with the law that is encouraging the egg industry to raise the chickens cage-free.

This law will lead to healthier eggs with less samonella and less torture for the birds. It seems that your farmer wanted to keep his chickens in tiny cages with more chance of passing on disease. Too bad for him, but good for the chickens and good for the consumers.

I'm happy to pay more for eggs that come from places that are willing to adhere to the new law and make it healthier for us all. Even with the price increase, eggs are a steal for a perfect food.

Sugar is what raises your blood cholesterol levels. Cut down on sugars, reduce the amounts of wheat, and bad cholesterol levels will drop. I have several relatives and friends who are living proof. Wheat has been changed over the decades in an effort to improve its yields, and it affects your sugar levels more than it did in Grandma's day.

Just want to put a plug in for buying eggs that are certified humane (even more important than buying organic, IMO), as someone who used to work on a farm with free-range chickens. Even with new regulations, factory farmed chickens lead miserable lives. If that isn't an issue for you, free range humanely raised eggs have better nutrition. If you buy some and crack open a factory farmed egg and a free range egg, you'll be shocked at the difference in appearance between the yolk in both. Egg yolk should be a vibrant bright yellow, and you'll see that in free range eggs. Since I'm not on the farm anymore, I buy Nellie's, which are great!

One of my favorite healthy meals is to pan sauté with coconut oil some onion and garlic, toss in a huge handful of french cut green beans(right from the freezer), then add in a lightly beaten organic egg or two, splash in a little low sodium soy sauce, cook until the egg is set, then flip. So yummy and reminds me of egg foo young. Love your website!!!

What are the best eggs to buy? I know free range but what names do they go by??

@Annie - I wrote this article about how I choose eggs:

My favorite are local eggs.

Thanks snack girl! I'm on a quest now to find the best eggs as possible.

On Easter Morning our parents served blue, pink and green scrambled eggs. It was fun; but, frankly, the blue eggs looked so unappetizing. I shoved them off on my sisters!

We are so lucky to have access to fresh eggs from chickens living on the ranch where my husband works. Yum!

I'm also lucky that I have good genes when it comes to cholesterol levels.

When my husband went to a Diabetic class to learn how to eat correctly he was told to change from white flour foods to wheat. I see that Diane said the wheat affects your sugar levels. Is this information scientifically proven Snackgirl? What should my husband be eating if not wheat?

Thanks Snack Girl!! I'm still trying to get my husband's brain past the old guidelines, but we all still eat eggs for breakfast almost everyday. Four healthy, low cholesterol people eating this high quality protein with no ill effects. Thanks for all your wonderful posts!!!

I adore eggs! They're amazing scrambled with veggies, over-easy on sandwiches, or baked with tomatoes/tomato sauce and a little cheese - basically any way! So versatile and healthy.

Eggs are great! I buy mine from a local farmer that treats his chickens very well.In the spring and fall he sells flats of pullet eggs for 3.00 A flat contains 36 eggs. Pullet eggs are wonderful when used to make a souffle. The whites really beat to very stiff peaks.My weakness is a hard boiled egg drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar. If anyone wants to know a surefire way to get hard boiled eggs that peel easily just let me know.

I love eggs! Until my doctor says specifically to me not to eat them, then I will never stop eating them. You can have them for every meal if you wanted to. You can do so much with them. but when I buy eggs I go for cage free or ORGANIC. There is a farmer that goes to my farmer's market that has chickens and they are only caged at night for obvious reasons, but his eggs are really tasty. I say if you can then try to buy from a local farmer, but if you can't make the trip then when your at the store buy cage free/ free range, or organic. Also don't be afraid to ask the store about the vendors that they buy from. They might look at you like your a pain, but hey, it's your health. =)

How to quickly peel a hard boiled egg:

Sounds weird, but if works every time like Magic!

We love eggs. I am here in California and have two friends who have chicken farms! We get all the wonderful, organic eggs we need and eat away. I have an avocado tree in my back yard...the possibilities are endless!

Eating eggs that are from caged laying chicks may be inexpensive but inhumane care of them make eating them tragic. Try cage free eggs from a certifiyed source and you will pay more but with a good conscience for humanity.

@ Madeline - in Diabetes nutrition classes your husband would have been advised to substitute foods made with 100% whole wheat for foods made with refined ("white") flour.

For Dee and Madeline - As a diabetic, I can assure you that whole grains are suggested for diabetics as they digest slower and are not telegraphed to the bloodstream raising the blood sugar.

However, I notice that if I eat a sandwich, with say French white bread, that my sugar stays balanced as long as there is significant protein in the sandwich like meat and/or cheese.

White bread carbs should be limited and sugar should not be ingested unless one's blood sugar becomes low. One exception I found is sourdough bread which seems o.k. at least for us.

Not sure why Dee would assume a particular diabetes class would instruct its attendees to use white flour products instead of wheat. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We have no evidence, personally, that wheat causes a rise in blood sugar or cholesterol.

The body creates its own cholesterol in some people.

By removing wheat from the diet, many vitamins and minerals are better absorbed without the interference of gluten and this may lead to better cholesterol levels.

Eggs rule!!!!!!

Thank you for commenting Fortuna however I am a little confused. In one statement you say that whole grains are suggested for diabetics as they digest slower. In another statement you say removing whole wheat will enable better vitamin and mineral absorption. Does this mean it is better to eat gluten free?

@ Madeline, Thank you for your question. I believe this varies with the individual. People do need some carbs in their diet but they can be had from sources other than wheat.

Each person must make the choice to have wheat in their diet or not.

Also, if made at home, breads can be allowed to proof for extended periods of time. This break down the gluten and makes for better digestion. I proof my bread for 12 to 18 hours as an example.

Grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and beans should be prepared properly because gluten is not the only thing that can cause low absorption of nutrients. Phytic acid can also be problematic.

Not only do some grains contain gluten, all grains and veggies contain phytic acid.

Phytic acid can work in favor of the diabetic as in the case of whole grains as they are slow to digest and this means that the starch that is broken down into sugar enters the blood stream more slowly thus keeping the blood sugar more balanced and protecting from sugar spikes. But, phytic acid can also block absorption of nutrients. So, soaking and cooking are the only means to rid foods of most of their phytic acid and proofing breads to help with the gluten problem.

As in the case of those who remove gluten from their diet, it is possible that these individuals have a gluten sensitivity or have celiac disease.

2.5 million Americans (1 in 100 people worldwide) have undiagnosed celiac disease and are at risk for many health complications. In celiac disease, the villi in the small intestine are damaged and thus so is the ability to absorb vital nutrients.

Hope this answers your questions. : )

I try often to get local eggs. I don't want any multinational behind of my health... A friend of mine a diet where all was more natural as possible.

A review post I wrote can be found here:

For I_Fortuna, Thank you for answering me. If I read it correctly, gluten-free allow vitamins and minerals to absorb better in the body and wheat and vegtables not as well. Therefore, gluten-free is better? I may have over simplified this. After looking up proofing it looks to be done by hand and I use a bread machine. The machine does rest but not as long as I think proofing does. Thanks again!

Ladies Proofing is simply to test the vitality of the yeast.You sprinkle the yeast on a small amount of water at about 110 deg. and wait until bubbles or foam appears. Often a teaspoon of sugar is added to the water. The bubbles indicate that the yeast is alive and will make your bread rise.

As far as gluten free goes, it's a popular fad except for about 1% of the population that has celiac disease.It can be unhealthy to eliminate so many foods from your diet.Check out the articles on WebMD, Tine, and the Wall Street Journal.Talk to your endocrinologist or visit an experienced dietician before you join the gluten free trend.I have had Type 1 diabetes for over 50 years and give lots of credit to the medical community for helping me to live a healthy life. And yes, I eat lots of eggs

Madeline - Your welcome. However, not everyone is gluten sensitive nor does everyone have celiac disease. Many people can eat gluten products and not have a problem digesting them or absorbing nutrients from them. A doctor can test for celiac.

Unfortunately, bread machines, in my experience, do not make a good loaf of bread nor is enough time given for proper proofing to break down the gluten.

One can purchased sprouted flour to bake with which is believed to be healthier for some people.

As diabetics, we take nutritional supplements to insure that we are getting enough vitamins and minerals. Diabetics, as a rule, are very deficient in magnesium which effects over 300 enzymatic processes in the body including processing carbs.

Phytic acid:

Many veggies, legumes, beans, nuts, grains, etc. should be soaked and/or cooked to rid them of phytic acid. But, if one is diabetic phytic acid can work in their favor by slowing digestion. The fact is, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, just to name a few, offer more nutrition cooked than raw.

I soak my beans to a slightly sprouted stage before cooking which removes much of the phytic acid.

Thanks for your comments. : )

Thank you very much I_Fortuna. :)

@Diane - Cholesterol comes only from animal based products. It is impossible for sugar to be the culprit. Sugar raises your blood SUGAR levels - not cholesterol.

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