Eggcellent Eggucation

Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years, so I wanted to clear up some confusion by writing this blog dedicated to eggs.

Lots of good food with goodcholesterol

Do eggs raise cholesterol?

       While egg yolks have a good amount of cholesterol, studies have shown that eating eggs in moderation will not raise your cholesterol. However, for the body builder who eats a dozen eggs a day, it may be a different story! My opinion is that whole foods which naturally have cholesterol (shrimp, eggs, etc.) are less likely to cause high cholesterol as compared to cholesterol-containing foods that are high in saturated fats and are processed (Twinkies, honey buns, etc.).
Bottom line: Eating one egg per day on average is not likely to raise your cholesterol.

Interesting egg facts:

  1. While egg yolks have more cholesterol and fat than egg whites, yolks also contain more omega-3s. Whites and yolks have a similar amount of protein, with whites having the slight edge.
  2.  Brown eggs are not necessarily healthier than white eggs! The difference in color depends on the breed of chicken.
  3. You can use egg whites alone if you want to avoid the cholesterol, but if you prepare them by using butter, then you are adding back a bunch of cholesterol and saturated fat.

Is there anything good about eggshells?

Some patients have told me they take eggshell supplements. It turns out that eggshells are a good source of calcium carbonate, which is the same ingredient that is in Tums and many other calcium supplements. In fact, half of an eggshell contains 1000mg calcium, which is a full day’s worth. I can’t recommend eating your own eggshells though, unless you know what you are doing! Eggshells need to be boiled to kill bacteria, and then ground into a fine powder. Larger shell pieces can cut through your esophagus!
However, if you would like to use your eggshells, but don’t want to eat them, they are a good source of calcium for soil/plants.

What’s the deal with cage-free vs. other types of eggs?

If you are concerned with how the chickens who produce your eggs were treated, here is a rundown of egg carton labels:

  • “Cage-free” and “Free-range” mean that the chickens are not in cages, but they may still be packed into a large open space in a barn.
  • “Natural”, “Farm Fresh”, and “No added hormones” claims add no value to eggs, because a chicken lays an egg on a farm (no matter the conditions), and by law cannot be given hormones.
  • “Pasture-raised” and “Organic” are probably the best words to look for on a label.
  • How do you know if a company is trying to pull one over on you? Consumer reports did a review of food label certifications here:
    https://www.consumerreports.org/food-labels/seals-and-claims

Melissa Boylan MD, FAAFP
Family Physician and Owner of Noreta Family Medicine
NoretaFamilyMed.com