“Where do you get your protein?” is the most common question I hear, but next on the list is: “What’s wrong with eggs?”
Eggs have zero dietary fiber, and about 70 percent of their calories are from fat—a big portion of which is saturated. They are also loaded with cholesterol—about 213 milligrams for an average-sized egg. People with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or high cholesterol should consume fewer than 200 milligrams of cholesterol each day.
Eggs hold every piece of the puzzle needed to produce a new life. It holds all the nutrients required to create feathers, eyes, a beak, a brain, a heart… It takes a lot to make such a complex being.
Contrary to popular belief, humans have no biological need to consume any cholesterol at all. Our bodies synthesize our own cholesterol in sufficient quantities.
In addition to the nutritional components of an egg being excessive for humans, another health hazard exists. Eggs are the perfect host for salmonella—the leading cause of food poisoning in some countries. Mostly because eggshells are fragile, porous, and conditions on egg/chicken farms are crowded.
The Negative Health Effects of Eggs
In an analysis of dietary habits, people who consumed just 78 eggs/year had nearly five times the risk for colon cancer, compared with those who consumed fewer than 11 per year. [International Journal of Cancer 1992]
The World Health Organization analyzed data from 34 countries in 2003 and found that eating eggs is associated with higher death rates from colon and rectal cancers.
A 2011 study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed that eating eggs is linked to developing prostate cancer.
By consuming 2.5 eggs per week, men increased their risk for a deadly form of prostate cancer by 81 percent, compared with men who consumed less than 0.5 eggs per week.
Finally, even moderate egg consumption tripled the risk of developing bladder cancer. [International Urology and Nephrology 2005]
A review of 14 studies published earlier this year in the journal: Atherosclerosis, showed that people who consumed the most eggs increased their risk for diabetes by 68%, compared with those who ate the fewest.
In a 2008 publication for the Physicians’ Health Study, which included more than 21,000 participants, researchers found that those who consumed seven or more eggs per week had an almost 25% increased risk of death compared to those with the lowest egg consumption. The risk of death for participants with diabetes who ate seven or more eggs per week increased by 100% compared to those who consumed the least amount of eggs.
Egg consumption also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, according to two 2011 studies referenced in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Women who consumed the most eggs had a 77% increased risk of diabetes in one study and a 165% increased risk in the other, compared with those who consumed the least.
A blanket warning was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, informing readers that ceasing egg consumption after a heart attack would be “a necessary act, but late.”
In the previously mentioned 14-study review from the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers found that people who consumed the most eggs increased their risk for cardiovascular disease by 19%, and if those people already had diabetes, the risk for developing heart disease jumped to 83% with increased egg consumption.
New research published in 2016 has shown that a byproduct of choline, a component that is particularly high in eggs, increases one’s risk for a heart attack, stroke, and death.
What About Egg Whites and Protein?
Inevitably, this discussion also leads to another question: “What about egg whites?”
Egg whites are a very concentrated source of animal protein.
Most people in North America and other developed countries get far more protein than they need. By adding a concentrated source of protein to the diet can increase the risk for kidney disease, kidney stones, and some types of cancer.
By avoiding eggs and consuming more plant-based foods, you will not only decrease your intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, and animal protein, but also increase your intake of protective fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.