Eggs: Healthy or Not?

By J. M. Graham ("Crabby McSlacker")

105-eggt.jpgEggs are in the news again. Is it good news this time or bad news?

Well–it’s both. Yet again, eggs are confusing us all by being nutritious, but associated with certain health risks.

According to recent studies, the news looks good if you’re a woman trying to avoid breast cancer; not quite so good if you’re a middle aged man who eats more than one a day.

The Good News: Eggs and Breast Cancer

A recent study out of the University of North Carolina suggests that women who consumed more choline, a nutrient found in eggs, had a reduced risk of breast cancer. The study involved 3,000 women and concluded that those who got the most of the nutrient had a 24% lower risk of developing breast cancer.

Choline is found only in the yolk of the egg. It’s also present in other food, like liver, wheat germ and cauliflower, coffee, and skim milk. According to the researchers, only about 10% of Americans get enough of it.

(Previous research, like a 2003 Harvard study, has also shown an association between egg consumption and reduced breast cancer risk.)

Now the Bad News: Middle Aged Men May Want to be Cautious

3060-eggs-healthy-or-not.jpgA 20 year study of male physicians published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had some unfortunate news for men who ate more than 6 eggs a week: they had a higher risk of earlier death. Men with diabetes died sooner if they ate any eggs at all.

Researchers concluded that while “egg consumption of up to six eggs a week was not associated with the risk of all-cause mortality, consumption of (seven or more) eggs a week was associated with a 23 percent greater risk of death.”

However, the men who ate the most eggs were older, fatter, ate more vegetables but less breakfast cereal, and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise.

This caveat makes one wonder: are egg-eating physicians less healthy generally than granola-crunching physicians? One would presume that these factors were taken into account in the data analysis, but if not, perhaps the eggs weren’t the real culprit.

Researchers suggested further study was needed. In the meantime, Dr. Robert Eckel, a nutrition expert from the University of Colorado (and former president of the American Heart Association) urged caution for middle-aged men.

Do you eat eggs? Do you plan to continue?

I grew up with the idea that eggs were a healthy way to get protein for breakfast. Then came the news they had Evil Cholesterol, and many health-conscious folks like me started to avoid them.

Then researchers figured out that the cholesterol in the eggs wasn’t all that problematic, and eggs started to look like a great convenient choice again. (I get tired of yogurt every morning, and morning alternatives often seem to involved smoked or cured meats–foods I have more concerns about than I do about eggs).

I probably eat about 7 eggs a week myself, the kind with a bit of an Omega-3 boost, and don’t plan to stop. But then I’m female and getting tired of the back-and-forth on eggs.

How about you folks? Are you chicken to eat eggs or do you gobble them with gusto?

90 Comments

  1. Doug Matt

    Doctors, scientist’s and everybody that conducts all these research studies have no idea about eggs. One day they are good for you and the next they are a death sentence. Will we ever really know. I do not listen to what research indicates anymore its all based on uncircumstancial evidence. As far as high cholesterol and blood pressure, I am the king of both. I have changed my diet drastically by eliminating all animal fats and trans fats etc..eating unsalted nuts and seeds drink nothing but water and eat fruits and veggies for 1 year…results are unchanged! As matter of fact now my BP is 144/94 from 140/90. So much for all the healthy foods and my cholesterol is still over 250? Hmmmmm. I guess I’m stuck on expensive Crestor and Lisinopril for the rest of my life!

    Reply
    • Paddycakes

      I did the same as you, somewhat, any what. I gave up all animal fats/meat, some cheese once in a while when my wife puts it in foods. Became semi vegan, I guess. I just measured my BP, and it is 104/60, and that is pretty constant. I get some wine once in a while but not often enough, so I take resveritrol 200mg on empty stomach in the morning.

      Reply
  2. Drew Stegman

    Eggs are extremely healthy! The long lived myth of eggs being bad for you because they are high in cholesterol simply does not have any scientific evidence to back this claim.

    In fact, there is an overwhelming amount of research that suggests saturated fat and cholesterol being good for you.

    Reply
    • Paddycakes

      My doctor said one or two eggs per week is OK, more than that, he said and your cholesterol will rise. My last test was cholesterol 128, LDL 46, trig 115.
      BMI: 20.5 and I don’t exercise. Visceral fat: 13.5–athlete range. Being a semi vegan changed my health dramatically, and contrary to popular inputs, the way of life is delicious once one learns how to do it, prepare and/or cook it. W/M, 71.

      Reply
    • Richard

      There is no valid research that proves saturated fats are good for you. You make up your “facts” as you go along or instead of reading the research you believe the media hype that claims they read the research?

      Reply