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Eggs: Healthy or Not Healthy?

I hope you will find this an unbiased article about eggs that is not written by one of the big mainstream websites to sway your opinion in the direction of some marketing angle or another. I have no stake in the game - only the desire to overturn popular myths and seek truth in order to serve my clients and help them find good health.  

Egg yolks contain essential Vitamin D
Eggs: a natural food source

Several years ago, eggs were scorned and scourged as a bad source of nutrition and we were advised to cut them from our diets. This never felt right to me. As I scour the internet today, the tide seems to be slowly turning back in favor of eggs, however, the big mainstream sites are still cautioning against eating more than 1 egg per day and are still advocating eating only egg whites to reduce your cholesterol intake. I question this advice and in this article I support my reasons for doing so.

If you are in your thirties or forties, or older, you may have grown up in an environment where eggs were considered unhealthy because they are high in cholesterol. In the last 10 or 20 years there has been a push to convince us that it’s only the egg yolk that is no good so ditch the yolks and just eat the egg whites. There are still a plethora of self proclaimed “healthy” options in restaurants and supermarkets that offer products made solely with egg whites rather than whole eggs because enough people still believe that egg yolks are nasty, fatty, cholesterol laden little yellow things. So a popular belief has arisen that egg whites are healthy because they contain protein whereas yolks are unhealthy because they contain fat and cholesterol. We all have been led to believe that a high protein diet is good for you and fat, especially cholesterol is bad for you. I don’t endorse that opinion because I know from years of personal experience, as well as professional experience, that counting calories doesn’t work, and eating a sufficient amount of healthy fat is a better way to lose weight. High protein diets work for a time but eventually lead to constipation, kidney disease, and cancer. 

Let’s take a look at the humble chicken’s egg and I will offer you some food for thought that might change your mind if you are still not incorporating eggs or egg yolks into your daily diet. 

A Quick Note for Vegans

First, I want to say that if you don’t eat eggs because you are on a healthy vegan diet and you feel great, I honor you - it’s hard to maintain good health on a vegan diet because of inadequacies in our food supply. If you are pulling it off you must be a very wise and thoughtful eater and maybe also have some genetics in your favor. There are many people who go vegan for a year or several years and then decide to revert back to a more omnivorous diet or incorporate eggs and fish into their diet to stabilize their gut microbiome. And many of them end up in holistic treatment rooms like mine. If you are one of those people who is having gut issues on a vegan diet, I hope this article will help you decide whether eggs are a healthy option to add to your diet.

To everyone else who eats fish and meat but skips the eggs, or just eats egg whites, I hope this article will help you reconsider that choice. Below I have linked a great article by Dr. Anthony Gustin about the health benefits of egg yolks.

Chickens Lay Eggs Whether or Not We Eat Them

A fact worth keeping in mind about chickens is that they lay eggs whether we eat them or not. As long as the eggs are unfertilized they don’t contain any life. So eating them is not like eating an animal or killing an innocent little chick. Whether you think it is right or wrong that chickens have been domesticated from the wild and bred to lay unfertilized eggs, it is a fact of life that we live with now. It would be a hard road indeed to breed this out of them if some of us think it is inhumane. Not to mention we would have to convince most of the world’s farmers not to raise chickens. I don’t see that happening in the immediate future. So what would we do with all those eggs if we didn’t eat them? Unfertilized eggs are nutrition dense and I don’t think we are doing the chickens any justice if we just throw them away. I think we are honoring the chickens by eating the eggs that they dutifully lay because they have been bred to do so over millennia in order to please us. That’s why I eat eggs without guilt from humanely and pasture-raised chickens. I’m not talking about the eggs that come from chickens treated inhumanely, raised in crowded cages, who never see the light of day or feel the sun on their pretty feathers or never have a kind word spoken to them from a caring farmer. I completely endorse not eating those kinds of eggs because I don’t believe in eating food from depressed, oppressed and diseased animals. But eggs from the farmers market or your neighbor or the farm up the street, or even the more expensive eggs in the supermarket that are marked organic and pasture raised, those eggs are rich in nutrition and also delicious. 

All the Nutrition in an Egg is in the Yolk

What part of the egg do you think contains the most vitamins? The white or the yolk? If you said the yolk, you’re right. 

Below I have linked an article from Healthline that discusses the difference between the nutrition in an egg white versus a whole egg. It shows that most of the nutrition in an egg is in the yolk. The egg white is 10% protein and 90% water and contains very little other nutrients. Whereas the yolk of the egg is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin D, several B vitamins and some vital minerals. Many people are low in vitamin D and have to take supplements. Lack of vitamin D leads to lots of disorders and is a major contributor in osteoporosis, a scourge of the modern age. I wonder if all those people that take supplemental D vitamins have given up eggs and cream which are naturally full of it? This whole low fat thing which includes non-fat milk and high protein yogurt, has been reducing the A and D vitamins that nature has provided us with. No wonder Vitamin D levels are low for so many people.

Another important vitamin in egg yolks that does not occur in the white of the egg is the elusive vitamin B12. That’s the one that vegans are recommended to supplement because it does not occur naturally in plant-based food, only in animal-based food. But egg yolks have it. 

I think of it this way, the albumen, or white of the egg is the part that would produce the body of a tiny chick if it were fertilized and the yolk is the nutrition on which it would feed. And so the yolk, by design has all the vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and proteins needed to grow the body of a healthy little chick. (Yes, even though most of the protein is in the white of the egg, egg yolks do contain protein). Why anyone would throw out the densely nutritious part of the egg defeats me. Sure, the white of the egg has a few minerals that are common in many other foods we eat but the yolks contain the nutrients that many of us lack in our diet like vitamins D and K. Both of those vitamins are recommended to be taken to rebuild calcium levels in your bones when you have osteoporosis.

Maybe the people buying all the egg white products or who don’t eat eggs at all are watching their cholesterol. Let’s look at that. 

Don’t Egg Yolks Contain Cholesterol?

Absolutely they do!! And you need it. An article on Medical News Today (linked below) says that contrary to what we believed earlier, people with higher cholesterol levels in later life suffer less cognitive decline. That’s right! Giving up healthy foods like eggs because they contain cholesterol can contribute to cognitive decline. Alzheimers has been normalized in our society as something that happens to most adults - but it’s not normal and older people shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of it and their adult children shouldn’t have to witness the horror of it in their aging parents. Alzheimers is attributed to many things and one piece of the puzzle is definitely the increase in highly processed food. Eggs are a natural food, completely unprocessed - straight from nature. Your brain is one of the biggest consumers of cholesterol in your body. The biggest producer of cholesterol is the liver producing over 70% of the cholesterol your body needs to function properly. Only 20-30% of cholesterol comes from food. So to keep your body healthy you need to feed it healthy food so that the liver can do its job and produce lots of cholesterol to keep your body working as you age. Cholesterol medications work by blocking the production of cholesterol in the liver - a natural process that is designed to keep you healthy. As far as your body is concerned, this just complicates everything and makes aging more difficult. Egg yolks happen to provide a healthy source of cholesterol to assist your body in making this precious and necessary nutrient. Who knows - one day they’ll probably come up with a cholesterol supplement and start prescribing it to old people to raise their declining cognitive function. Or we could just start putting whole eggs back into our diet. 

A sad fact about the proliferation of modern media, including internet and social media, is that once something has been put out there, even if you read new science contradicting the old science, our brains get stuck in the old way of thinking and it’s hard for us to accept the change. It feels wrong somehow. So I encourage you to do your own research, use your discernment, question the source of what you read, and don’t be afraid to re-train your brain into a new way of thinking after you decide what the truth is for you. Eggs are a natural, unprocessed and healthy source of protein, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and cholesterol. 

Our Science is an Incomplete Science

I remember when they tried to tell us that butter was bad and margarine was good. Guess what drove that decision? Yeah, it wasn’t because they cared about you being healthy now was it? I could never stomach the taste of margarine and so I was never converted. Instead, growing up in England, where bread and butter is a staple, I was absolutely convinced that butter, coming from a natural source, had to be better for you than margarine coming from a factory. Today we know that most margarines contain the worst kinds of fats. Whether you are on the bandwagon with trans fats, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats etc, we know that the source of those fats is just as important as the types of fatty acid chains. We also understand today that a low calorie diet is not necessarily a healthy one if it doesn’t include calorie-rich essential oils such as those found in avocados, nuts and eggs. With the explosion of the keto and carnivore diets, butter has once again found favor and so it should. I have always trusted that nature knows better than humans what is good and what is not. Humans just make stuff up according to a small bit of knowledge they discover in the moment and then years later they discover something else and overturn everything they raised a generation of people believing. 

So when you are deciding what you want to eat, a healthy approach is to go with your instincts and your natural cravings rather than what you read on the internet. I once had a client who said she loves eggs and craves eggs but she denies them to herself because, she said, they aren’t good for you. She took vitamin D supplements and had a variety of health issues. How sad is that. Her body was trying to tell her what she needed but she wasn’t listening because of the brainwashing. 

Do you know that it is only a little bit over 100 years since the first vitamin was discovered? The first vitamin to be discovered was Vitamin A in 1913. And right away they started to invent vitamin supplements without really understanding the relationship between vitamins and minerals that occur together in the same foods. Since then we have found all kinds of other micronutrients in food. Imagine what else we haven’t discovered yet about food. 

One of the most important things we have learned lately is that when your body needs a certain vitamin to process and absorb something else, they typically occur together in the same food. Nature is so thorough. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium (along with a couple of other vitamins and minerals). Raw whole milk contains vitamin D naturally but the milk you buy in the store does not. That’s why they add vitamin D back into milk because the homogenization and pasteurization processes remove it. However, the synthetic vitamin D they add back in is not the same as the naturally occurring Vitamin D they take out. By the way, guess which part of the raw milk contains vitamin D? It’s the cream, which they have also told us we shouldn’t be consuming because it’s fattening. So first they heat treat the milk which removes some essential vitamins for absorbing the other nutrients in the milk and then they skim off the fat which contains any that are left. Then they add back in some artificially created vitamins and tell us that pasteurized, low fat milk is good for us. 

While we know about vitamin D and calcium, and a lot of other things, we can’t claim to know about every nutrient relationship in food. Nature holds a lot of secrets. That’s why its important to get our nutrition from real food and not from supplements.  The fact that valuable nutrients, like Vitamin D, are found in the fatty parts of eggs and milk should tell you something about the need to make sure you have healthy fat in your diet. The body needs fat to metabolize fat and produce energy. That’s ketosis - the basis of the keto diet - where the body burns its own fat instead of carbohydrates taken as food. A keto diet done right includes lots of fat, not just lean protein - or it can’t work. Your brain is 60% fat. No wonder a low fat diet contributes to Alzheimer’s Disease, a brain disorder. See my linked reference below by the National Institute on Aging. 

The truth is that nature knows best how to provide a balanced diet and has done so for thousands of years, whereas we humans make clumsy attempts at determining what is healthy and what is not based solely on what we have discovered in not even a couple hundred years. That’s why nature created whole eggs complete with white and yolk and whole milk complete with cream on the top. Tomorrow we’ll discover something else in food that changes what we think we know today. I believe that we are currently not equipped with sufficient knowledge to fully understand the beautiful tapestries of complementary nutrients that nature weaves for us in the foods she supplies us with. That’s why I have always intuitively trusted nature more than I have ever trusted modern science and the motives of big industries to put certain information out in the public domain. 

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Egg Yolk Nutrition:

Healthline Article The difference between the nutrition in an egg white versus a whole egg:

Medical News Today: The importance of cholesterol in brain health

National Institute on Aging: What is Alzheimer’s Disease

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