Smart Fuel: Eggs

Remember in the movie Runaway Bride when Julia Roberts’ character could never decide how she liked her eggs? We say, don’t worry about it Ms. Roberts, with so many health benefits associated with the consumption of eggs, you should eat ’em however you can get ’em!

On the most superficial level, eggs are an excellent source of protein, providing 5.5 grams per 68 calorie serving and all 9 essential amino acids (all for less than 0.5 grams of carbs!)

Digging deeper, eggs are perhaps best known for supplying choline, an “unofficial” B vitamin that our bodies can only produce in limited quantities (often too limited for optimal health, with one study indicating that 90% of Americans are currently choline deficient. Among choline’s many benefits, it is considered a key component of fat-containing structures in cell membranes, particularly those associated with the brain, making them particularly important for fetal brain development as well as overall brain function and health.

In the mineral department, eggs are an excellent source of selenium, which is thought to prevent cancer, particularly tumors affecting the prostate (although researchers are currently going back and forth on this one!) Eggs are also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two types of carotenoids important for eye health (with several studies indicating that these compounds may prevent macular degeneration as well as reduce the risk of developing cataracts). Additionally, eggs are thought to be one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D, providing roughly 10% of the recommended daily intake per serving.

Still need convincing? A 2005 study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that eggs keep hunger at bay longer than bagels (or “dietary disasters” as they should be renamed!). In addition, eggs’ high sulfur content and wide variety of vitamins and minerals can promote healthy hair – and may even speed up growth rate in those with such deficiencies – as well as help nails grow.

And now to address the bad press. In recent years, eggs have come under considerable fire for their high cholesterol content, with many suggesting that they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a 1999 Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and even went as far to say that regular egg consumption may actually prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Not bad, eh?

So, there you have it. Eggs really are egg-ceptional. Some might even consider them egg-cellent and still others would even go as far to call them eggs-quisite (ok, we promise we’ll stop now!)

sir chalky Flickr Photo (CC)

Drop us a line with your favorite egg dish!

Further Reading:

The Definitive Guide to Cholesterol

Duck Eggs

Best Brain Foods (hint: eggs are one of them)

Conditioning Research: Make Sure You Have Eggs in Your Low Carb Diet!

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62 thoughts on “Smart Fuel: Eggs”

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  1. I’ve been eating the Eggland Best because they claim to have a high Omega 3 content. However, after reading Mark’s info on balancing O-6 with O-3 I checked out the Eggland website and found out they are still 6-1 in favor of the O-6. Since I eat two eggs every morning at work, and have at least one three-egg omlette every weekend, I’m going to be rethinking that one. I know I saw some eggs on the shelf at my local supermarket that were considerably more expensive. I’ll have to check them out.


  2. Good to hear, I love eggs unfortunately they don’t like me much. I eat one tiny slightly undercooked egg and its like a lactose intolerant person chugging a gallon of milk. Never have been able to find out why. Runny scrambled eggs are murder on my stomach..

  3. Are the same benefits found in cartons of egg whites or products like egg beaters? It seems these would be highly processed and wouldn’t yield the same nutritional benefits. What about just eating the whites of a whole/fresh egg?

  4. I’m with Moe, Anna. Why would you eat cartons of egg whites when you could be eating free range, omega 3 supplemented eggs with the YOLK! Don’t fear the fat! Of course, you can just eat the whites of a whole/fresh egg. Nothing REALLY wrong with that. But if you ask me you would be skipping the best part.

  5. Some eggs are even more nutritious than others. A recent study compared supermarket eggs with eggs from pastured poultry (chickens moved frequently to different area of pasture and allowed to graze). The result: eggs from pastured poultry are more nutritious than supermarket eggs, including double the omega-3s and seven times the beta carotene. Aside from supporting local farmers and sustainable practices, spending a little more for pastured eggs at the farmers’ market means getting more nutrients. Plus, they’re delicious.

    One of my favorite small, local farms participated in this study. Their website links the original article here:

  6. I was eating those fake eggs for a while when I was under the misinformed stage about eggs. Now I only eat real eggs. It’s ashame that so many people have been given false information about eggs and are resorting to highly processed eggs and losing so much nutritional value because of it.

  7. Gimme a break, Crackumin. I’ve heard that egg yolks have high levels of Arachidonic Acid. I happen to find it easier to pour my eggs in the morning than to carefully crack and omit the yolks (to avoid AA build up). Seriously, there are so many “experts” out there, and I try and get my information from robust sources and discern for credibility as much as I can. I happen to find MDA credible and enjoyable to read, but sometimes it conflicts with other sources I find credible. Just opening up the opportunity for further learning.

  8. Different Anna chiming in here. I just adore eggs. Real eggs. Between the excellent nutrition, fantastic nutrition-to-cost ratio, as well as being so wonderfully adaptable to every meal and plain, sweet, and savory dishes, they are practically the perfect food. Our family of three goes through about 4 doz a week on average, though we do without when the chickens are molting and seasonal egg production is down. I panic when my egg supply is too low (just kidding, well, sort of).

    I’ll never understand egg white omelets. I can’t imagine anyone actually eats them for the taste. I tried one once. Abominable. The folks I see eating them don’t look like they are savoring their eggs either, just getting it over with. I think if I was going to discard or reduce anything of from an egg, it would be the whites, not the yolks (though I can usually find a use for extraneous egg whites, too). The yolks are “where it’s at”! All the flavor and the majority of the nutrients.

    My husband and I have at least 2, but usually 3 local “hobby” farm eggs nearly every day, cooked over-easy in lots of butter (with a pat of butter on top, too). I like the whites set, but the yolks still runny. Call me OCD, but I make an effort to get at least some yolk with every bite of egg white – egg whites are just too boring on their own. But yolks, ooooh….

    I avoid fake foods and false convenience. Therefore, I make the enormous effort to crack my eggs. It takes all of about 10 seconds per egg, at most, even if I am separating them for a particular recipe. The shells are good for the garden compost, too.

    I try to find the most credible health info, too (who doesn’t?). Often (but certainly not always) the conflicting info ends up being most credible and that’s what I ultimately adopt, as it shows a willingness to investigate independently, without the groupthink that is so pervasive these days, especially in nutrition science (which often isn’t nearly rigorous enough). My husband is a research scientist (biochemistry), so that has influenced me to be a lot more skeptical of the mainstream health advice that is based on epidemiology (he never thought low fat made sense). I try to view things through an evolutionary lens, too. Bottled, fractionated, and manufactured egg substances don’t look very good through that lens. Real eggs from local, running around chickens, AA and all, look much better. And taste better.

  9. I love eggs,and we as humans are unable to produce many compounds,vitamins and minerals that our body needs.Eggs are the ideal way to supplement our body.

  10. just came across this post. I heart my eggs & get them at my local farmer’s market. I recently read “The Paleo Diet” & author Cordain discourages the consumption of more than 4-6 eggs a week! While I consider myself totally on board with the PB, I’m not sure where Mark & the gang weigh in on this, or where my fellow Apples do.
    Frankly I cannot see eating a fish filet or steak(my fave protein) for breakfast!

  11. I played college football for five years and took a shot at the NFL, having tryouts with the Jets and Packers, and when I needed to put on good healthy weight I would eat about a dozen eggs a day on top of a healthy diet. Four eggs in the morning, four after my workout, and four right before I went to bed. Fastest and easiest way to gobble up eggs, for me, was to throw them in a blender with milk, fruit (bananas, strawberriers, etc.), small scoop of whey protien powder, and sometimes a spoon full of peanut butter. Hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper is a great snack and a quick energy booster.

    1. Great, but you did not relate all those eggs to the present condition of your arteries…

  12. Hi, I am a vegetarian who eat eggs. I am currentlly eating about 4 in the morning and 4 eggs for dinner. please let me know if this is okay for someone trying to lose body fat. my carb intake is around 100 gms a day.

    1. I’m a pescatarian, but have been eating more eggs and organic non-gmo-sourced butters in my diet. and i’ve noticed that whenever i need a quick energy boost, an egg (or two) sauteed with some butter and a little salt is amazing. i don’t know if there is a limit, either, but I don’t think so. As long as the chickens are fed healthy diets, as we are eating their direct products, I don’t see any problems?

  13. I can’t seem to start my day with out my 3 egg omlete. I’m lucky enough to have a local farm nearby that sells eggs. There is a huge difference between those and storebought, even the “free-range” and organic version. Today I cracked 2 of the farm eggs and one storebought and the difference in color was like day and night. The farm eggs are a deep orange while the “organic” eggs are the standard yellow. It’s all in the food the chickens eat. If you guys can, look for farms around your area that sell eggs, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of em.

    1. agreed. When the farmer’s market was still operable, (it’s closed until the summer :/ here, I would pick up a dozen every week. golden, rich hue, creamy yolk, thick solid protein source… they were incredible. the organic, free-range eggs I buy from trader joe’s are delicious too, however

    1. More of the same nonsense that has been force fed to us for decades. The fact they are even comparing eggs to a processed, piece of crap sandwich is laughable at best.
      Cholesterol has become such an eveil word for no reason at all, based off research that has many faults in eat. Yet we still follow this same advice- same with advice as ultra low fat, more grains, saturated fat is bad, and on and on. Yet Americans are about as unhealthy as ever….

      In the past year, I ate tons of pastured eggs, grass fed butter, grass fed beef and lamb. I pan fried the meats in butter and coconut oil, a recipe for health disaster according to modern “researchers”. Funny thing though…my blood tests compared form last year to this year had my cholesterol going down. My HDL/LDL ratio also skyrocketed from .29 (low) to well over .45(above optimal). All from eating all the evil foods…..Oh, did I mention how my weight has dropped almost 80 pounds since giving up the standard american diet?

  14. You mentioned the amino acids. Eggs are notably high in L-glutamine, which is an essential amino acid that basically feeds enterocytes (intestinal cells). Glutamine from eggs, or other sources, can help restore and maintain the lining of the intestinal tract. Plus, there’s nothing better than a fried egg over your leafy greens … try it!

  15. Gyday People;

    Ive been eating 10-12 eggs a day …i have really noticed my skin has cleared up…

    Could be anecdotle….but i also have very shiny hair.

    I just enjoy the simplicity of eggs.

    Any eggs….im not an egg snob.

    Dont be scared of eggs…..

    They are Eggcellent!

  16. Is there such thing as too many eggs in one day? Yesterday, I had 9….There are several of us living this way and I think this is a question for each of us.

  17. Eating more than 2 yolk egg a day are very bad, because this part of the egg have high cholesterol, saturated fat and damage the liver. The liver size increase, this can be dangerous.
    Keep in the zone: 2 egg a day, no more.

    There are people, like vegans, that consider eating eggs is a theft because the eggs have been stolen from the chicken.
    I Don’t care about this theft because it is for eat. God know that.

    1. quoting from the above article:
      And now to address the bad press. In recent years, eggs have come under considerable fire for their high cholesterol content, with many suggesting that they could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, a 1999 Harvard School of Public Health study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association determined no such link and even went as far to say that regular egg consumption may actually prevent blood clots, stroke and heart attack. Not bad, eh?

      1. Did you actually read the article though?

        Quote – “Conclusions: These findings suggest that consumption of up to 1 egg per day is unlikely to have substantial overall impact on the risk of CHD or stroke among healthy men and women. The apparent increased risk of CHD associated with higher egg consumption among diabetic participants warrants further research.”

        There is nothing in that study that says eating 4+ eggs/day (which I am at the moment) doesn’t have a negative effect. I’m actually surprised they referred to it. Definitely needs more research…

    2. Any other ridiculous and unfounded religious assertions you’d like to share?

      1. At medical school (KCLMS first year) we’re taught that eating raw egg whites can cause Iron deficiencies due to ovotransferrin, and reduce the availability of Biotin due to the protein Avadin. I’m not sure if the whites have effects on any other nutrients.

  18. Back in high school in the early 70’s my some of my friends called me Crow which was short for Cro-Magnon Man.

  19. is there a limit to how many eggs you should eat, per week, or even day?

    is one a day, consistently too many?
    or what about 2 a day every now and then, or even three? (rare, but i had a big egg and butter omelet tonight… yum)

  20. I eat 3-4 eggs per day because I am addicted to them. Seriously, I may be deficient because when it comes to preparing meals, I can’t stop thinking about more eggs!

    I need to look into finding farm fresh eggs! ….Or having my own chickens (yea right!! me?! No way)

  21. Hi Mark,
    Thanks for the great website. I am a farmer and supply my own eggs. I am 100% primal and find myself eating an insane amount of eggs per day. The other day I ate 9!!!! My husband is concerned that I may see some health effects if I continue to eat so many eggs per day. I typically eat at least 5. What are your thoughts about how many eggs per day is beneficial? Thanks, Rebecca

  22. i sure wish someone would address this question…i’m wondering if eggs should be limited to a degree, also…

  23. I am concerned about the Omega 6 content of eggs. Is that warranted? I do eat organic eggs, sometimes even the Omega-3 fortified ones. But still it feels like too much Omega 6.

  24. My 2yo is allergic to egg whites. Can I still feed him the yolks? Or should I be worried about the minuscule amount of white that comes along with it?

  25. Any of you that eat all those eggs ever get your arteries scanned to see how clogged they are?

    Lastest studies in 2012 indicate that eggs are almost at bad as smoking for your arteries…

  26. Richard: There’s a new ‘study’ almost every year, and most of them contradict each other. Eggs are good. Eggs are bad. Et cetera. All I know is, I eat eggs on a near daily basis and have been for years. At my last physical, my doc said my bad cholesterol (LDL) was the lowest he has seen in some years. He said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” Who knows, maybe I’m some kind of anomaly. Of course, exercise helps. Maybe the people in the study were couch potatoes who would have clogged arteries no matter what they ate.

    1. Thanks for bringing up exercise! If you’re super active (I do CrossFit, run, and salsa dance!) I don’t think we need to worry too much. Started eating paleo a couple months ago and have never looked back. Also try to eat most of my veggies raw. My energy is through the roof! Wish I’d learned sooner! ^_^

      1. Dr Fix who ran the 26 mile marathon and trained for it on an almost daily basis had clogged arteries and died at a young age with heart disease.

        Exercise is important for many reasons but relative to keeping arteries free of calcium buildup the level of cholesterol is a deceiving statistic.

        Despite all the comments here to the contrary, it is not known at this time if eggs add to arteries getting clogged or not…What is needed is a valid 40 year study for conclusive evidence and who is going to pay for that?

  27. The comments are generally a lot of BS with no facts. So you all like eggs and are still living.
    I made a reasonable comment yesterday asking about the results of artery scans.
    I do not care how much you like eggs or how much Mark says about the last study. Fact is we have been talking about eggs for 40 years but there is no definitive study.
    I am not asking about results of your blood test and HDL/LDL. I am only interested in what eggs do to the arteries, if anything. Eggs are high in K2 and could actually help to rid the arteries of calcium putting it in the bones where it belongs
    I am not interested in your opinions, only facts.

  28. I can’t believe how many people can eat eggs. I would not consider them paleo because of:

    Anti-nutritive properties of (especially) raw egg whites, because believe it or not Eggs are SEEDS and are NOT MEAT TO BE EATEN

    High lecihtin contents, which if you remember, lecihtin effects lecihtin.

    Also, lecihtins can bind to the gut walls and cause misaligned micro-flora which can lead to inflammation and terrible constipation. Dairy contains lecihtins with similar properties (so not only is casein and lactose bad for you, so are the lecihtins!) Isn’t that one of the primary fundamentals of the lifestyle, healthy gut?

    So many people i have read on this blog had problems with IBS, i wonder how many people have been kidding themselves so they can fit in with the rest on this forum and suffer terrible intestinal afflictions in the name of “repairing and healing their gut though a proactively healthful diet”.

    I, being egg free for 1 year as of last month, tried eating two, completely separated from the whites, fresh, homegrown, grain-free chicken yolk and a duck egg yolk.

    This morning, I was, excuse the inappropriateness, defecating in the shape of thin pasta noodles because my insides were so inflamed. Then, finally a while later, i had a loose movement as a way of my body washing itself out.

    For those out there who are suffering serious or even minor constipation or other IBS symptoms like diarrhea, do not stop exhausting all your options, but if you are 100% Paleo, please try omitting eggs at least for a week. (Nuts and Under-ripe fruit contain high levels of lecihtins also, that can bind to the gut)

    I know you all appreciate what mark has done by providing information all bundled up in a nice easily assimilated package, but there are LOTS of topics he fails to address, and I think instead of talking about how to prioritize a family schedule or reconnect with nature in the winter, (first examples i could think of), things that are fun to read, but not that education, he should be focusing on crucial topics that effect a lot of people every day, know and unknown. I feel like a 5th grader retaking the 4th grade sometimes…Sorry to be realistic instead of idealistic of Mark

    Also, Am I jealous that I can’t eat eggs once in a while? YOU BET I AM, but I just hope someone can read this and say “hey! that’s me! I never even thought of that!”

  29. I love this site and I love eggs. I eat 2-3 hardboiled eggs every other day but I wanted to see if it would be good to eat everyday. I typically rotate either 3 hard boiled eggs or a can of tua for the extra protein due to my hectic work/workout schedule. Thanks again Mark for being a shining light in a sea of nurtitional darkness.

  30. I probably eat WAY TOO MANY eggs, on average 3-4 eggs/day about 5-6 days/week. I exercise 4-5 days/week. I am wondering if that many eggs are bad for me?

    1. I eat two medium to small eggs a month and wonder if that is too many. I believe if you do some research on animal protein that you will start thinking you are consuming too many eggs on a daily basis.