How Many Egg Yolks a Day Can I Eat?


by Alejandra "Alex" Ruani — Get free science updates here.

How many egg yolks a day can I eat: One? Two? None?

We unscramble the latest on egg science, including an egg study published in 2015, so when someone asks you this age-old question you’ll have the most up-to-date answer!

Grab “How many egg yolks a day can I eat? below:

 

Download PDF NOW!

 

Conveniently download this 28-page science report. Contains links to extra reading materials and scientific references.

Topics covered in this report:

  1. Unscrambling egg science
  2. What’s cholesterol?
  3. Dietary cholesterol vs. blood cholesterol
  4. Differences between LDL and HDL cholesterol
  5. Small LDL particles and good HDL
  6. How much cholesterol do egg yolks have? (includes chart)
  7. What’s the dietary cholesterol limit?
  8. Do yolks raise blood cholesterol?
  9. Debunking the cholesterol myth
  10. Paleo and evolutionary biology
  11. Harvard’s observational studies
  12. Who should limit egg yolk intake?
  13. Yale’s egg intervention trials
  14. How many yolks a day for healthy adults?
  15. How many for those with high blood cholesterol?
  16. And for those with heart disease?
  17. What else did the researchers find on egg consumption?
  18. A caveat for hyper-responders
  19. So, how many egg yolks a day?
  20. Your key takeaways
  21. References and resources

 

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And let me know in the comments below what you think about egg yolks and heart health - I'd love to hear from you!

The-Health-Sciences-Academy-Alejandra-Ruani-small1-right
Alex Ruani leads the research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where she and her team make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. She is a Harvard-trained scientific researcher who specialises in cravings and appetite neurobiology, nutrition biochemistry, and nutrigenomics. Besides investigating and teaching the latest advances in health and nutrition science, Alex makes it easier to be smarter with her free Science Catch-ups every other Thursday.
Connect with Alex via email.


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28 Comments

  • Emma

    Reply Reply January 28, 2015

    Once again I’ve been mightily surprised by your findings. I want to say how much I love the way you explain the science. You make it easy for anyone to understand and remember things.

    I stopped eating egg yolks when I was a teenager because of the things I’ve heard. I’m not sure I’ll incorporate them in my diet because I’m not used to eating them anymore which is a shame since they seem to be so nutritious but I will certainly feel less guilty when I do have them

    Thank youuuuu

    • Sam

      Reply Reply January 28, 2015

      Happy that I get to keep my PDF so when people don’t believe me I have proof!!! The cholesterol table per yolk size is awesome, helps monitor my intake. Your reports are a gem ALex

      • Alex

        Reply Reply January 29, 2015

        Sam – your feedback means the world to us, we work hard to make sure we arm you with the best information possible!

        • Tanya

          Reply Reply January 29, 2015

          Love your reports they are easy to understand as well as remembering them. You’re a star Alex.

          Thank you
          Tanya.

          • Alex

            Reply Reply January 29, 2015

            And so are you, Tanya! Love having you on board

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 29, 2015

      Emma – music to my ears, we love surprising you with our findings :-)

  • Susan

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    One of the best articles I’ve been given, while easy to understand. Thank you for the download

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 29, 2015

      Susan – thank you so much, it’s readers like you who motivate us to do what we do

  • Claudia

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    WOW Learned a lot, my biggest takeaway is the difference between observational and intervention studies, I had no idea!!!! Thank you so much, love love love your reports and investigations!!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 29, 2015

      Claudia – it’s a very important distinction indeed, glad we could help! :-)

  • Amy

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    Thank you Alex for the great breakdown of information. I am sure this topic and its content is prevalent to many of our lives. It will help us provide more knowledgeable information to our clients, and make better decisions for ourselves. Thanks again!

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 29, 2015

      Amy – that’s exactly my goal: that you’re equipped with the best information possible to help others and make a positive impact :-)

  • Dimitri

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    Awesome report as always, I love how it’s so easy to understand, it’s straight to the point and that it’s so beneficial! :) Thank you guys for all your hard work and investigations! You are superstars!

  • Samantha

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    Wonderful report, Alex! Thank you for making it easy to understand. This is a topic I have always been interested in. There are always so many different opinions on how many eggs to eat, and the topic of cholesterol. I am so happy that I am better informed on this topic. Thank you for the free download.

    Samantha

  • doreen

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    are the studys done on eggs from commercial chickens in cages or farm raised cage free chickens?.. i have heard that cage free chicken eggs are much lower in the bad
    cholesterol.. thanks for the info.. doreen

    • Maria, Research Analyst (The Health Sciences Academy)

      Reply Reply January 29, 2015

      Good question, Doreen. Commercial eggs for the most part. By the way, “bad” cholesterol is an expression that people use to refer to LDL “blood” cholesterol and not “food” cholesterol. See slides 5 to 8 for a clear distinction. I guess you meant “good” vs “bad” fats? :-) If so, I think you might enjoy this article: https://thehealthsciencesacademy.org/health-tips/saturated-fat-exonerated/ Thanks for commenting! Maria (Research Analyst)

  • Heidi

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    I want to thank you for the free information. Each week I have been learning so much more and in return I have been educating my clients on nutrition. I work at a facility with adults who have both a mental illness and substance abuse. The wording, definitions, and graphs make it easy for them (and me)to understand. Thank you again.

    • Alex

      Reply Reply January 29, 2015

      Heidi – thanks for your beautiful words, the work you do is incredible, it’s an honour to have you in our community!

  • Debra

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    Very interesting and informative, Alex. Thank you for the article – definitely a keeper. Glad I don’t tend to follow the “trends” and have never given up whole eggs!

  • Kathy

    Reply Reply January 29, 2015

    Thank you so much for providing these informational reports. They are so valuable. I mine such great information from each and every one. This one was especially interesting and informative, Alex! I loved the fact that there was actually a randomized cross over study done. I also appreciated your explanation of intervention vs. cause-and-effect. Thanks for these wonderful weekly downloads. Kathy

  • Sarah

    Reply Reply January 30, 2015

    This is just what i had been wondering – we recently introduced eggs back into our daily diet as a friend recommended them as a good breakfast to keep you full all morning and 3 scrambled eggs does do that ! and I had wondered about the Cholesterol issue so this is a great article – thanks !

  • chris

    Reply Reply January 30, 2015

    Hi Alex, I enjoyed the report, though due to its concentration on one aspect of egg consumption, namely cholesterol, I wonder if people are also aware of the other health implications of egg consumption, such as

    These studies;

    “Tse G, Eslick GD: Egg consumption and risk of GI neoplasms: dose-response meta-analysis and systematic review. Eur J Nutr 2014”. – which showed significant increase in gastrointestinal cancers with increasing egg consumption, including a 42% increase of colon cancer with 5 or more weekly eggs consumed.

    Spence JD, Jenkins DJ, Davignon J: Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis 2012 – which showed in a significant increase in carotid artery plaques when eating 3 eggs a week compared to eating 2 per week.

    Choline is also linked to higher risks of prostate cancers and of course animal protein intake increases IGF-1 circulating in our bodies.
    Richman EL, Kenfield SA, Stampfer MJ, et al: Choline intake and risk of lethal prostate cancer: incidence and survival. Am J Clin Nutr 2012

    I certainly agree that the overall health of your diet is far more important than one specific food item, however, there is much evidence to suggest that eating eggs could be a risk and really we can get everything that we get from eggs in a potentially safer food form, though I have to say I do eat eggs myself but it is infrequent and certainly less than 2 per week.

    • Maria, Research Analyst (The Health Sciences Academy)

      Reply Reply January 30, 2015

      Hi Chris, thanks for sharing! The 3 studies you found are observational (also called cohort), which means that they can’t prove cause-and-effect and are based on questionnaires that people fill in, typically on a variety of dietary aspects, so the conclusions are based on stats, rather than clinical lab tests using a control group :-) Observational studies tend to be biased unfortunately, given that the researchers can re-package the data around to find what they were looking for (an association). That’s why the intervention studies (like the ones in this report) provide an actual proof of cause-and-effect. Once again, thanks for commenting, it’s always great to hear from you! Maria (Research Analyst)

  • Bruce Stewart

    Reply Reply February 3, 2015

    Great article and research. I’ve been eating farm fresh eggs for years and have seen no increase in cholesterol. The nutrition in a good egg is hard to beat. Don’t forget the vitamin k which is so important in moving calcium out of the blood. It is also better not to scramble eggs as this causes oxidation of the fats in the yolk and oxidized cholesterol is implicated in heart disease risk.

  • Louisa

    Reply Reply February 3, 2015

    Hi there,
    I notice the study you quote by harmen et al. 2008 “Increased dietary cholesterol does not increase plasma low density lipoprotein when accompanied by an energy-restricted diet and weight loss”
    Is sponsored by: The British Egg Industry Council, UK.
    Also I feel this study is a poor representation of long term outcomes as the study only looked at calorie deficient diets (-500kcal/day) which is not something people can sustain long term (you would most certainly die of starvation).
    While the study found a reduction in LDL in egg eaters, it found the same result in non-egg eaters (most likely due to the massive reduction in fat intake in both groups). This study really shows nothing about the effect of eggs on cholesterol other than “if you reduce your calorie/fat intake and run at -500kcal per day then 2 eggs per day over 12 weeks will have no effect on your cholesterol”
    So I just wanted to clarify is it only ok to eat eggs while you are reducing your fat intake by aprox 33% and eating 500kcal/day less than you need per day?

    • Maria, Research Analyst (The Health Sciences Academy)

      Reply Reply February 3, 2015

      Hi Louisa, thanks for sharing! 100% of the scientific studies out there are funded by parties that have a direct or indirect commercial interest of some sort, whether it’s a government body, a university, an association or private individuals. But that doesn’t mean that scientists are biased: they need to declare their independence and it’s unlawful to manipulate the results of an intervention trial. That’s why we only use peer-reviewed studies, from high-impact scientific journals, where rigorous review and approval processes are in place before the results are accepted and published. Regarding your other point, the egg-eaters in the 2008 study were not on a traditional low-fat diet and they ate almost twice the guideline amount of dietary cholesterol, with no LDL increase. However, it’s important not to take one single study in isolation, that’s why we look at the aggregation of evidence in this report, through other studies with different variables that did not include a low-calorie diet. In the end, as Alex explains, the compounded effect of your overall diet (rather than an ingredient in isolation) is what counts. Thanks again for commenting and sharing! Maria (Research Analyst)

  • Monika

    Reply Reply February 9, 2015

    Dear Alex and the team, thank you for the report. Interesting, easy to read and follow and quite simply eye opening. I had no idea! I admit I have been avoiding eating eggs based on the assumption that yolks have high cholesterol content. However I do enjoy scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast or omelette for lunch occasionally. Perhaps next time I will replace scrambled egg by boiled one. I think moderation is the key. Thank you, I enjoy reading your reports!

  • Louisa

    Reply Reply February 27, 2015

    Hi there,
    People love to hear they can eat something they like when they were once told it was bad for them.
    However I feel like this article should have looked at the study by: Nakamura et al: Egg consumption, serum cholesterol, and cause-specific and all- cause mortality: the National Integrated Project for Prospective Observation of Non-communicable Disease and Its Trends in the Aged, 1980 (NIPPON DATA80).
    This study looks at all cause mortality associated with egg consumption in the Japanese population. Now this population presents a unique opportunity in that cholesterol from other sources are low there for egg consumption is the main source of cholesterol. The Japanese population also has a much lower mean cholesterol level and lower rate of ischemic heart disease (IHD) than western countries,
    “However cholesterol has been shown to have predictive value in IHD in Japan (18).
    The study found that:
    “Women in the 1-2 eggs/week group had The lowest age adjusted total cholesterol concentrations, and their relative risk for all-cause mortality was much lower than the 1-2 eggs/day group. The women in the 1-2eggs/week group tended to have much lower rates of mortality due to IHD, stroke, and cancer then the 1-2 eggs/day group.”
    The same relationship was not found in Japanese men in the study, however this may be because “Men consume dietary cholesterol from a variety of sources (i.e sources other than eggs) than do women.
    So other studies where sources other than eggs of dietary cholesterol are not recorded and controlled for can have results that show no difference in effect on health aswell.
    However the data from the Nakamura study clearly shows that egg consumption is associated with increased all cause mortality.

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