I Ate Eggs Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened
Sure, eggs are a quick and convenient source of protein, vitamins and nutrients. But should you eat eggs every day? A health reporter's experiment led to some answers.
For a long time, eggs were thought to lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. In more recent years, studies like this one in Nutrients in 2018 have come out to suggest that eggs had been getting a bad rap they didn’t deserve.
Some of this was the result of a collective unawareness that there’s good cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, and part of it was that eggs were guilty by association. The Mayo Clinic‘s blog, for example, says about the connection between eggs and heart disease that the high-fat, high-sodium, processed meats that often accompany eggs “might do more to boost heart disease risk than eggs do.” That’s not to mention “the way eggs and other foods are cooked—especially if fried in oil or butter,” the blog says.
The truth, says registered dietitian Johna Burdeos, is that eggs are dense in nutrients and high in protein, as well as a good source of other vitamins and minerals, including fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), B vitamins, folate, and choline. “Eggs are said to be a ‘perfect protein’ because they contain all nine essential amino acids and are also a source of antioxidants (selenium and carotenoids in the yolk), which promote eye health,” Burdeos says.
One extra-large egg offers eight grams of protein and six grams of fat for 80 calories. Given all the health benefits of eggs, I decided to gear up for the new year by eating eggs every day for a week. Here’s what I learned.
How to eat eggs every day
Like most kids, my fondness for eggs started primarily with a simple scramble for breakfast and egg salad sandwiches. But in my grownup years, I’ve learned well: eggs aren’t just for breakfast. They’re also the basis of quiches and frittatas, and they make sneaky appearances in dishes like pad thai and fettuccine carbonara. In recent years, eggs have become a trendy topper for salads, pizzas and burgers—gastronomical pleasures that have emerged from our cultures increasing love for farm-to-table type fare.
Eating eggs every day for a week
In addition to their nutrition, part of the appeal about eggs is that they’re so simple to whip up, and yet to versatile. To kick off my week of eating eggs, I used some leftover salmon and made a frittata. I served it over arugula that was lightly dressed in lemon and olive oil, and I topped it all with feta cheese.
The next day was hectic as I was rushing to pack for a trip, so I picked up a mini quiche from my local farmstead. I ate half of it with a salad for lunch, and enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast the next morning before I departed.
One unexpected (and cool) observation I made during my week of eating eggs was that concentrating to work this source of protein and healthy fat into my day led me to make better choices overall. For example, instead of grabbing a sugary muffin from the hotel’s breakfast buffet before my flight that would have yielded little nutritional value, I chose two hard-boiled eggs. The muffin would have left me hungry after a couple hours. The eggs pretty well held off my appetite until it was time for a snack on the plane.
How healthy are eggs?
Harvard University’s blog points out that previous health guidelines suggested an individual should eat no more than one to two eggs per week, as one egg has about 200 milligrams of of cholesterol and the daily limit was 300. However, that has changed. Today, Harvard Health says, “The average healthy person likely suffers no harm from eating up to seven eggs per week.”
Registered dietitian nutritionist Blanca Garcia says this it’s important to remember that while eggs “are highly nutritious … this doesn’t provide a green light to eat three-egg dishes every day.” That lumberjack breakfast at the diner can come with other health consequences.
For my experiment, I ate more like two eggs per day, sometimes three. Going forward, I’ll keep hard-boiled eggs on hand because they’re a perfect high-protein snack before a workout or as a mid-day snack. (If you’re also a fan of hard-boiled eggs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests they’ll stay fresh for a week in the fridge.) I’ll continue to make omelettes, frittatas, and quiches as simple, but healthy, ways to use up leftover veggies, meats, and cheese.
- I Had Oatmeal Every Day for a Week—Here’s What Happened
- What Are the Heart-Healthiest Foods? A Cardiologist Just Opened Her Fridge to Reveal Them
- The 10 Best Self-Care Ideas Trending for 2023, Tested by Our Editors
- 7 Secret Ways Doctors Boost Their Immune Systems
- Nutrients, “Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence in Cardiovascular Disease”
- Mayo Clinic, “Eggs: Are they good or bad for my cholesterol?"
- Johna Burdeos, Registered Dietitian
- IncredibleEgg.org, “Egg Nutrition Facts"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, “How long can you keep hard cooked eggs?”
- Blanca Garcia, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
- Harvard Health, “How many eggs can I safely eat?”