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EGGS – Natures Perfect Superfood – How Many A Day To Stay Healthy? – Dr Alan Mandell, D.C. Graphic © healthpowerboost.com. Background photo: Pixabay (PD)
Eggs have a rather bumpy history—from being vilified for their high cholesterol content to garnering admiration as a potent superfood packed with nutritional wonders.
Given their divisive profile in health circles, many consumers are left confused, wondering, “are eggs healthy?” According to Dr. Alan Mandell (aka. the Motivation Doc), the short answer is yes! Eggs are healthy. They are a rich source of important nutrients, and they promote lasting health benefits. But like most things, your optimal outcome may depend on how many eggs you take.
TL/DR: IF you are healthy, up to 3 eggs a day (but you still need to do all the other essential things for a healthy life including exercise and good sleep!)
Read on as we highlight Dr. Mandell’s take on eggs — including their link to cholesterol, their nutritional value in your diet and whether you should eat the yolk.
Eggs And Cholesterol
Much of the debate surrounding the nutritional value of eggs stems from claims that the breakfast staple has a high cholesterol content. How true is this? Let’s look at what scientific studies say:
For years, health officials and nutritional experts perpetuated the belief that eggs are high in cholesterol, which contributes to cardiovascular disease.  While it’s true that eggs have higher cholesterol levels than most foods in a typical dinner table, there is more to the story.
Are Eggs Unhealthy Because of Their Cholesterol Content?
In comparison to other breakfast options like oatmeal, studies show that people who eat eggs tend to record higher cholesterol levels.  But the ratio of LDL-HDL—an important biomarker for cardiovascular disease risk—remains unchanged.
HDL is referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove other potentially harmful cholesterol types from your blood. This is in contrast to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol that is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In other words, there’s some truth to the claims that eggs increase cholesterol. But as Dr. Mandell insists, cholesterol isn’t necessarily bad. It plays an important role in supporting many body functions—including cell structure, hormones, digestion, and metabolism.
While there’s still debate on the impact of eggs on heart health, recent research and health guidelines suggest that eggs may not be as “bad” as previously thought. 
For example, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Diabetes found that consuming up to 12 eggs in a week did not affect cardiovascular disease risk factors. Rather than negatively affecting blood cholesterol levels, eating eggs increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. 
Is It A Good Idea To Only Eat Egg Whites?
While still on the topic of eggs and cholesterol, you may have come across suggestions that you can curb your cholesterol intake by only eating egg whites.
There’s around 200 mg of cholesterol in an average large egg—most of it concentrated in the yolk.  So on paper, it makes sense to only eat whites as a way to reduce cholesterol intake.
But as Dr. Mandell points out, there’s more to the yolk than its nutritional content. It’s also rich in carotenoids, vitamin D, iron, and other bioactive nutrients that are attributed to the health-promoting benefits of eggs—making a case for the consumption of the whole egg. 
Health Benefits Of Eggs
Cholesterol aside, eggs are also packed in many other bioactive compounds that promote health and help reduce disease risk.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognizes eggs as a key part of a healthy diet—thanks to their affordability, versatility, and undeniable nutritional value. 
Some of the health benefits of eggs include:
Weight loss: Eggs are rich in quality protein, which is the most satiating macronutrient. This means you’ll feel full—reducing your calorie intake later in the day.  This could play a key role in your weight loss journey.
Good source of choline: Whole eggs are one of the best dietary sources of choline. This is a crucial substance needed to produce signal molecules in your brain and build cell membranes—yet most people don’t get enough of it. 
Reduce the risk of heart disease: Contrary to earlier suggestions, eating eggs is linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. 
Rich in antioxidants: Eggs (especially the yolk) contain lutein and zeaxanthin—two powerful antioxidants that are believed to provide several benefits for eye health. 
Lower triglycerides: Eggs from hens that were raised on omega-3-rich feeds or pasture tend to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids—which help reduce the blood levels of triglycerides linked to a risk of heart disease. 
How Many Eggs A Day To Stay Healthy?
The number of eggs you can eat depends on the state of your health and the impact of other foods in your diet. Is your diet full of other high-cholesterol foods like butter or bacon? Do you consume a lot of saturated and trans fats that tend to raise LDL cholesterol levels? Are you limiting your calorie intake?
And to quote Dr. Mandell, “Look at your health! You cannot just eat eggs [and expect all the health benefits] if you don’t exercise, sleep right, have good nutrition, or are stressed.”
 Réhault-Godbert, S., Guyot, N., & Nys, Y. (2019). The golden egg: nutritional value, bioactivities, and emerging benefits for human health. Nutrients, 11(3), 684: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30909449/
 Lemos, B. S., Medina-Vera, I., Blesso, C. N., & Fernandez, M. L. (2018). Intake of 3 eggs per day when compared to a choline bitartrate supplement, downregulates cholesterol synthesis without changing the LDL/HDL ratio. Nutrients, 10(2), 258: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29495288/
 Missimer, A., DiMarco, D. M., Andersen, C. J., Murillo, A. G., Vergara-Jimenez, M., & Fernandez, M. L. (2017). Consuming two eggs per day, as compared to an oatmeal breakfast, decreases plasma ghrelin while maintaining the LDL/HDL ratio. Nutrients, 9(2), 89: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28146063/
 Soliman, G. A. (2018). Dietary cholesterol and the lack of evidence in cardiovascular disease. Nutrients, 10(6), 780: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29914176/
 Godos, J., Micek, A., Brzostek, T., Toledo, E., Iacoviello, L., Astrup, A., … & Grosso, G. (2021). Egg consumption and cardiovascular risk: a dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. European journal of nutrition, 60(4), 1833-1862: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32865658/
 Richard, C., Cristall, L., Fleming, E., Lewis, E. D., Ricupero, M., Jacobs, R. L., & Field, C. J. (2017). Impact of egg consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in individuals with type 2 diabetes and at risk for developing diabetes: a systematic review of randomized nutritional intervention studies. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 41(4), 453-463: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28359773/
 U.S. Department of Agriculture (FoodData Central): https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/748967/nutrients
 Blesso, C. N., & Fernandez, M. L. (2018). Dietary cholesterol, serum lipids, and heart disease: are eggs working for or against you? Nutrients, 10(4), 426: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29596318/
 Bagheri, R., Moghadam, B. H., Ashtary-Larky, D., Forbes, S. C., Candow, D. G., Galpin, A. J., … & Wong, A. (2021). Whole egg vs. egg white ingestion during 12 weeks of resistance training in trained young males: A randomized controlled trial. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 35(2), 411-419: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33306586/
 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
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 Handelman, G. J., Nightingale, Z. D., Lichtenstein, A. H., Schaefer, E. J., & Blumberg, J. B. (1999). Lutein and zeaxanthin concentrations in plasma after dietary supplementation with egg yolk. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 70(2), 247-251: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10426702/
 Bovet, P., Faeh, D., Madeleine, G., Viswanathan, B., & Paccaud, F. (2007). Decrease in blood triglycerides associated with the consumption of eggs of hens fed with food supplemented with fish oil. Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular diseases, 17(4), 280-287: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17134951/
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