‘Are Eggs Healthy?': Not a Simple Question

Government agencies, medical experts provide contradictory information

Perhaps we should focus less on the question of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" and instead turn our attention to a much more pressing question – "Are eggs healthy?"

The problem with that question is that the answer depends upon who you ask.

The Food & Drug Administration does not consider eggs to be ‘healthy’ because of their fat content, although the FDA is in the process of updating its guidelines with respect to what is considered to be healthy. However on the ‘How to Eat Healthy’ guide provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services eggs are included on the list of ‘lean protein foods.’

As for portion considerations, on the website for the Mayo Clinic, a leading clinical and research hospital, under the heading ‘Eggs: Are they good or bad for my cholesterol?’ a doctor notes that “most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease.”

But the popular diet program Weight Watchers considers eggs to be a Zero Points food on its Freestyle program, one of more than 200 foods that can be eaten “without having to weigh, measure, or track them.”

The concern with eggs is their cholesterol content. One egg yolk contains 186 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than half of the maximum recommended daily intake of 300 mg that had long been suggested by the U.S. Department of Health’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The current Dietary Guidelines no longer have a cholesterol cap, but still recommend that people keep their intake low.

Increasingly, eggs are a staple of the American diet. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the average American ate about 276 eggs in 2017, which is up from the estimated 253 eggs that people at in 2000.

In McKinney, the Eggsquisite Café opened this past December. Owner Meff Asani estimated that his restaurant goes through about 7,500 eggs in a week, and includes the staple food on just about every menu item, including the hamburger.

“We have fun with eggs,” Asani said with a laugh, noting that he personally will regularly eat an omelet for dinner that includes eight egg whites.

“Like everything else they are good for you and they are bad for you,” Asani said when asked whether he considers eggs to be healthy. “If you overdo [them] everything is bad for you.”

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