Eggs and Cholesterol: What to believe and how we got here


In January I was invited to serve on the Health Advisors (HPA) Panel for the Egg Nutrition Center. ENC is the research arm of the American Egg Board. The aim of the ENC is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information for health professionals. The HPA Panel is composed of registered dietitians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and personal trainers. I’m so excited to be on this panel for the year and have already learned so much.

Eggs have always been one of my favorite foods and one that I would define as one of nature’s most perfect foods.

For years, I have educated clients on the science that eating foods with cholesterol does not raise our blood cholesterol levels. Just recently with the new Advisory Report to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, it seems like this nutrition education message is finally being caught up with the science we’ve known to be true.

So what does this mean for you, the consumer? One of the biggest pieces of nutrition science to reach the American consumer about cholesterol this year with this report, is that limiting dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 mg a day hasn’t been able to show an appreciable relationship to serum cholesterol  – or our total blood cholesterol levels.

What consumers are hearing now is that cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern for over-consumption.

Why are eggs a great food? I always use extra-large eggs which contain 7 grams of protein per 80 kcals. As 40% of the US population does not meet the amount of protein foods recommended, eggs can help you get to this amount. Eggs do have saturated fat which you may have heard at this point is what we don’t want to eat a lot of in our diets. However, eggs have only 1.5 grams of saturated fat per egg. This is hardly enough to contribute in a negative context.

Eggs contain vitamin D. Most people above latitude 42 have depreciated levels of vitamin D.

While supplementing with vitamin D is necessary for a lot of people if they have a lower levels, eggs are a great food to keep this level up or get it back to normal levels.

We’ve been reading a lot on the topic of sustainability in regard to our food.  Eggs use considerable less land, irrigation and water, and produce less emissions as a food source compared to other protein source.

An egg a day is not too much! I eat at least 7 eggs a week as part of a way to get in protein and I just love the taste. Any which way you cook them – scrambled, hard- boiled, or in other foods. I especially enjoy eggs as part of salads or in a sandwich at lunch.

Eggs last, are inexpensive and are truly one of the most versatile natural foods we have access to in our daily diet.

If you celebrated Easter or Passover this month likely you saw many eggs. As eggs are considered ‘Parve’ in Jewish culture, they fit in most celebratory and sacred meals and have great meaning as a food in history.

I will leave you with this cute video on eggs titled Wake Up To Eggs With Bacon‘  (Remember all foods can fit and therefore bacon sometimes is just fine – and tasty!)