Are Eggs a Diet Food?

One man died after eating more than two dozen raw eggs. But, are eggs a good diet food?

“The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty” star Jessica Chastain refuses to eat eggs. Photo: Nick Step.

Twenty-year-old Dhaou Fatnassi of Tunisia learned that eating eggs can make you sick…very sick and very quickly.

Dhaou bet his friends he could eat 28 raw eggs in one go. He won the bet. Then, his stomach started hurting, and his friends rushed him to a hospital — but he was dead on arrival. The eggs killed him, although his doctors haven’t yet told us exactly why.

If you’re on a diet, you’re not likely to eat 28 eggs at once, so you might be wondering: Are eggs a good diet food?

Are Eggs Good for Your Diet?

You can lose weight lots of ways that aren’t good for you: chemotherapy, fen-phen, chopping off a limb (your leg weighs about 10% of your total body weight, says this expert)…but what you want is a way to diet that doesn’t hurt you at the same time.

If your test for a diet food is that it both works and won’t make you sick, eggs get a failing grade. One large egg has about 185 milligrams of cholesterol, enough to make it one of the most concentrated sources of cholesterol in your diet. (Mayo Clinic)

This blog is dedicated to using the best scientific knowledge to help you win at losing weight. But sometimes it seems like every new study you read about contradicts something a previous study told you was true. How do you know what to believe?

The best studies are those that track large numbers of people in the real world over long periods of time, like the study called the Oxford Vegetarian Study. It carefully monitored nearly 6,000 non-meat eaters and 5,000 meat eaters during 13 years. Those eating eggs more than six times a week were two and a half times more likely to die of heart disease than those eating less than one egg a week.

Another research project, the 50-year-long Western Electric Study, produced more interesting news. If you eat an average of two eggs a day now, and you stopped doing so, you would reap these benefits:

  • You would slash your risk of coronary heart disease by 43%.
  • You would cut your risk of death from all causes by 25%.
  • You would increase your life expectancy by three years.

Just by not eating two eggs a day!

Clearly a food this deadly is no diet food. Only people whose job it is to sell you eggs, or people who tell you what you want to hear (for their own benefit) would ever recommend you eat eggs to lose weight. (Even I hesitate to write posts like this one. Some readers stop coming back when I tell them something they don’t want to believe. Luckily, other readers use the information to improve their lives, and that makes it worthwhile.)

The egg industry has published many scientific journal papers encouraging you to eat eggs. They also try to discredit other, objective research that reveals the risks of eating eggs.

At the bottom of every paper I’ve seen recommending you eat eggs is a tell-tale line. It reveals “Funding from Egg Nutrition Center,” that the author “serves on the Egg Nutrition Council’s Scientific Advisory Board” or something similar. In my book, that means the authors have a conflict of interest. I’d like to get diet advice from someone not paid by the people who sell the things they recommend.

Doctors affiliated with the egg industry have seen the research implicating eggs in death and heart disease. But they refuse to accept it. I think Upton Sinclair said it best:

“It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

 

What You Can Do Today

Cut out eggs from your diet. If you absolutely love eggs, then try to eat no more than one or two a week.

Are you a fan of baking? If so, you can replace eggs with healthier alternatives in your recipes, and you won’t even miss them. Here’s how.

If you must have an omelette every Sunday for brunch, try a healthy, egg-free version.

Free Resources:

Free Worksheet: Calculate Your Body Mass Index
Free Daily Food Log: Help Yourself Eat Better and Lose Weight
Free E-Newsletter: Stay Motivated, Keep Learning
Free Weigh Loss Quote of the Day or Quote of the Week: Get Inspired Again, and Again, and Again...

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