The question of whether or not eggs are a healthy addition to our diets has been explored throughout decades of research and in-depth studies. Given all the protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and countless other nutrients that eggs contain, it's safe to say that they're a healthy choice.
Words by: Jesse Laflamme
The answer is simple: eggs are one of the healthiest, most nutrient-dense natural foods out there. They're a complete source of protein, boasting generous amounts of omega-3 and containing all of the essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscles. They're also chock full of lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline. Just one egg offers all this (and more!) for a mere 70 calories.
When it comes to eggs, what you see is what you get—and that's a good thing! Eggs are unprocessed, which means they contain no additives or hard-to-pronounce ingredients. Shelled eggs have nothing added to or taken out of them, making them a whole food. As with any food, there are still "ingredients" that go into the production of eggs, including chicken feed, greens, and forage from the pasture (for free range hens). That's why choosing organic eggs is so important: it's a guarantee that the hens' diets are non-GMO and free of synthetic pesticides.
The majority of the 5 grams of fat in an egg comes from polyunsaturated and monounsatured fats, which can benefit your body in a number of ways. This in combination with the high-quality protein in eggs can help curb cravings by managing appetite and blood sugar control, both of which are important for weight management and diabetes prevention. For those concerned about saturdated fat, eggs are still a very healthy option. The DGA recommends consuming less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats. On a 2,000 calorie diet, that’s 20 grams per day. A single egg contains about 1.5 grams of saturated fat, which is less than 8% of your daily value.
Nearly all of these healthy fats are contained in the yolk, which is why it's a smart idea to consume the whole egg. For an even bigger boost of protein in your egg scramble or omelet, organic egg whites are a great option.
Decades of research has shown no evidence that moderate dietary cholesterol or egg consumption increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, except in people with a strong genetic risk for high cholesterol. This research kicked off in response to the now famous Framingham Heart Study beginning in 1948, which established a link between high cholesterol levels in the blood and health problems like heart disease. Misinformation and myths surrounding cholesterol only spread when the USDA went a step further and made an unsupported conclusion that ingesting any food high in cholesterol would, in turn, drive up the levels of cholesterol in the blood, and thus should be avoided.
It turns out not all foods behave the same way in the body. Subsequent reviews of the USDA's claims, along with numerous, more current studies have revealed no evidence that egg consumption actually elevates cholesterol within blood levels. Thus, no correlation with increased disease risk can be drawn.
In reviewing the scientific evidence for development of the 2015-2020 DGA, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee acknowledged that cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption by the U.S. population and recommended the discontinuation of a specific limit on cholesterol due to evidence from a 2013 report issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology showing “no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.”
Omega-3 fatty acids are like superheroes: they can help regulate blood clotting, inflammation, and genetic function. Their other superpowers include controlling and preventing heart disease, stroke, lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis. So what are omega-3 fatty acids, anyway? They belong to the polyunsaturated fats family and are one the essential fats, which means the human body can't produce omega-3 fats on its own. This is just one of the reasons why free range eggs are an important addition to your diet: a study has shown that hens with access to outdoor pastures produce eggs with significantly more omega-3 fats than eggs from caged hens.
The 6 grams of protein found in an egg are made up of all 9 essential amino acids that are vital to our survival. Containing every essential amino acid makes eggs a complete or "whole" protein, and the benefits of this are endless. Whether you're seeking a filling lunch on a tight budget or a vegetarian in need of a high quality protein source, eggs can fulfull your daily nutrition needs. Science also suggests that protein plays a starring role in making a meal satisfying. Protein-rich foods take more time for the body to break down, keeing you feeling fuller longer.
Eggs are considered a nutrient dense food, and for good reason. They have high amounts of beneficial nutrients like lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline in relation to their total caloric content.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that help keep your eyes healthy by preventing macular degeneration and age-related blindness. Choline is perhaps one of the most powerful essential nutrients in eggs because it plays an important role in memory, mood, muscle control, and other brain and nervous system functions. It helps support the nervous, endocrine, digestive, and reproductive systems. Choline is also essential in fetal and infant brain development, since adequate choline during pregnancy can prevent neural tube defects. Even lactating women are especially in need of dietary choline to protect the health and development of their babies. Just one egg provides a quarter of the daily choline needs for someone who is pregnant or lactating. Our bodies are able to make a small amount of choline on their own, but the rest must be obtained from food sources like eggs.
We all know that vitamins and minerals are essential to our diets, but why is that? Each vitamin and mineral has its own function, and luckily, eggs contain a whole lot of them—this includes vitamins D, B12, A, K, riboflavin, and other antioxidants, all of which support the body in varying ways. Eggs also contain a robust amount of the antioxidant selenium, which helps prevent chronic disease and the breakdown of body tissues.
Most notably, egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium and is therefore essential for bone health. Research has shown that eggs from free range hens contain significantly more vitamin D than conventional or caged eggs, which is yet another benefit of outdoor access.
The featured image on this post comes from Reclaiming Yesterday, a member of our ambassador program. Click here to try the recipe.
What are your thoughts regarding eggs and health benefits? Let us know in the comments below.
August 27, 2018
Unbelievable! Thank you for making consumers aware of this. I like others commenting here do not consider the products you give as examples of what the FDA consider "healthy" healthy and I stay away from those kinds of products even though I am not diabetic. And I don't want to be either! I am aware of all the good organic eggs bring for a healthy diet and thank you!
August 01, 2018
Thank you for being willing to take a stand. I agree with you 100%.
I spent my entire career in the pharmaceutical business so I understand the bureaucracy.
My own Dr., a MD. agrees with you 100%.
The FDA owes it to the American population to tell them the truth about cholesterol. However, we must realize that the FDA has approved and continues to approve many cholesterol fighting drugs.
In my opinion, the FDA’s main focus is drugs, not nutrition.
Keep up the good work on educating the public on eggs and the health benefits of eating eggs.
August 02, 2018
It's stories like yours that give us hope for future generations, Teri. Along with pushing change from the top down, we also have to educate ourselves and our peers, which can be difficult to do when multiple powers are involved. We think that the FDA's work in the pharmaceutical industry makes it even more important for them to step up and be transparent in all areas, even when that doesn't come with monetary gain. Thank you for supporting our endeavors to change this!
July 28, 2018
I am a retired Registred Nurse with a very healthy daughter (also an RN), granddaughter and two great grandchildren. Our family does NOT eat pop-tarts or jello or sugary cereal because we know that they are not healthy. They are all fine if you are encouraging obesity or diabetes or dental problems. All our families eat eggs which ARE HEALTHY!! Sometimes I despair at our government 😢🤦♀️🤔
July 31, 2018
This is so cool to hear, Dolores. We thank you for helping each generation of your family make healthy and conscious choices!
July 08, 2018
This seems typical for the FDA and USDA, if I recall butter is getting the same treatment. Butter Subs and Margarine are often loaded with trans fats, especially stick margarine. Natural Butter and Organic eggs offer the best flavor and little of the 'unhealthy' components they're accused of. I've had a physician tell me that organic eggs have a much higher level of Omega-3 than cage eggs. When I was able to keep our own chickens, they were fed table scraps and vegetables as well as plenty of fresh grass. They produced yolks that were nearly RED in color and actually had flavor. Your eggs are the same and I'll take them all-day over any others. Thanks and keep up the good work.
July 09, 2018
Hi Mark, we couldn't have said it better. The vilification of healthy fats like butter and eggs has done more harm than good, and in some cases has led consumers to believe that butter substitutes, which are often pumped full of vegetable oils and additives, are healthier than the real thing. This is frustrating given the research that shows how dietary fat actually helps our bodies burn fat. We're so glad that we're on the same page, and thank you so much for supporting our petition and our product!
June 14, 2018
May 22, 2019