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Is Eating Too Many Eggs Bad For You?

Let’s Put This Question To Rest!

Posted by Scott_Herman - April 6th, 2016

Today we are going to talk about eggs. We all know that eating a lot of protein is a must in any bodybuilder’s diet and eggs are an easy way to feed your gains. But is there such a thing as eating too many eggs?


This is actually a question I get asked all the time.  Eggs are loaded with cholesterol and when most people hear that they immediately think of heart disease and diabetes.  So how many eggs can you eat safely in a day?  Before we get to the answer, there is some basic information you need to know first:

  1. All the cholesterol is in the yolk (yellow part) so you can eat egg whites all day long with no problems.

  2. Cholesterol is not the enemy. The body needs cholesterol in limited amounts to function. It is actually an essential part of every cell membrane in your body and it is used to make hormones, like testosterone for example, which is critical for gains.

  3. Your body makes its own cholesterol and it is made in the liver.

  4. Cholesterol is made of three components:
    • “Good” cholesterol or HDL (High Density Lipoprotein)
    • “Bad” cholesterol or LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein)
    • And triglycerides.
  5. The American Heart Association recommends that your total cholesterol level should be below 180mg/dL.

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Now that you know the basics, let’s get to the meat of the question.

 

Early studies have shown that people with high cholesterol are two times as likely to have heart disease.  Based on these studies they also figured that eating up to six eggs per week, or about one egg per day, was ok and you are at risk if you eat more than that.  


But it is not that simple.


First of all, these recommendations of ideal cholesterol levels where created in the 1960s, so very outdated, with little scientific evidence and these studies used animals that were fed unrealistic amounts of cholesterol(1).


The other factor is that general recommendations typically are ultra conservative because they have to be safe for the part of the population that is at risk for heart disease and diabetes.


What more recent studies have shown is that, for the majority of the population, when you eat cholesterol, your liver just produces less of it to compensate. The other piece of it is that when your bad cholesterol goes up, the good one goes up as well so the ratio does not change much which is an important factor for the health problems I mentioned earlier.


So bottom line, how many eggs should you really eat in one day?


Well, there are two scenarios:

  1. If you belong to the high risk part of the population, then you should be conservative. Here are some examples to identify if you are at risk:
    • You belong to the 10% of the population with naturally high cholesterol because your liver produces too much of it.
    • You have a family history of diabetes and heart disease.
    • You are overweight.
    • You are inactive, smoke or have high blood pressure.
    • Or you have bad eating habits such as eating too many saturated fats such as butter, fatty meats and cheese.
  2. If you fall in any of these categories I would stick with a max of 6 eggs per week which is the conservative guideline.
  3. For the rest of the population, most recent studies have found no conclusive evidence that suggests eggs increase your risk of heart problems or diabetes. The important factor here is not going crazy on eating bad fats. The issue is not the amount of eggs, but your diet as a whole.

    Recent studies concluded that a high egg diet is fine as long as the rest of your diet and lifestyle are healthy.  If you are an active person with no predisposition for heart disease or diabetes and have a balanced meal plan with plenty of vegies and good fats, you should be fine to eat more than one egg a day(2).  I myself even eat two entire eggs per day (which is double the recommendation) and a lot of egg whites.

Now I don’t believe in extremes and I personally would not go crazy as I have seen other people do, eating five or six eggs a day!  Think that your liver produces one to two grams of cholesterol per day total, so let’s do the math.  One egg has about 187 mg of cholesterol.  If you eat six eggs in one day, you would be at 1.1 grams of cholesterol for the day.  This means that you would get to a point where, even if your liver completely stopped making cholesterol, it would not be able to compensate for all the cholesterol you are eating.  So I would NOT go down that route.  Plus there are no studies that I could find analyzing these extreme cases.


So just remember this, to stay on the safe side you can have a few whole eggs a day and if you want more either toss the yolk or go nuts with unlimited egg whites!  You know your body better than anyone else.  Just make sure you listen to it!


REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683785
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586539/



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Is Eating Too Many Eggs Bad For You?


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MEMBER COMMENTS
gmdgeek
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yes
Fox84
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great article and glad i read it cause i was eating anywhere from 2-3 eggs for breakfast everymorning!, so now im only going to have one egg a day. thanks again for sharing this important info Scott take care

jcgadfly  Edit  Delete  Close

I do hate wasting liquid chickens - I limit myself to 3/week

Scott_Herman  Edit  Delete  Close

Well.. do 1 egg and the rest are eggwhites (get rid of the yolk).  Let me know!