Forget which comes first, the chicken or the egg. The question circulating our minds is: Are eggs good or bad for you? The ubiquitous grocery store staple has a surprising amount of controversy around it (cholesterol, we’re looking at you) however we’re here to get to the truth. There’s a reason top athletes like Penny Oleksiak and Russell Westbrook incorporate eggs into their diet for both fuel and recovery, but you don’t need to be at peak performance to reap the benefits. Whether you like them scrambled, fried, or oozing atop avocado toast, eggs are important to your diet—here’s why.

Cholesterol in food doesn’t have as much impact as you think

For decades, people have been told that the cholesterol in food raises blood cholesterol levels and causes heart disease. While this idea may have prevailed with old science, recent studies no longer support this.

The reality is, while some foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, and shellfish contain cholesterol, our bodies do a great job at regulating the amount of cholesterol that circulates in the blood. If you’re eating foods higher in cholesterol, your body responds by producing less. When you eat less cholesterol from food, your body produces more to compensate. Ultimately, this is why cholesterol from food has minimal impact on blood cholesterol levels.

Experts agree that we should shift our focus to improve our overall eating patterns to promote heart health. Eating a dietary pattern that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lower-fat dairy products, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds helps to maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. Research suggests that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat helps to manage cholesterol levels more than reducing dietary cholesterol. 

Eggs have cholesterol (and that’s ok!)

This may be the longest-running debate in the egg-sphere. Let’s settle the score now: while eggs contain cholesterol, this doesn’t mean you have to limit them—eggs have very little impact on the cholesterol levels in our bodies. One large egg contains 200 mg cholesterol, but this should hardly propel them to boogeyman status. While the cholesterol in the egg is found in the yolk, that doesn’t mean you have to live on egg whites! Almost half of the egg’s protein and many essential nutrients are found in the yolk. New studies consistently show that people who eat whole eggs are no more likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t. 

So, the next time you’re in need of dinner inspiration, try this recipe for Shakshuka, and enjoy it without fear. 

Eggs are a nutrition superstar.

Penny Oleksiak, J.J Watt, Usain Bolt, Shannon Sharpe, Russell Westbrook — these are just a few of the world’s top athletes that incorporate eggs into their diet— seriously, Oleksiak eats avocado toast with eggs “literally every single day.”

They’re naturally packed with nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and B12, folate, iron, zinc, and high-quality protein. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin (good for your eyes), and choline (good for the brain and nerves). 

Beyond being tasty and versatile, eating eggs alongside other food can also help our bodies absorb more vitamins, too. A study found that adding an egg to a salad can increase how much vitamin E you absorb from the salad, so maybe the French were on to something with the Nicoise salad after all. 

We’ve all heard the word protein spread across the world like wildfire in recent years. But truthfully, it’s worth the hype. Health Canada’s recent changes to Canada’s Food Guide suggest filling one-quarter of your plate with protein foods (two eggs provide a whopping 13 grams of protein). 

In the words of Oleksiak, “eggs for dinner isn’t weird.” Whether you want to eat eggs on pizza like the Olympian, start your day with an egg sandwich like Bolt, in an omelette like Westbrook or spice things up with Korean Bibimbap it’s clear that the benefits of eggs outweigh any outdated, misguided cons. 

Get Cracking is Egg Farmers of Canada’s consumer brand that works to share with Canadians all the nutritional benefits that eggs offer. Get Cracking also offers a variety of delicious and innovative recipes, so Canadians can enjoy eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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