The Science: Is one egg per day is good for you?
As of 2019, the data says yes. In fact, the more the better, and here’s the evidence for it.
Higher consumption most notably reduced heart disease, which was surprising given that most experts had believed that eggs contributed to heart disease.
In this study, patients who ate eggs every day had an 11% lower risk of heart disease compared to those who almost never ate eggs.
These patients also had a lower risk of stroke, particularly a nasty type of stroke we call a hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke causes massive bleeding in the brain and can cause sudden unexpected death.
One significant weakness of the study and other similar studies is that they only looked at associations and correlations between egg consumption and health outcomes. As with any correlation, it’s hard to establish causation. But, so far the balance of evidence supports eating eggs.
Why did eggs get such a bad rap?
For the longest time, doctors thought that eating foods high in cholesterol was bad for you. It made sense at the time because as you may know high cholesterol in your blood does raise your risk of heart disease and stroke.
However, further research has shown that eating cholesterol doesn’t necessarily raise your blood cholesterol. In fact, most cholesterol in your body is produced by your body. New research has shown that consumption of cholesterol is not necessarily dangerous.
To this end, the Dietary Guidelines For Americans has removed their recommendation for cholesterol limits.
What about eggs and diabetes?
The data for diabetics is a little more complicated. The study above did not include patients with diabetes. Other studies that have looked at patients with diabetes have shown mixed results.
In some studies, eating eggs has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes. As with the previous study, these studies can only provide correlations, not causations.
On the other hand, one of the only randomized clinical trials that looked at egg consumption found that diabetic patients who ate a lot of eggs did not have any change in their weight or health status.
In this trial, diabetic patients were assigned to eat either 12 eggs a week or less than 2 eggs per week to see whether this would make any difference in their health. After 3 months of treatment, researchers found no appreciable differences in the patients’ weight, cholesterol, and blood glucose.
So far, there is no strong evidence indicating that eggs are unhealthy. In fact, the best evidence to date suggests that the more eggs you eat, the better your health may be.
If you're a healthy adult, without diabetes or heart disease, there is no reason to believe that eggs are bad for you. In fact, eating more eggs and fewer sugary foods is probably going to be pretty good for you. As with anything, don't overdo it and watch your calories. Unlike celery or lettuce, eggs are calorie dense.
However, if you have diabetes, it’s a little more complicated. The data does appear to somewhat conflict and we don’t truly have a good answer. What we can say today is that if you do have diabetes or heart disease and wish to eat eggs, be sure to do so as part of a balanced diet.