Eggs have gotten a bad rap over the years, so I wanted to clear up some confusion by writing this blog dedicated to eggs.
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:
- 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.
- Brown eggs are not necessarily healthier than white eggs! The difference in color depends on the breed of chicken.
- 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:
Melissa Boylan MD, FAAFP
Family Physician and Owner of Noreta Family Medicine