How Many Eggs is Too Much?


In all of my years as a dietitian, there’s one question that wins the Grammy Award for most asked ….. “How Many Eggs Can I Have In A Day?” Over the years, there have been hundreds of studies and lots of conflicting information about eggs. The basic logic is that we know cholesterol is in our blood and bad for our bodies. Reducing cholesterol intake from food is a good thing. The highest form of cholesterol from food comes from eggs.


Are eggs safe to eat?

The United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA) has always issued dietary guidelines that advised us quantities of nutrients to consume. They also gave suggestions on a daily diet, number of calories to consume and a host of other tips. Originally, there was an upper limit of daily intake for cholesterol: 300 milligrams were their recommendation. A large egg contained 220 towards that daily goal. This information created the concept that “eggs have a lot of cholesterol, we should not eat that many of them.”


As more research was conducted, the evidence accumulated over the years suggested that there is no direct relationship between the cholesterol levels in our blood and the consumption of eggs. Cholesterol that is in your bloodstream can be derived from a variety of sources, but very little seem to come from cholesterol in food directly. It is for this reason that the USDA removed their recommendation for upper limit intake of dietary cholesterol in 2015.


In the food we consume, what is the exact cause of elevated cholesterol in our blood? Studies have shown that increased dietary intake of saturated (animal fat) and trans-fat (pastries) are much more closely associated with elevated cholesterol. Eggs are relatively low in saturated fats and are an excellent source of protein, lecithin, minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. It has such high nutritional and culinary values; it’s a pity if we have to shun away from eggs!


I get it………..most people want a definitive answer in 5 seconds. The answer that I give to my patients, when asked this frequent question is “One”. Enjoy one egg per day, even if you are on any cholesterol-lowering medication (-statin) already. The current evidence suggests that there is no reason for you to stop enjoying this wholesome food source.


While enjoying that egg, keep in mind that it is a source of protein. It is perfectly acceptable to replace your bacon for breakfast with an egg, but with any type of food source, try to keep the portions reasonable. Adding eggs to what you already normally eat may not be nutritionally necessary and could cause a surplus in calories.


Health problems are not typically caused by eating wholesome, natural foods. It’s the overconsumption of highly processed, flavor added, refined foods that are largely responsible for the disruption of your healthy lifestyle. I might start to sound like a brand ambassador for Whole Foods, but I assure you that I am not.


Interested in learning about weight goal and nutrition needs? Schedule a free body weight and % body fat analysis with our Smart Eater Dietitians at 626-283-5128 or email dietitian@smarteater.net.

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