We can’t deny eating eggs is healthy. However, you need to be careful with what you put on them and what you eat them with.
Whether scrambled, hard-boiled, over-easy, or even fried, eggs contain plenty of nutrients. They provide numerous health benefits as they are a good source of protein, and can help things like inflammation, bone health, brain health, and even pregnancy. Eat them for breakfast, after a workout, or even just as a snack during the day.
We can’t deny eating eggs is healthy. However, you need to be careful with what you put on them and what you eat them with. Just because the eggs themselves are good for you, doesn’t mean you can throw a bunch of unhealthy ingredients on them.
“Eggs are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, author of The First Time Mom’s Pregnancy Cookbook, The 7 Ingredient Healthy Pregnancy Cookbook, and Fueling Male Fertility. “From the high-quality protein they provide to the slew of B vitamins they house, there is no disputing that eating eggs can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet. But, when eggs are accompanied by some high-fat/high-sodium foods, the other ingredients’ unhealthiness can overshine the eggs’ healthiness.”
1. Egg nutrition facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one large hard-boiled hen’s egg (50g).
Carbs: Eggs are a low-carb food, providing less than 1 gram of carbohydrate in one large egg. They have a tiny amount of sugar and no fiber.
Fat: There are 5 grams of fat per large egg. About 1.6 grams is saturated fat, and the rest is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Preparing eggs with fat (like frying them in butter or oil) will add fat and calories to your meal. Most of the fat in an egg is contained in the yolk. The yolk provides about 55 calories worth of combined fat and protein.
Protein: Eggs are a good source of high-quality, complete protein. Most of it is found in the egg white: There are 4 to 5 grams protein, 17 calories, and virtually no fat in a single large egg white. Egg whites are also a good source of leucine, an amino acid that may help with weight loss.
Vitamins and Minerals: Eggs provide important vitamins and minerals. They contain vitamin D (important for the absorption of calcium), phosphorus, vitamin A (for healthy vision, skin, and cell growth), and two B-complex vitamins that your body needs to convert food into energy. Eggs are also a very good source of riboflavin, selenium, and choline.
2. Why eating eggs with processed foods is unhealthy?
Manaker shares that if you were to order eggs at a restaurant, many of them would serve them with other sides. This includes salty meats like bacon, and sausage, as well as salted potatoes (like hash browns). The eggs themselves are a great addition to a healthy diet. However, as a whole, the dish can be seriously high in saturated fat, sodium, and other unsavory nutrients.
Eating breakfast meats like bacon and sausage can come with a lot of fat and sodium. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the daily value for sodium is 2,300 milligrams. One strip of bacon is 115 milligrams, adding up to 5% of your daily value. Although it seems small at first, restaurants give two to three (maybe even more) slices of bacon. This can add up to a lot of sodium in one meal. One sausage link equals about 790 milligrams of sodium, which is a whopping 34% of your daily value.
When it comes to the amount of fat consumed, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting saturated fat calories to 10% of your daily intake or the equivalent of 20 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet. One strip of bacon is about 12.6 grams of saturated fat, which is more than half of the daily intake.
3. How to make sure you’ll reap the benefits of eggs?
The fact of the matter is, as long as you are watching what else you put on the plate, you will enjoy the benefits the eggs provide in their entirety. If you add on foods you know provide little to no benefits, then the plate may counteract itself.
The good news is that you don’t have to eat the eggs alone. If you want a full plate, just make sure you’re adding on other foods that provide nutrients.
“When you are enjoying your eggs, be sure to eat them along with other good-for-you and nutrient-dense foods like avocado, whole grain toast, and veggies,” says Manaker.
4. Health benefits of eating eggs
They Offer Complete Protein
One egg has 6 grams of the stuff, with all nine “essential” amino acids, the building blocks of protein. That’s important because those are the ones your body can’t make by itself. The egg white holds about half that protein and only a small portion of the fat and cholesterol.
They Help Your ‘Good’ Cholesterol
This “good” cholesterol, called HDL, seems to go up in people who have three or more eggs a day. Of course, LDL, the “bad” type, goes up, too. But the individual pieces of each get bigger. That makes it harder for the bad stuff to hurt you and easier for the good stuff to clear it away.
They Can Lower Your Triglycerides
Your doctor tests you for these along with HDL and LDL. Lower triglycerides are better for your health. Eating eggs, especially those enriched with certain fatty acids (like omega-3s), seems to bring down your levels.
They Can Lower Your Odds of a Stroke
Though studies vary, it appears that a daily egg might lower your risk. In a recent Chinese study, people who had about one a day were almost 30% less likely to die from hemorrhagic stroke than those who had none.
They Help With Portion Control
At about 70 calories per egg, you know exactly what you are getting. And they travel easy, too. Hard boil a couple and stick ‘em in your cooler. Add a salad or a couple of slices of bread and you’ve got a quick, healthy lunch.
They’re Heart Healthy
Surprised? It’s true. Overall, people who eat more of them don’t seem to raise their chances of heart disease. Even people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes were just as heart healthy after a high-egg diet designed for weight loss. In a recent Chinese study, people who ate about an egg a day were almost 20% less likely than non-egg eaters to develop heart disease.
They Help Your Eyes
Doctors know that the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin help keep you from getting eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach and kale have them, too. But eggs are a better source. That’s because the fat they have makes it easier for your body to use the nutrients.