I am asked all the time about eggs. ‘Are eggs bad for you?’ ‘Can I eat eggs every day?’ ‘Do eggs affect your cholesterol?’
The myth about eggs and cholesterol
Having high cholesterol levels in our blood increases our risk of heart disease, the leading killer in the UK. So it makes sense that you want to look out for your blood cholesterol levels. Eggs are high in cholesterol, so it was originally thought that we should limit our consumption of eggs. However, it is not dietary cholesterol, but dietary saturated fat, that we consume that affects the amount of cholesterol we have in our blood.
So what’s good about eggs?
- They are high in protein, vitamins D, A, B2 and B12, folate and iodine. They are also a complete source of protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids.
- They are really versatile. Think boiled eggs and soldiers for breakfast, hard boiled eggs as a snack, frittata for supper (my absolute favourite go-to using-up-the-fridge-leftovers supper!)
So how many eggs can you eat?
There is no guideline in the UK about the maximum number of eggs that is safe to eat. Like any food, don’t go overboard, as everything can be damaging in excess (even water!) You can eat them every day if you want to. When cooking eggs, it is actually essential to think about how you cook them. Frying them increases their fat content by 50%, so stick to poaching or boiling if you can.
Anything else to think about when eating eggs?
- Battery eggs are just as nutritious as free-range varieties, but give a moment to think about the poor animals that laid them. Choose free-range where you can, but beware that some supermarket organic eggs are battery ones too.
- Cook them properly and don’t keep them past their use-by date! 3 minutes for a poached egg or 4 minutes for a boiled one. Salmonella is not funny. This advice is particularly important to people in vulnerable groups, including the very young, the unwell, pregnant women and elderly.