Eggs 101 – Egg FAQ’s

Interested in egg nutritional information? Below are some frequently asked questions regarding eggs and egg nutritional benefits.

Q: Are eggs good for you?

Yes! Eggs are a nutrient-dense food (aka eggs provide a nutrient bang for your calorie buck) according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). The DGAs also include eggs within all recommended healthy eating patterns. One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals all for 70 calories. At just 20 cents each per large egg, eggs are an affordable source of high-quality protein and contain all nine essential amino acids. In addition to protein, eggs are a good source of other important nutrients like vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Eggs are also rich in the essential amino acid leucine (one large egg provides 600 milligrams), which plays a unique role in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.

Q: Does nutrient content vary depending on egg color or how the hens are raised?

The nutrient content of eggs is similar regardless of color (white or brown), grade (AA, A, or B), or how they are raised (organic, free-range, and conventional). Although eggs are a natural nutrition powerhouse, feeding laying hens a diet enriched in specific nutrients like vitamin D or omega 3 can enhance that nutrient in eggs. Due to higher production costs, such specialty eggs are usually more expensive than generic shell eggs.

Q: Should I toss the yolk?

No! Most of the eggs’ nutrients and nearly half of the protein (just over 40%) is found in the yolk. Additionally, egg yolks carry fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, E, A, choline, and the antioxidants lutein/zeaxanthin. Plus, the fat, which is mostly unsaturated and found in the egg yolk, aids in the absorption of these essential and important egg components.

Q: How many eggs can I eat?

There are no specific recommendations or guidelines on how many eggs to eat a day or week. However, studies have consistently shown that eating up to two eggs per day does not have detrimental health effects. Research demonstrates that whole eggs can be a part of a balanced diet that contains a wide variety of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. In fact, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include whole eggs in all of their healthy eating patterns.

Q: Are eggs a good source of vitamin D?

Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally good source of vitamin D, with one egg providing 10% of the Daily Value (41 IU). Vitamin D is essential for maintaining calcium and phosphate levels, and in developing and maintaining healthy bones. Research is also showing several additional benefits of vitamin D including reducing risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and certain cancers.

Q: What is choline and who should be concerned about choline intakes?

Choline is an essential nutrient that is involved in memory, mood, and other brain/nervous system functions. It is particularly important during pregnancy, as it impacts fetal brain development and can help prevent birth defects. Approximately 90% of Americans do not eat adequate amounts of choline. Unfortunately, it is not found in high quantities in many foods typically consumed by Americans, with one exception – eggs have one of the highest amounts of choline of any food. Two large eggs contain more than half of the recommended intake for pregnant women and adults and can help them meet their needs.

Q: Do eggs contain antioxidants?

The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are two antioxidants found in the eye which help protect and maintain eye health. Emerging research is now demonstrating lutein’s impact on cognition in both children and adults. Eggs are a source of lutein and zeaxanthin, and while spinach and dark leafy greens have a higher lutein/zeaxanthin content per serving, the lutein/zeaxanthin from eggs has been shown to be better absorbed into the body.

Q: Do eggs increase the risk of heart disease?

More than 40 years of research has demonstrated that people can enjoy eggs without impacting their risk of heart disease. Research indicates that saturated fat is more likely to raise a person’s blood cholesterol than dietary cholesterol. In fact, a recent analysis showed that eating up to one egg a day is associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of stroke.

Q: What’s the latest evidence on the benefits of high-quality protein?

The quality of dietary protein is determined by its amino acid composition as well as how well the body digests and utilizes the amino acids.  Egg proteins, like milk and beef proteins, are easily digested and contain all of the essential amino acids. The protein in eggs can benefit weight loss and help prevent muscle loss with aging, all in its affordable and convenient package. Eggs are a most valuable protein!

Q: Can eggs promote a healthy weight?

Research demonstrates that eggs can help people feel more full, which can ultimately help them eat less throughout the day. For example, dieters who ate an egg breakfast lost 65% more weight and significantly more belly fat compared to those who ate a same-calorie bagel breakfast.

Q: Can people with diabetes eat eggs?

Yes, the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association recommend eating patterns that include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products, and restrict foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, high-sodium, and added sugars. Eggs can fit within the context of this diet. Some observational studies have shown a possible link between egg consumption and heart disease risk in individuals with diabetes. However, more recent clinical trials do not support these findings. Individuals with diabetes can eat 1-2 eggs per day without negatively impacting cardiovascular risk factors.