How healthy are eggs?

Posted at 7:10 AM, Jun 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-29 08:10:33-04

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the consumption of eggs in the United States is on the rise over the last 18 years.

This year the U.S. consumption is estimated at 278 eggs per person.  

That leads us to this question…are eggs healthy?

That is not a simple question; it all depends on who you ask.

The Food & Drug Administration does not consider eggs to be ‘healthy’ because of their fat content.

“The FDA has a very specific definition for what healthy means, and it is constantly changing even with companies as to whether it is considered healthy or not. But really, it is just a label, and you have to look at the nutrition content as opposed to someone else telling you it is healthy. But seeing the nutritional breakdown and a part of a well-balanced diet as if it is healthy or not,” said Corpus Christi Medical Center Registered Dietitian II Jordan Griffing.

The concern with eggs is their cholesterol content. One egg yolk contains 186 milligrams of cholesterol.

“So eggs have gotten a pretty bad rap about cholesterol and taking a toll on people’s cholesterol when they are trying to have a healthy diet. But eggs actually have omega 3, which are heart healthy fats and that, combined with vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are in eggs, actually help improve your lipid profile as opposed to making it worse,” said Griffing.

Eggs are the bread and butter of the American diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the average American ate about 276 eggs in 2017, which is up from the estimated 251 eggs in 2000.

“There has been some conflicting information as to whether eggs are a part of a healthy diet or not. The latest research from the Journal of Clinical Nutrition has actually shown that a high egg diet, up to 12 eggs a week, does not have any adverse effects,” said Griffing.

Atomic Omelette & GrillOwner Michael VanSyckle says his restaurant goes through more than 4,000 eggs in a week, 17,312 eggs a month, and 225,056 eggs a year. And that includes the staple food on just about every menu item, including their hamburgers.

“I love selling eggs. But it depends on what study that is out there. Some days they are not good for you, the other days,  they are great for you. So, that is the way I like it, they are great all the time,” said VanSyckle.

The FDA is in the process of updating its guidelines with respect to what is considered to be healthy.

However on the ‘How to Eat Healthy’ guide provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services eggs are included on the list of ‘lean protein foods.’

What is more likely to affect your health is how eggs are prepared, as well as which other foods you combine with them. 

One large poached egg has 71 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat, and an omelet made with spinach and one yolk is also a lean choice.

But a serving of eggs Benedict with bacon and Hollandaise sauce has about 800 calories and 26 grams of saturated fat.

Balance your eggs with other healthy fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Eggs are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D and a source of the nutrient choline, which may help protect against birth defects in infants.

They contain vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2) and the antioxidant selenium, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help keep our eyes healthy.