Dear Mark: Eggs, More Eggs, and Marathon Man

EggsFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’re talking eggs, eggs, and marathons. First up are egg allergies/intolerances as determined by blood test. It’s not exactly clear what blood test was used to determine the inflammatory response to eggs, but regardless: the test was done and the reader is now worried about eggs, previously one of her favorite foods. Can she reintroduce eggs? Should she even worry at all? Next are eggs and blood lipids. Our reader’s naturopath has warned against four times daily egg consumption because of elevated LDL, and she wants to know if there’s really any reason to follow the advice. I lay out some of the evidence in favor of egg consumption; hopefully it’s enough to satisfy. Finally, I discuss the curious case of Stefaan Engels, the man who ran 365 marathons in 365 days. Does he discredit my whole view of fitness, chronic cardio, and endurance training? Should you therefore take up daily marathoning? Read on to find out.

Let’s go:

I had blood work done that showed eggs, and especially egg whites, were the number one food allergy causing inflammation in me. Eggs are one of my very favorite foods and because of the tests I have all but eliminated them from my diet. Is it possible that eggs can be reintroduced into my diet after some time on the primal blueprint?

Thank you for any suggestions!


I’d be interested to hear exactly what this blood work consisted of, because if it was IgG allergy testing, I’m not very convinced. Egg allergy is one thing, where you have a bite of food containing eggs and end up going into anaphylactic shock. That’s bad, that’s dangerous, and you can’t really ignore it. If eggs are an imminent threat to your life and you feel awful eating them, by all means, listen to the blood work and eliminate the eggs. The simple fact that they are one of your favorite foods, however, makes me think that eggs aren’t having a noticeable impact on your health.

Read next: How to Use Egg Yolks as a Thickener

If it was an IgG allergy test, there are serious doubts as to its accuracy and usefulness in identifying allergies or sensitivities. Chris Kresser, in one post, recounts how he once received back completely different results after sending two vials of his blood to the same lab for testing. And one study even found that every subject tested positive for ovalbumin-specific (egg white) IgG levels, whether they had active egg allergies, resolved egg allergies, or were completely free of egg allergies. The authors suspect that “strong IgG responses to OVA may be a normal physiological response to a protein frequently ingested from infancy.” Another study found that children who had higher IgG responses to egg protein as infants actually showed greater tolerance of egg protein later in life. If everyone has positive responses to egg-specific IgG levels regardless of allergic status, what’s the point of testing? And if higher IgG responses to proteins have even been shown to indicate greater tolerance of said proteins, are IgG tests really useful in determining intolerances?

How did they determine that they’re causing inflammation in your body? Did you get a C-reactive protein test? Did they test for specific inflammatory cytokines? Or do you get symptoms of inflammation upon egg consumption – achy joints, irritated skin, gastrointestinal upset? Or is the “inflammation” an abstract thing purely represented by numbers on a lab test? A blood test is rarely sufficient, particularly absent subjective symptoms.

You may very well be sensitive to eggs. Many people are. But most people who are sensitive to eggs don’t consider them a favorite food. You could be suffering from inconspicuous inflammation, doing damage to yourself without really knowing it. But in the absence of obvious symptoms, I’d hesitate to banish eggs entirely from your diet. Eggs are nearly unparalleled in the nutrition realm. They’re an excellent source of highly assimilable protein and vitamins like A, choline, K2, and folate, and they can be a good source of omega-3s if the hen’s diet is right.  Take them out for a few weeks to see how you react, sure. Nothing wrong with an elimination diet. That way, you’ll get actual answers in about 30 days, and you’ll be able to determine whether or not eggs are causing problems.

Look into your intestinal permeability, too. Oftentimes errant food proteins worm their way into our blood stream by way of an overly permeable intestinal wall, thereby prompting an immune response. Eat more gelatin and bone broth, consider probiotics, and eat some fermentable fiber to improve your gut health.

One final note: if it’s egg white you’re worried about and sensitive to, just eat the yolks. The yolks are the best part, anyway. If you trust your eggs, there’s no better multivitamin than a few raw pastured egg yolks in the morning.

I am seeing a naturopath and she is a bit worried about my LDL cholesterol, and is concerned I am eating too many eggs (3-4 for breakfast every day and the odd extra one with dinner). She says she normally doesn’t worry about eggs but in my case maybe it’s time to pull it back a bit….but hang on, everything I have read in paleo-land tells me that eggs are fine.

She said another comment that intruiged me, that because I fry my eggs (in coconut oil) or make an omelette that the yolk is exposed to air and they oxidise, and this may be the problem. She recommended cutting back to 2 eggs a day and only poaching under water or boiling. Have you ever heard such a thing and could it have any credence…or is it time to find a new naturopath!

I am one of your many readers from Australia and send you a big thanks for the work you do from Down Under.


The vast majority of the evidence shows that egg consumption has either no effect or a favorable effect on serum lipids, particularly if you’re eating low-carb/high-protein (terms which are usually synonymous in the medical literature):

Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases HDL in overweight men on a low-carb diet and reduces markers of metabolic syndrome.

As part of a high-protein diet, egg consumption improves blood lipid and blood glucose profiles in type 2 diabetics.

Heck, if you’re eating low-carb, eggs might actually make it work even better than a low-carb diet without eggs, probably due to the cholesterol increasing HDL and improving antioxidant function. Or, it might be the increase in HDL and LDL particle size (and probable reduction in HDL and LDL particle number) along with the higher levels of circulating antioxidants doing the trick. Or both. Either way, eggs fit quite nicely into a Primal eating plan.

Of course, you could be a rare poor responder to eggs. Some people experience increases in cholesterol (although it’s usually both HDL and LDL, so it ends up a wash in a sense). It probably won’t hurt to spend a few weeks at a lower daily egg intake just to see what happens to your lipids. They might drop. You might feel even better than before. They could also drop, and you end up feeling worse. After all, cholesterol is converted into important hormones like pregnenolone and testosterone and vital prohormones like vitamin D. Lipoproteins also deliver nutrients (beyond just cholesterol) to cells. Lower cholesterol – even LDL – isn’t always better. Don’t ignore subjective measurements of health, like energy levels, libido, workout performance, and general feelings of awesomeness.

Oxidized cholesterol from overcooked eggs might be able to increase the portion of oxidized cholesterol in your LDL particles, but I haven’t seen any evidence that it would increase circulating levels of LDL. It’s just that the LDL in your LDL particles might be a bit more oxidized and therefore prone to trigger atherosclerosis. Overall, I think the fear of oxidized cholesterol because you cooked up an omelet is overblown. High-heat, high-pressure spray drying of eggs? Yeah, that’ll oxidize the cholesterol. Cooking them up in coconut oil? Scrambling and subjecting them to a hot buttered pan for a couple minutes? I don’t think you have much to worry about.

That said, I am quite partial to soft boiled eggs. I just pop three or four in my pressure cooker with a cup of water, set it to steam for three minutes, and immediately immerse them in cold water. The white comes out soft, smooth, and fully-cooked while the yolk remains warm and runny. I mostly do it because it’s easy (I can just set the timer and walk away) and tasty (a runny yolk is paramount), but I can see it being “healthier” in that it eliminates any chance of cholesterol oxidation (not that I think we need to worry too much).

How do you explain Stefaan Engels? He ran a marathon everyday for a year, ate whatever he wanted, and showed no muscle or cartilage damage.


Engels is certainly impressive, but he’s pretty easy to explain.

He’s an outlier, well-suited for marathon running. I’ve never argued that you can’t run marathons and be healthy. I’ve merely argued that running and (most importantly) training for marathons at an elite level usually means avoiding other beneficial ways to train, and results in aches, pains, and injuries. Just because lots of slow moving, some sprinting, and heavy lifting (and even some endurance work alongside) builds more lean mass and more well-rounded fitness in a fraction of the time doesn’t mean marathoning means certain death.

Not to take anything away, but it was a parlor trick. He took an average of four hours to complete each marathon, which means he was taking a little over nine minutes per mile. For him, an elite endurance athlete (and accomplished triathlete), he probably never got past 60% of his max heart rate, which might not even qualify as chronic cardio in his case. A 9+ minute/mile pace is far better than most people could do, but it’s not very hard for him. He was taking it relatively easy. Engels’ best time was 2:56, and 4:00 is an easy jog for a guy with a sub 3:00 marathon.

As for eating whatever he wanted, exactly! When you’re training for marathons like I was, you have to be willing to shovel just about anything in, purely for the easy and quick calories. Superhuman levels of athletics often require superhuman levels of consumption – just look at Michael Phelps.

Nothing against Engels or his feats, mind you. But his situation really isn’t applicable to the average Joe, for whom I write my books and my blogs.

There were runners in the 1970s who regularly did 250 training miles a week and then raced hard and fast. My friend Dave McGillivray ran across the USA (3,452 miles) in 80 days. He turned out fine, but most of the other guys are dead or ailing now. Many of my triathlon buds had no signs of damage during their careers, but years later had big problems.

So yeah, you can do it, but it doesn’t mean you should.

That’s it for this week, guys. Thanks for reading and be sure to leave a comment!

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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102 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Eggs, More Eggs, and Marathon Man”

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  1. Your points about the unreliability of sensitivity tests are well-taken, but I don’t agree that liking a food is a good indicator that it does not cause inflammation. I can think of lots of favorite foods that cause problems 🙂 I wonder if the inflammatory response itself does not provide some sort of unhealthy positive feedback, what with the adrenal response to the inflammation.

    When I was younger I could eat HUGE quantities of macaroni and cheese, or bread with basically anything on it. Wouldn’t touch those now. Eggs are one of my favorite foods, but if I consume egg whites, I often get a mild rash on my tummy shortly after. So I just stick to the yolks.

    1. I agree with Melissa. In fact, many allergists will tell you that the first telltale sign of what you are allergic or sensitive to, food-wise, will be to look at your favorite foods.

      Otherwise, wholeheartedly agree with you.

      1. I just read this same thing in an article about Ayurvedic foods. I guess that philosophy is that the foods you crave are the foods that don’t agree with your body. Gluten would be an obvious extreme example. When I did an elimination diet recently, I took out eggs. For a while I thought that was unnecessary because eggs are good for you and I loved them so much, but when I add them back in, I get egg burps and just generally don’t feel awesome. For the time being, I’m only eating them occasionally, and strangely enough, the one time I don’t recall getting egg burps was after I had them poached. For what it’s worth, right now my gut is going through some deep healing, so I imagine that eggs won’t be a problem forever.

        1. I agree with everyone else. You often crave what you’re allergic to. People keep in mind that Mark isn’t a doctor. He’s not right about everything. But most of the time he does pretty good!! 🙂

        2. “Mark isn’t a doctor”. He’s as much of a medical doctor as what a “naturopath” is, I can assure you of that much.

        3. “People keep in mind that Mark isn’t a doctor..”

          Um, good, because Doctors tell you to take statins and eat wholegrains.

      2. Indeed love eggs, when i was young, 7 to 15, my dad fed me 2 soft boiled eggs everyday, i ate them all through uni, only protein i can afford in my uni days, but in my 40s, i started getting nausea when i eat even 2 eggs a week, spaced days apart 🙁

  2. 365 marathons in 365 days. Seriously? Is that an April Fool’s joke or something? I am guessing not. That is hard core!!

    1. Google Stefaan Engels. He did do 365 marathons in 365 days. He did not run 365 marathons though. As Mark wrote, it was an “easy jog” for him.

      1. It is definitely not ruining your body, at least not for some as Stefaan Engels maintained excellent/optimal health while undertaking this endeavor.

        1. Maybe – but it’s still a pointless waste of calories that has strong potential to wear out a body. It’s not like there was a farm being built or children or animals being helped during the process.

        2. His accomplishment to say the least was a scientific exhibition in its own right.

          Not to be combative, but to say “a pointless waste of calories” is the worst logic I’ve heard in a long while. You could say that about anything, and you could argue that most exercise is unnecessary and most certainly un-altruistic.

      2. “Great way to ruin your body . . .”

        I have to agree with you. Joint cartilage regenerates very slowly. The stresses involved in this kind of activity can cause inflammation leading to joint degeneration, arthritis, and so on.

    2. Haha nice, but nope not an April fools joke.

      Google runningthesahara for another “hard core” endurance feat. Three endurance guys ran from the east cost to the west coast of africa in 111 days.

      Like Mark says “Outliers” or as I like to think “freaks”

      Take herschal walker, amazing football player, 48 years old starts pro MMA, eats like a bird and his workout consists of something like 750 – 1500 push ups everyday and he’s built like a greek god!

      Some people just got it!

  3. So was the marathoner doing slow movement. I still jog but never really push my to where I couldnt have a conversation or sing a song. Is the line drawn at the heart rate during slow movement or something else?

  4. Elimination diet worked well for me with eggs. Got off them for a few months after they started giving me quite a few digestive issues every time I at ate them. When I came back and hesitantly tried them again I was fine and continue to be.

  5. Hey Mark,

    I liked the last bit about the marathoners, but I was wondering, weren’t you yourself a marathoner/ high level endurance athlete? Do some of the things you say/write/ talk about pertain to a higher level of athletics and a different type of genetic makeup? I am just wondering! Thanks.

  6. I’m not convinced about liking eggs being an indicator that it’s not a problem food. My favourite foods are pasta, bread, and pastries and it never occurred to me that they were a problem (well, except for pastries). Does that make them okay to eat? I do agree about that Ig allergy testing must be taken in context with qualitative assessments too.

  7. Eggs eggs good for your heart, the more you eat the more you… Well maybe that jingle doesn’t apply here, or maybe it does. Eggs are so versitile and delicious that I cannot imagine not having them in my diet. As for marathons they taste disgusting, and make my body hurt. You won’t catch me eating any of them. As always good read and thanks for the insight Mark.

  8. I just got my cholesterol checked and I’m at a total of 186, down from 211 last March. Back then, I got a stern note from my doctor to go on a “cholesterol reducing diet,” which I’m fairly certain did not include eggs (or meat). I don’t know for sure as I ignored the note.

    My recent test shows that my LDL went down a tad over the past year from 88 to 77, but so did my HDL, with an end ratio of 2.4 (I got a smiley face on my report sheet this year, no stern note!). The only thing I’ve done differently all year is eat predominantly primal, cut out grains (excepting for a little bread/rice when eating out with others) and…can you guess it? Yup, two eggs a day, almost every single day for an entire year. There was an odd day here and there where I just didn’t feel like I wanted eggs, but for the most part, I love ’em and eat ’em every day, lightly scrambled in coconut oil, organic butter or olive oil spray.

    Eggs rule.

    1. Personally, I don’t think I could ever go to any doctor ever again, unless it’s a primal/paleo infused one! Don’t trust a single one of the conventional wisdom doc’s.

      1. DITTO… been looking into acupuncture and doctors in my area that practice holistic methods… I got toddler twins and am getting a LITTLE tired of arguing with their pediatrician about why I don’t want them vaccinated.

        1. Jenn – You are their mother and are final authority on their health.

          That said, there is a reason why your pediatrician is arguing with you. Whooping cough, measles, polio, etc are not to be taken lightly. The problem is they aren’t in living memory anymore. If you’ve had seen a case of even whooping cough (I pray you never have), I suspect there might be less of a discussion.

          If they have a weakened immune systems, that’s an argument to carefully space doses rather ignore it entirely.

          The connection of vaccines to developmental problems has never properly proven — the main issue is that developmental problems are diagnosed/noticed around the end of the first major immunization series. That does not create a causal relationship, however. People tend to anchor when they first noticed something against an “event” to try to understand it. Little Johnny acting weird after their 12 month Doc visit may have happened anyway, even if he never visited.

          So yea, a paleo stranger on the ‘Net is arguing with you too. There is a good reason though. I have no love for most of the drugs,diet, or even the newborn care advice of Western medicine. I ignore most of it. However, I’m willing to brave all the stupidity for the scientific miracle that are immunizations. They are the only real reason I have brought my obviously healthy children to “well-child” visits.

          Good luck finding a provider that suits better. I’ve had to search, too.

        1. Amy, I only had whooping cough last year, it went on for 6 months and and I didn’t know I had it for months, I just though it was an annoying cough! I have no idea who may have caught it from me. 🙁

      2. I agree with you. However, being a Registered Nurse who’s been primal/paleo oriented through nursing school and my career thus far I will say that rest assured if you’re in a hospital that I’m working at, when that doctor leaves the room and we have one on one time I will personally educate anyone who’s willing and be the little birdy that refers them to this site. Most people want to take a natural route and people like me want to share their stories and point them in the right direction. I know other nurses who are doing the same. I just hope this movement keeps growing.

        Also re: eggs…

        an old topic where some of us discussed sensitivity and how to overcome it. I had to stop eating eggs for over a month completely for a reaction that manifested in a rash and numbness in my throat. After taking a break it has never come back.

      3. I already know what I’m getting my doctor for Christmas. 3 Books – Mark’s Primal Living, Wheat Belly (by William Davis) and Grain Brain (by David Perlmutter) … those of us in the know need to start re-educating our physicians. Lol

  9. Regarding egg allergies: I used to break out in hives after consuming eggs, however, eggs are one of my favourite foods.
    The issue resolved after switching brands. Now I only eat high quality pastures eggs, and all allergic reactions disappeared. I stay away from cheap store brands.

  10. I believe Mark was saying that since true egg allergy causes anaphylactic shock, no one who has such an allergy is likely to love eggs (since anaphylaxis is not very enjoyable!). Remember there is a difference between a food allergy (the kind you’d find on an IgG blood test) and a food intolerance (what lots of people are mentioning in the comments – egg burps and such).

      1. You can develop an anaphylactic reaction to food later in life, by which time you may already love the food. I was in my twenties when shrimp began causing swellings and mucous to overproduce. I know what anaphylaxis is, having had the reaction to insect stings.

        It was horrifying to suddenly start reacting to my favourite food! So I didn’t believe it at first and chocked up the symptoms to something else. Bad idea: it only got worse each time I let shrimp touch my tongue. The last time involved full body hives, swollen tongue, lots of mucous, and a big drop in blood pressure.

        I still sometimes dream about eating shrimp. I miss it so much.

    1. When I had my IgG panel done, there was little distinction made between a true allergy, sensitivity, and intolerance. Just noting! Sometimes those things are confusing if you do not know the questions to ask.

  11. Yes.. someone please expand on Mark’s Eggs-in-the Pressure cooker idea. The only pressure cooker I am aware of is the big heavy iron pot my mom used to make roasts in on the stove and it weighed about 20 pounds. Is there a smaller version? I’d love to do quick soft-cooked eggs! Thanks!

  12. After weight gain that was a runaway train, I had NAET to solve my food sensitivities…I was relieved that I didn’t have to cross things off my list forever. Often food sensitivites can appear due to a trauma (like an injury) or adrenal fatigue or exposure to antibiotics or chlorine. I never had had any sensitivities before, but all of a sudden after an injury, they appeared. Heredity can be a factor too. I was losing my body shape I’d worked so hard for, but now after addressing these, it’s returning!

    1. Lisa- What’s NAET? I’ve had some (a lot) of weight gain mostly in the past 9 months and I can’t figure out why. My eating is always primal I workout a couple times a week. I initially lost 30lbs and felt SO so so amazing and like ME for the first time in my life (not exaggerating) and that last about 8 months. The last year has been a weird ride- I think i had major adrenal fatigue in the late summer/ early fall and have since gained more weight. I’ve been wondering if I’ve developed an intolerance to something.

      1. I have been reading a lot about how our natural levels of progesterone can get really low. And, there are all kinds of things that can cause that, including your period, hormonal birth control, childbirth, antibiotics, and many other things. That can contribute to all kinds of problems. But, conventional medicine has created all kind’s of problems prescribing synthetic hormones. Synthetic progestin actually works completely opposite of the natural progesterone. Whereas the natural hormone is anti-inflammatory and protective against breast cancer, the artificial causes inflammation and breast cancer. Plus many other things.

        I think there is some information about that on this website. Might want to explore that. Lots of places to look. Be very careful in making sure you are looking at the effects of the natural hormone.

  13. While it’s true that Stefaan Engels is an elite athlete, he looks so thin and “weak” compared to sprinters. I’d rather to have a sprinter’s body over Stefaan Engels and his likes anytime, anywhere…

    As for eggs, I developed CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome) in my right wrist when I consumed the eggs from Organic Valley. It was so bad that I couldn’t carry the grocery bag with my right hand. Due to Organic Valley’s cost, I changed to different brand and my CTS went away. It hasn’t come back in spite of heavy workout (weightlifting) and such.

    So maybe try a different brand of eggs would make a difference regarding rashes, etc? Just a thought.

    1. Yeah, marathoners being the model of “health/elite athleticism” gets a tad old. The ‘winners’ all look like starvation victims and the only people who like they enjoyed themselves are the Africans. Tell me what else marathoners can do really well other than cover 26 miles slower than the cheap car in my driveway. 😉

  14. When i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (18/18 Tender-Points), i started an strict gluten- and caseinfree diet. Additional i eleminated eggs and everything from the nightshade-family for about one year.
    After one year was done i restartet eggs and nightshade with success, but with gluten an casein that did not work. So i went on paleo (primal) as an all time solution incl. eggs and i am symtomfree since, as long as i stay away from any kind of gluten. I used a IgG test additional in the beginning, but i think you can skip that test and simply start a primal life.

  15. for easter, my wife’s family made 2 egg bakes, one with real eggs and one with egg beaters. We were told the egg beaters were for the ‘health conscious’ and the real eggs were for the ones who ‘didnt care about their cholesterol'(said in joking way but i know they werent joking). when told i must not care about my cholesterol because i took the real eggs, i said “i do thats why im choosing the real eggs!” I had to really bite my tongue to not go off on a long tangent about what foods are good and bad and why..everyone would have really thought i was crazy then!

    My wife’s whole fam is stuck in the CW rut of low fat, healthy grain diet, and i cant get them out of it(and they are generally health conscious people)! when i tell them i eat up to 6 whole eggs at once sometimes, they give me a crazy look and ask what my chol is…i tell them my chol was fine at my last test several months back(trig 25, hdl 95, ldl 121)but they just cant seem to make the changes. and my father-in-law is even on statins!
    I think its just a lack of knowledge and being misguided all these years by CW. Oh well, guess ill just keep trying…

  16. I would be so sad if I couldn’t eat eggs. Then again, I said that a few years ago about bread!

  17. In relation to eggs: intestinal permeability might be the root cause for what is perceived as egg allergy due to enzyme lysozome present in egg whites that breaks down intestinal barrier. Eating egg yolks should be fine.

    1. Cooking the egg inactivates the enzymes (all enzymes are proteins, proteins denature during cooking, meaning their structure is destroyed, changing from specific little balls to long threads that get tangled together. This is why eggs turn solid when cooked.)
      I don’t see how lysosyme can do anything to your gut, unless you are eating the eggs raw.

  18. I love eggs and am totally intolerant. Westinghouse half an egg causes some very gross digestive issues.
    Will try antibiotics and eliminating them for a while and see what happens when I reintroduce.

  19. Agreeing with those who say favorite foods are not necessarily good for us! Grain-based foods were without a doubt my favorites & the mainstay of my diet before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Oops!

    I’ve replaced my grainy breakfast with eggs, butter & yogurt now, & I feel so much better for it. More energy, more focus, no mid-morning bonk. I sure hope I never develop an egg intolerance!

  20. As far as eggs and your LDL, if you look up The Eating Academy site and read Peter Attia’s cholesterol series, that will give a better perspective on how to interpret cholesterol testing. It’s better to get a lipoprotein particle count because this is what actually correlates with risk of heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol counts don’t really mean anything. Peter Attia is a medical doctor and he has articles about this on his website.

  21. I can only tolerate about two eggs per week, they make the roof of my mouth swell. So for breakfast, I have gluten free oatmeal with a spoonful of coconut oil and a spoonful of butter. And plain full fat yogurt with blueberries.

  22. I would caution the person in the first case, don’t NOT cut out eggs either. Try it and see what happens (like Mark says, of course)! My doctor ordered one of those IgG things, and it came back negative to wheat — which he warned me just in case I was a normal person did not mean it was okay to eat if previously I had known it made me feel like crap — but positive to eggs, both white and yolk. I stopped eating my daily lunch omelette and within two days felt 100x better, with many of the symptoms for which I had seen the doctor in the first place disappearing. One caveat: I have never been able to eat eggs first thing in the morning or by themselves, it has given me an upset stomach since I was a little kid. For me they have to be mixed in with other foods anyway. They were definitely not one of my favorite foods, although I ate them since they were relatively cheap (Amish-sourced, usually, or another local farmer) and a good source of protein. And I do not miss them. But give it a try and see if it helps anything.

  23. Someone above mentioned the quality of the eggs affecting their reaction. From the little I’ve read, it seems that there is a huge difference in the “makeup” of eggs, depending on their quality. Can anyone add to this thought?

    1. Certainly! You know the old adage, “You are what you eat.” Well, eggs are what the chicken eats. That is why homegrown, organic, free-range eggs are a completely different food than the store-bought. After-all, it is only a day (a few hours) or two max between when the chicken eats and when the egg forms.

      So, if the chickens are fed corn and calcium supplements, etc, they will have a different color, different taste, and a different nutritional/allergy content than if they are free-range eating insects, watermelon rhine, egg shells, garden veggies, and given other things. I’d say, if you are allergic or sensitive to anything in the chickens food, you might have a problem with the eggs. And, if the birds are dining on grasses sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, you can also have a reaction to that.

      Since big-scale productions might change vendors or food sources depending on economic viability, that can change what is in the eggs.

  24. Egg whits are known to be one of the most common food sensitivities. I had no idea I was allergic to them till I did a blood test both IgE and IgG. I did not have any symptoms to eggs that i could tell but nor did i to gluten which came up as an allergen as well. But cutting them out made my inflammation go down. I did howver discover QUAIL EGGS!! The little weird looking speckled eggs hidden away on a top shelf in your grocery store. Quail eggs actually can help allergies!!! You need to use about 3-4 to get the equivilant of one regular egg. They taste better then chicken eggs and are relatively less exspensive. check out the benefits here to quail eggs:

  25. I just can’t help myself here. I am a doc. There are good reasons to criticize some of modern medicine, of course. But recognize that the biggest problems occur when some loud politician makes a cause out of science that is still developing. Without the McGovern report, maybe scientists could have teased out much sooner what is going on with glucose, fat, cholesterol, insulin, and LDL but the government froze us into the fat phobia in the 1970’s. Similar thing happened with Global Warming science; the frank dishonesty to try to comply with the government funding put us back at least ten years. Some scientists actually made up tree ring data to fit their preconceptions. Scientists fall prey to confirmation bias just like “ordinary folk” do.

    As far as naturopaths, no immunizations, I believe you have the right to do as you wish. Just recognize the contradiction in your position if you read this site because of the science, and yet do other things that are untested. Modern medicine, when at its best, works by actually testing treatments against each other and against placebo (no treatment.) We have made huge advances that way. The usual naturopath or accupuncturist has some interesting theories, and they may be correct, but ask them for controlled studies if you wish to consider yourself scientific.

    Immunizations? My kids got them all. I get a flu shot every year. The science says that it improves your odds of survival, at the cost of a small number of adverse reactions in a small number of people. The theory that immunizations caused autism was fabricated by a British doc (Wakefield) who did a terrible study then got big payoffs from attorneys. Huge, damaging, fraud. Measles, rubella, diphteria, polio, tetanus, influenza, pertussis were huge killers of children before immunizations and some have made resurgences. Want to know one of the main reasons for Grok’s life expectancy being 33? Childhood infections.

    Your doctor is not going to be correct about everything; he or she is a flawed human working with an incredibly complex biological system and a massive amount of medical science to absorb. But if you get appendicitis, I’d suggest that a surgeon will do you better than an accupuncturist!

      1. I so agree with Jim and Lisa. I do feel like medicine is beginning now and it’ll be really good in another century or two but immunizations make a lot of sense on many levels and it’s a kindness to your neighbors to get them.

    1. Nice try Doc, but I’m not buying it! Traditional doctors are never trained to fix an underlying problem, they just tell you what to take to cover up the problem. Doctors are very, very ignorant of a good diet and how it effects health. Of course having a doctor around for appendicitis is great and for broken bones, etc. I would never go to a classically trained doctor for much else. When we take back our own health, most doctors will go broke. They are way overpaid for what they do. They try to call it Healthcare, but it is really Sickcare.

      1. Ah, lovely. I’ll take the word of a guy who doesn’t even know the difference between “affects” and “effects” over the word of a doctor. Right.

    2. @Jim: You’re a doc. I have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. His doc is very CW and has put him on statins. I am very pro-Paleo from everything that I’ve read and experienced, but he trusts CW more, and believes the SAD is the healthy way. How do you promote this Paleo lifestyle with so many who are set against it, when you KNOW that it will help if not cure them of their ailments?

    3. @Jim – well said. I think paleo and modern medicine can co-exist and even combine synergistically for much better health – though, sadly, often this is not the case.

    4. great awesome read doc. I assume you are not the proud owner of a vaccine injured child. Sadly I am, and he has been working hard to heal this past year on a paleo diet and being detoxed from heavy metals 🙁 Go PRACTICE medicine on others who don’t care about their health!

      1. Lin – I’m sorry about your child. I’m going to say this, though – no one really knows what causes developmental issues. Much goes into human development and you don’t have a “control” child. You don’t know what would have happened if you never went. You might be dealing with the same issues if you had never vaccinated.

        And if your child had gotten one of the diseases that vaccines prevent, you’d easily be cursing Docs more than this post (and rightly so). The high fevers associated with whooping cough, etc can easily seizures and permanent brain damage. Let’s not even get started on polio. Heck, the last time I read they don’t even use mercury anymore to preserve vaccines because they’ve taken the criticism about heavy metals to heart. 🙁

        1. I don’t normally agree with western docs except when it comes to surgery, but I agree that immunizations are critical to our collective health. When you don’t immunize your child you are relying on the fact that other people are immunizing their kids so that yours doesn’t get sick. Small pox wasn’t eradicated through diet… We need to appreciate western medicine for what it has given us, which is a lot, and educate them where they’ve fallen short. No system is perfect.

    5. I was a ecologist, and I read scientific papers on health from time to time. I’m not ignorant. Nor are most on this blog. Neither are you, obviously. It takes a lot of brains and stamina and determination to get a doctor’s degree. So, I’m not knocking your knowledge.

      The problem is, not only are we what we eat, we are where we spend our time. I have no doubt that you have many reasons to want to vaccinate, and that worked out okay for you. But, if you spent as much time studying what is in vaccines and how each ingredient affects our bodies, and if you would live through the life of someone whose child was happy and healthy one day and not the next – or ever again – maybe you would at least be able to respect the decision that so many of us have made to not inject dangerous substances into the bodies of the children we love.

      Seriously, I do understand where you are coming from. I just wish you could really, with open an open mind, look at all the evidence that tells us that vaccinations are about reaching the masses – not about what is right for the individual. For instance, most would say mango is very healthy for you – eat it. But, if my son eats it, he swells up. Hmmm. Lots of research, the fact that I had convulsions after a vaccination when I was a child, and many, many other factors led me to decide against vaccinations. Believe me, I have done a lot of homework. And, my kids are now teenagers and have been extremely healthy.

      This really is a very personal decision. Yet, I have had doctors tell my small children that mommy was making a terrible mistake and they would die because of it! All because she had a ridiculous belief that I was irresponsible. And, we have been refused to be seen by a doctor due to our choice. And, I’ve had doctors that pressured us to get them every time we saw them – even for a spider bite. How is that helping anyone? Still, I had a very close friend who was a doctor who respected our decision. He didn’t agree, but he realized that the research could be justified and that we could be correct.

      Furthermore, the timing of vaccinations is certainly not in consideration of what is best for our immune system. I have had doctors tell me right up front that it wasn’t best, but it was the best time to catch the child before they weren’t required to see a doctor anymore for well-child visits before school, etc. And, this idea that you give a tetanus shot when you’ve had a snake bite? Absurd and total hype. First of all, and most importantly, if you’ve already been exposed, then the shot won’t help you! Look it up. It’s too late. Second, some good open-would cleansing with hydrogen peroxide will take care of it! Third, most snakes do NOT carry tetanus. Duh. So, what’s the shot for? To keep doctors from liability, make the drug company more money, etc. OR, I prefer to believe that it is simply ignorance. That, like the rest of us, doctors and hospitals simply can’t keep up with the all the information and are doing what they think is best – even if it isn’t.

      I also am disturbed at your jab with the acupuncturist. Yes, some might chose that route. But, you must know that many of us appreciate what doctors are best at – emergency care and containment, and the like. But, like the rest of us, you are still groping in the dark and being educated by money-hungry drug companies. You are what you learn and where you spend your time.

      Please, accept this as a humble, thought-provoking response. I really mean no offense. I know you want what is best for everyone. Please respect that we do, too.

      1. I think there’s a big difference between people who avoid the shots for actual reasons (ie, medical history of bad reactions) vs people who avoid the shots because of mass hysteria and lies (ie, autism, mercury poisoning).

        I’m someone who reacted very negatively to vaccines as a child. I had to skip many of my routine vaccinations. That meant I had to rely on other children and herd immunity to keep me alive. Your son has to rely on other people getting vaccines to stay alive.

        People who don’t get vaccines are putting the lives of me and your children at risk. It’s reasonable to be angry about that. People who don’t have good reason to avoid vaccines should be vaccinated, for the sake of people who DO have good reason.

        For the record, I do believe a parent having convulsive reactions to a vaccine is a good reason to avoid vaccinations in the child. I think it’s bull doctors gave you a hard time — but in today’s environment when so many are needlessly unvaccinated, I can see why they might. You can rely on herd immunity less and less.

        1. Thank you for respectfully responding.

          I would like to offer another thought-provoking point. You state that people who don’t get vaccines put the lives of you and your children at risk. Please, I exhort you, think about that statement. Look at your fear rationally. If vaccinations truly work, then they protect you and your children. There is absolutely no reason to fear an unvaccinated person. That fear is the reason my child was not accepted into a private pre-school and the reason she was unjustly treated as a threat. They said she put the other children at risk. This makes absolutely no sense. If all the children are vaccinated, by the theory of vaccination, they won’t get the diseases. So, where is the risk? If you believe that there is risk, then you also must believe that vaccinations don’t work. If you believe they don’t work, then why take them? If you believe they work part-time, then your child is just as much a threat as my child. So, again, why be afraid of my child any more than yours?

          And, in reverse, why is my daughter at risk? There should be no outbreak. Yet, she will be the first sent home from her high school if there is an out-break. Why? We have chosen to take the risk. The state is not responsible because we signed a waiver. And, if the outbreak happens, why? If vaccinations work, then it shouldn’t happen in the vaccinated population. But, it does.

          Furthermore, most of the diseases that we vaccinate for are really a very mild childhood disease and nothing life-threatening. Yet, we put toxic substances into our children to protect them from the possibility of a short illness or maybe one or two scars. If you counter with the the thought that sometimes it can develop into something worse, I’ll counter with the knowledge that a vaccine is a deliberate injection of unknown toxins with unknown and possibly long-term consequences. And, that there is just as much, if not dramatically more, possibilities for adverse and extreme consequences – especially when you consider that we usually give these to babies whose immune system is still developing – putting them at even greater danger.

          Furthermore, I would never consider injecting my child with anything dangerous, no matter how “good” it was for society. I am supposed to protect my children. First do no harm. I’d rather deal with the consequences of a natural event than to be the cause of harm.

          On a bigger scale, one could argue that focusing on the community instead of the individual health is really no different than allowing the Jews to be killed because it was better for Germany. (I know I’ll get slammed for that one.) Seriously, who decides what is best for a collective? Who decides what individuals are a threat to our society? How can we be a free people if we are forced to inject ourselves with chemicals we don’t want? We are already medicated or poisoned with fluoride against our will unless we pay for cleaning it out of our water – which you can never completely do once it gets into our rivers and water bodies. Where does it end?

          As far as herd immunity, that is also not held up by facts. Most of the cases of outbreaks occur in heavily vaccinated populations. From personal experience, I can tell you that I was vaccinated for rubella 3 times. Yet, I still have no immunity. That is because these vaccinations do not last a life-time. And, they often don’t last the year. My doctor said not to worry about getting another shot for rubella before I got pregnant the second time, because she knew it didn’t work. And, unless there is a regular immunity testing program in place, most people don’t know they aren’t immune, unless they get pre-natal testing and discover it.

          I’ll let this article from a medical doctor explain the myth of herd immunity further.

          There are numerous other articles talking about the connection between timing, efficacy, and even genetics as factors for the reasons that vaccines fail. And, they do fail. So, as with all medical care, vaccinations should be addressed on an individual basis, with all the facts, and left to the individual to decide – not to a government or community.

          For a funny stress relief, look at this episode of the Brady Bunch to see how much our culture has changed on their attitude toward minor childhood illness. Why have we made it public enemy number one? My guess is the profit factor of drug companies.

          As far as polio, yes, serious, for sure. But, a healthy diet low in sugar has proven to be the best defense. It is an industrial nation disease for a reason. We need to evaluate our whole approach to our health instead of trying to take a shot to keep us safe.

  26. I was wondering if anyone has done a study comparing the effect on allergic reactions between eggs from free range chickens and the eggs that are normally available in the supermarket? Perhaps the people with allergies are not allergic to eggs per-se, but to something that results from improper feeding of chickens.

    1. A study of one, but I can eat cheap eggs and the Tropical Tradition eggs, but eating organic eggs (or organic chickens) makes my back and shoulders sore. The organic chickens are fed nothing but organic grains and soy, which I don’t tolerate. I find it strange that the cheap eggs don’t set me off to the degree that the organic ones do.

  27. While I normally agree with Mark on the majority of his posts, there’s always the exceptions, I suppose. I’m going to have to disagree with Mark’s advice on this one; I had a broad IgG panel done, and I reacted in the ‘red zone’ with all wheats (as well as most fruits and some starchy vegetables). However, I had no outward symptoms that were severe enough to convince me to cut wheat for almost six years after I had the test done. If the IgG panel is showing a reaction to eggs, the responsible thing would be to cut out eggs and see if the sensitivity goes away, and work with a nutritionist to hopefully reintroduce the offending food.

    However, I suppose if it were me, I would hope that it was something else in the eggs I were reacting to (eggs not coming from the best farm, eggs that were probably ‘free range’ but not pastured and still not having access to the best foods) and try to change my source. Either way, best of luck.

  28. I can’t eat eggs unfortunately – they give me headaches & make me feel sick (but that is possibly a gallbladder issue, as 90% of gallbladder attacks are traced back to eggs as being a trigger). Maybe I will be able to go back to eating them one day. I have tried ducks eggs and quail eggs as well, but after a while, I got the same reactions from those also. I wonder if the allergy tests are conducted on organic free range eggs or battery eggs?

    With regard to marathons, my husband used to run marathons and thinks nothing of doing 100 mile cycle races. However this has now taken it’s toll on him. He thought he was really fit and healthy, so was very shocked when out of the blue, he now finds that he has an enlarged heart on one side and atrial fibrillation. Apparently this is quite common with endurance sports. He did used to push himself very hard and is now paying the price for it.

    1. 90% of gallbladder attacks are NOT caused by eggs. I think the statistic you’re referencing is that, of people with gallbladder issues, 95% are triggered by eggs.

  29. This is very informational. I never knew anyone could be allergic to eggs. Glad there’s so much talk about it here in case anyone asks. That is my one go-to protein food. I mean I have a lot but eggs… I love eggs for breakfast and sometimes dinner too. As for running. I’m up to half marathons and not sure my body can handle any more than that nor do I have time to train for one. I think it’s amazing what some people can endure…guess I should have started a lot earlier in life. I’m going to stick to my 10 min pace and be really happy with that for now 🙂 Thanks for the article.

  30. I just discovered this site thanks for all the information I will definitely be getting myself here more often. I do have a question do you think it’s healthy to chop green onions and put them into your egg whites?

    1. Why egg whites? Chop up those green onions and put them in the yokes too! Enjoy!

  31. The fact that I’m on this site, eating primal/low carb, exercising moderately, and not worrying my pretty little head about my LDL-C numbers says that I agree with much of what goes on here. The CW about fat, diet, calories, whole grains was mostly pushed on us without good science. You should definitely take the doc’s advice as just that, advice. Gentle efforts at re-educating the doc are fine, and it is your choice.

    There is, in my mind, a big difference between taking advice on statins, which are heavily marketed with unclear benefits to multiple populations, and immunizing the kids. There is a big difference between taking nutrition advice from a family medicine doc, and taking advice on how to treat an acute infection or pneumonia. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; recognize that modern medicine has had spectacular successes but is still an imperfect human enterprise and you have to interact with it intelligently.

  32. Has anyone ever wondered if significant egg consumption is really paleo/primal? Most of our primal ancestors would have had limited access to eggs (aside from roosting season for birds or availability of reptile eggs). And many of our ancestors would not have even had access in that regard. At best, I think eggs would have been a rare treat, certainly not a daily food.

    I think the paleo community too frequently labels a particular food “fair-game” and believers assume they can eat it every day with abandon.

    Vary your diet!

  33. I’m concerned by the nonchalant attitude toward frying eggs, particularly in such large numbers. The unsaturated component of eggs may become oxidized by the high temperatures involved in frying. LDLs may also become damaged, and it is oxidized LDLs that tend to contribute to atherosclerosis.

    Too much polyunsaturated fat in our diets is known to cause arterial damage and to contribute to heart disease. If that fat becomes oxidized, progression of the damage is likely to be greatly accelerated. Eggs contain a significant amount of polyunsaturated fat. I think moderation is the best policy.

  34. Dear Mark…I need to know how to cook eggs in a pressure cooker. Last time I used one, a 15 minute cool down period was required before removing the lid to avoid an explosion of boiling hot liquid. Also, how does one eat soft boiled eggs without toast? This was one of my favorite meals before going paleo and I haven’t come up with a good substitute yet.

    Regarding supermarket eggs…the over-the-top food laws here in Canada require just about everything to be dipped in bleach before being sold. They’re even promoting that practice to farmers selling their produce in farmers’ markets even tho it’s not law (yet). A friend once told me that supermarket eggs are also dipped in a bleach solution. I can’t prove this and don’t know for sure if it’s true but it would be worth checking out. Since we started eating eggs from our own chickens, we’ve found out how good eggs can be.

  35. Another MDA coincedence. Yesterday I was considering emailing and asking about eggs and what may be an excessive amount.
    I had a dozen boiled and ate them all in about an hour. It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten eggs regularly. They used to be a staple for me and are still a favourite food. Now when I eat them I want to stuff myself.
    Conventional eggs in a store here sell for $1.95/dozen (one of the few foods I find affordable) so I’m considering making them my main staple. 2 dozen would be food for a day.

  36. My wife and I have taken to eaten dishes with raw eggs in order to get the most benefit from the yokes. I’m glad to hear so much info supporting eggs as an amazing source of nutrition!

  37. @biskitball — and all others — just for (my own) edification’s sake, I checked out the nutritional data for a conventional egg, and there’s less than 1 gram of PUFA in each egg, out of about 5.5 grams of total fat, the biggest proportion of fat actually coming from MUFA (2.1 grams) then saturated (just under 2) [and no I don’t know where the other mystery 1 gram of fat went to/or what it is) — BUT the point is this: even eating 2 or more eggs a day, doesn’t amount to much in the way of PUFA — and if you’re eating Omega 3 eggs (chickens fed flaxseed) then you’re getting a good balance of Omega 3’s to 6’s anyway … I probably eat a dozen (organic, Omega 3) eggs a week, and my blood lipid readings at the age of 52 — and with some genetics weighing against me in terms of family histories of high cholesteral — are EXCELLENT. oh and just have to say how much I love eggs and their versatility for meals morning, noon or night – poached, over easy, lightly boiled in a salad, or as omelettes — virtually any way. Sometimes I’ll have an omelette stuffed with vegetables like broccoli or spinach and a little (organic, grass fed, raw milk) cheese for dinner.

  38. I used to have a terrible egg allergy to the point where my throat would become itchy and my face would turn red. I did my best avoid them, especially the egg whites, in order to avoid that very uncomfortable feeling. That was, until I went primal/paleo and took the grains out. Now I am 100% fine with eggs. I eat 2, 3, sometimes more each day without any issue. I have no idea why this has changed so dramatically but I’m not complaining. It’s just gone.


    1. Speaking of eggs- made incredible Easter eggs this year. Google marbled Easter eggs from southern living. Basically they were pickled with beets and it was the actual egg that was colored not just the shell! Plus u get pickled beets to boot! It does call for sugar ( used coconut sugar). Delish and gorgeous!

  39. Proteins in the egg white are different for each species of bird. In my case I have a chicken egg intolerance, but have no issue with duck or quail eggs. If nothing else, the chicken egg problem was a great excuse for me to raise my own ducks.

  40. I can attest to the severity of egg allergies as my daughter has a life-threatening allergy to them. And her IgE test absolutely shows it. She gets a skin test and blood test every year (.35 is considered allergic, 6.00 is the top of the scale, she measures anywhere between a 10.00 and 19.00). I absolutely believe in the test’s ability to pick up on subtle allergies and intolerances. Please don’t discount the test… It can be one piece of information in beginning to figure out how to fix issues in one’s health.

    Currently we rely almost exclusively on our chiropractor for our healthcare except for our annual trip for vaccinations (which don’t get me started on how I feel about those who don’t vaccinate). He has helped our family’s health much more than our MD who only wanted to prescribe pills for everything.

    I would love to switch my whole family over to primal, but I’m still not sure about my kids. I do believe it would be best for all of us, but not sure how we would go about it. S
    Dinners I can handle… But what do you send in a school lunch? And what do you do for breakfast without eggs?

  41. In the past 6 months, I’ve been addressing some things, and with success. As a result I’m now back in karate. I train 5-6x a week simply because I love it and also because I will be competing in Brazil in 2014. Each class is about 50 mins. The team practices are 3 hours (but only every few weeks).

    Is this considered anything extensive or hard? Would a 150g cho still be good enough for optimal health/performance? I will stick to having varied effects from eating before class and not after or not eating before class but eating afterwards for the two different effects you discussed these strategies can have.

    I also walk quite a lot, but for the walking I find I can walk longer if fasted anyway. Soon I might not be able to walk as much as I’d like due to heavier work schedule. (This saddens me, but the $$ is nice too).


  42. Alright internet, I need some help. I am looking for a healthy primal breakfast for a house with small children, one of which has an egg allergy. Any suggestions for recipes, or even just main ingredients would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Ok, I’ll bite. I don’t know if your kids like smoothies but my son will drink one some days. I put in fresh frozen fruit (like peaches) and then a tiny bit of milk, a couple of tablespoons of yogurt, a dab of maple syrup for sweetness, some vanilla for smoothness and some sort of protein, whirr that up in the blender and Viola! a wonderful smoothie. It’s carb heavy with the fruit but kids will burn them more than us grandma types so no prob. We use eggs for the protein but there’s gotta be something that you could drop in there for that, or maybe just serve with a side of bacon? 🙂

  43. Good call! I think I’ve got all those things on hand…including the bacon 🙂

  44. People with the ApoE4 gene are one of those rare poor responder to eggs because this gene is not suited for a diet high in cholesterol or saturated fat unfortunately.