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Growing up, we were all taught the importance of the food pyramid as a guideline for diet and nutrition. It was constantly drilled into our brains that following this pyramid and consuming the right amount of servings from each food group was fundamental to our health.
Although this still serves as a general guide to healthy eating, research over the years has created ever-changing answers as to how much of these particular foods in each group we should or should not eat based on what they contain in order to decrease the likelihood of developing serious health conditions that can have a negative impact on our lives.
Of these foods, one that has been under constant debate which most of us consume fairly often, and some every single day, are eggs. Questioning whether or not eggs are, in fact, actually healthy for us, what benefits they provide and whether or not there is a safe or unsafe amount we should be consuming each day, are topics of scrutiny under frequent consideration.
Well according to new research, there apparently is a limit as to how many eggs we should be consuming daily. CBS News just reported a new in-depth study that was recently conducted and published today in JAMA which goes against prior nutrition guidelines, stating that due to the high amount of dietary cholesterol contained in egg yolks that those who eat just three to four eggs per week increase their risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
Based on these findings, they are now requesting that the U.S. dietary guidelines, last updated in 2015, which outlined no limit on cholesterol or eggs, be updated and changed back to its prior recommended limit of 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol daily.
Studies show that the yolk of one large egg contains about 186 milligrams of cholesterol. So does that amount change based on the size of the egg? And where does that then leave us in terms of how many eggs we should be consuming each day to prevent an increased chance of cardiovascular disease or a heart attack?
To further add to the confusion, Cardiologist Joel Kahn published an article in MGB Food trying to answer the question whether eggs are in fact healthy or not. He discusses the utterly chaotic nature of this long-term vacillating debate joking that we are capable of putting a man on the moon, but would not have the slightest clue of what to feed him.
He briefly outlines some of the numerous studies conducted in the past seven years trying to answer this question, all resulting in conclusions different than the next. The most surprising of these various findings were discovered by Chinese researchers in January of this year. They analyzed 17 studies on the topic of eggs and health which determined that the only individuals whose egg consumption increased their risk of heart disease, were those with diabetes. Their results suggest that any other average person not suffering from this health condition can essentially eat as many eggs as their heart desires without at all increasing their chances of developing heart disease.
Furthermore, an article published by Healthline states that there have been studies done focusing solely on the consumption of eggs and their effect on cholesterol levels. These studies used a group of people who ate between one and three whole eggs daily versus another group who ate something else instead.
The results of these studies show that, in most cases, only levels of ‘good’ cholesterol increase, concluding that it varies based on the current health of the individual. Ultimately, the study found that healthy individuals with no pre-existing health conditions can safely eat up to three whole eggs a day without any increase in their risk of heart disease or early death.
With all of the varying conclusions of these numerous different studies on whether or not eggs are in fact healthy to eat or how much is safe to eat, you may feel even more confused on the right answer to this question. However, the truth is it appears there is not one.
Here is what science can definitively prove about eggs themselves without question. Eggs are, in fact, one of the most healthy foods on the planet. They are low in calories and contain tons of various nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and unique antioxidants that our bodies and brains require of which many people are deficient. Ironically, almost all of these sources of nourishment are contained in the yolk, whereas, the white of the egg primarily contains protein.
So before you go skimming through various articles and studies racking your brain on whether or not it is safe for you to eat that scrambled egg you are used to every morning or if you will have a heart attack from eating that one extra egg you were craving, do not. The bottom line is that eggs are a healthy and nutritious food you can safely consume in moderation daily. So unless you have a pre-existing medical condition or are eating ten or more eggs every day, there is no need for you to stress over it.
My personal advice? However you like your eggs prepared, just ignore the outside noise and simply enjoy your healthy and delicious breakfast.
Written by Megan Kuehl
Healthline: 6 Reasons Why Eggs Are the Healthiest Food on the Planet
Healthline: Eggs and Cholesterol — How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat?
CBS News: Are eggs bad for your heart? Experts weigh new findings on eggs, cholesterol and health
MBG Food: Are Eggs Healthy Or Not? A Cardiologist Explains
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Rebecca Siegel’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License