How Many Eggs Is It Really Safe To Eat Per Week?
I’m an egg addict. Despite the fact that “become a stellar cook” makes it onto my list of New Year’s resolutions year after year, life (and a dinky New York City kitchen) has a way of trumping my best intentions.
Enter the egg. Whether in an omelet, on avocado toast, or by itself, eggs feel like a healthy step up from having a bowl of cereal for dinner on a busy day. But with eggs making their way into multiple meals a week, I have to wonder how healthy it really is to load up on all those yolks.
How many eggs per week can you eat?
Luckily, it appears that going through a carton of eggs each week is perfectly normal. “For the average person, two eggs a day is totally fine,” says Keri Gans, registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet. Phew.
But there is one major caveat: “A person needs to look at their total diet to see where they’re getting their saturated fat from,” says Gans. “It’s totally healthy to get two eggs a day, but if you like your eggs scrambled with cheese on them, then you’ve just upped your saturated fat and kilojoules by a lot.”
READ MORE: Should You Really Be Eating Raw Eggs?
But what about the cholesterol in eggs?
Eggs got a bad rep in the past for their high amounts of cholesterol (186 mg per large egg—previous guidelines advised consuming no more than 300 mg of cholesterol total per day). At the time, experts thought dietary cholesterol would affect blood cholesterol—the kind that causes clogged arteries and heart attacks. However, recent research and recommendations have mostly found that it’s saturated fat, not dietary cholesterol, that can impact your body’s “bad cholesterol.”
The American Heart Association recommends getting no more than 6 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. So if you’re eating 8 368 kilojoules a day, you shouldn’t have more than 502 kilojoules, or 13 grams, of saturated fat. For reference, one large, raw egg has about 1.6 grams of saturated fat. That might not sound like much, but that’s before it’s cooked in butter or oil, and potentially topped with cheese and a side of bacon.
Egg whites are better than whole eggs, right?
Eh…not exactly. Simply switching from whole eggs to egg whites may not cut it nutrition-wise.
“There are certain nutrients in the egg yolk that you’re not going to find if you just have egg whites,” says Gans. “All the fat-soluble vitamins are found in the yolk, so if you remove that, yes, you are removing the fat, but you also remove a lot of nutritional value.” Not great if you’re going for a quick but healthy meal.
So…can you eat eggs every day?
Ultimately, it’s important to mix up your diet a little more, says Beth Warren, registered dietician and founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food. “Generally, I don’t recommend eating any one food every day,” she says. She recommends rotating your foods every three days or so. “By eating this way, you are also ensured to get a better balance of vitamins and nutrients form a varied amount of whole foods,” Warren says.
Still, if you’re going to eat something every day, eggs aren’t a terrible option. “The immense benefits you get from eating an egg make it a worthwhile, simple, easy, and affordable way to incorporate in the diet—as long as the total saturated fat in the diet per day is accounted for,” Warren says.
The bottom line, according to Gans, is that the right amount of eggs is totally dependent on the rest of your diet. A single large egg has about 334 kilojoules, five grams of fat, and six grams of protein. So, if you’re already getting plenty of protein and fat from other meals, eating a five-egg cheese omelet for breakfast every day is not a good idea. But if you know you’ll be on the go and don’t know where your next solid source of protein will come from, go a head and crack an extra egg into the frying pan before you head out the door.
Additional reporting by Korin Miller.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com