Eggs really must be the perfect food. By that I mean the whole egg – not just the egg whites, but also the egg yolks.
Eat the whole egg
If you think about it, you can not only get good nutrition from an egg but an egg can be made into a chicken… an entire chicken! Eggs have all of the nutrition that’s needed to start a whole organism. That means that it’s going to have all of the essential proteins, the essential amino acids, the essential fatty acids, and the cholesterol to build all of the cell walls. Cell walls are made of phospholipids, and cholesterol is a big part of all of our cellular membranes as mammals. The yolks and the whites are really required for proper growth. You need the entire egg. You can’t just use egg whites to make a chicken.
Eggs are a very low-carb food
This flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught, but welcome to my world. More than 20 years ago, patients in front of me used what was called the Atkins diet and lost over 50 pounds. It piqued my curiosity. I visited doctors who were using this approach and started research into this area. Dr. Will Yancy and I at Duke University alongside Dr. Jeff Volek at Ohio State started studying this 20 years ago. Now, studies have been done all over the world using diets that include eggs. Eggs are not prohibited in low-carb diets. In fact, they’re encouraged. There’s even an approach where you break your stall by doing an egg fast! I think it works because you’re keeping the carbs super low if all you do is eat eggs. Eggs contain very few carbs, maybe half a gram or one gram, depending on the size. It’s very difficult to eat 20 eggs, for example, so you could stay under a 20-carb limit pretty easily by eating a couple of eggs a day. Eggs are important in a nutritious diet. Although they’re not required, they’re a great source of nutrition and fall into the meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs portion of the low-carb keto approach that we teach.
There is no limit to how many eggs you can eat on a keto diet
There’s no limit to the number of eggs you can eat during the day up to reasonable satiety and fullness. Our approach is that there’s no explicit limit on the number of zero-carb foods that you can have, but what happens functionally or practically speaking is that you don’t eat much even though I say you can use as much as you want. You won’t want as much; if you don’t understand that yet, then you haven’t tried it yet or it hasn’t been working correctly for you. When you get started on a well-formulated keto diet that starts with protein first, like eggs, the hunger goes away after a day or two and you eat less, automatically, compared to what you did before. Keto diets are known for weight loss because you eat less and you start burning your body fat really well – that’s ketosis.
Eggs can be a part of a nutritious, well-formulated keto diet. In fact, I’ve had some people where eggs really are the primary source of their protein because they like them or they start out eating eggs and maybe get tired of them so they rotate through eating eggs in a different way. Any type of preparation is fine; you could have them hard-boiled, soft-boiled, scrambled, or raw. Someone recently told me they loved a raw egg in their coffee; they beat it up or puree it like bulletproof coffee and it tasted great. If you want to do that, that’s fine. In our area, the popular thing to do is to have chickens in your yard. That means you can have eggs every morning – you don’t even have to purchase them at the store. I have no intention of doing that, but if you want to have your own eggs made for you, have some chickens.
Eggs have proven to raise good cholesterol
The reason why this flies in the face of what we’ve been taught is that there’s been a focus on cholesterol in the blood as a marker of health. It’s a narrow view and even then it’s probably not an entirely accurate view of what causes heart disease and atherosclerosis, but it was all taught. That was the be-all and end-all and you could take drugs to lower the cholesterol or you could change your diet to change the blood cholesterol. We now know that actually, eggs have been healthy all along. It turns out eggs can raise the total cholesterol but they do it by raising the good cholesterol. If you’re going to be looking at total cholesterol, LDL and HDL, you have to be sure to look at the HDL cholesterol because eggs raise the good cholesterol. It actually makes me wonder if the low HDL that some people have is a result of being told not to have eggs and not to have foods like red meat, because they will make your HDL go low. If you’ve been told that you have a low HDL or if you look at your blood panel and it’s low and you’re not eating eggs, that’s a very good way to raise the good cholesterol or HDL in your blood.
I think you should also look at the triglyceride level in the blood, not just the LDL. The triglycerides should come down on a well-formulated low-carb diet that has eggs in it and the HDL should go up. Although it may take time for the HDL to go up – it may take months to years to see the full effect on the HDL cholesterol – you should see the triglycerides go down in just a matter of weeks.
Vary how you consume eggs
I include eggs in my diet in many different ways. I have a hard-boiled egg maker that does a dozen eggs at a time. (Of course, you could just do it in a pot.) I use eggs in my ‘chaffles’ (cheese waffles). I love quiches or sometimes people will make egg wraps, almost like a tortilla, where they use egg whites for the tortilla wrap substitute. You can even purchase those at the store in some places. There are lots and lots of ways to do eggs. Of course, I love the Julia Child video where she teaches you how to make “the perfect omelet every time,” where you want to be sure the pan is on the highest heat and it just cooks lightly for 30 seconds maximum so the eggs don’t come out eggy. What you want to focus on is what you have inside the omelet, not the egg itself. If you’re tired of eggs, rotate to a different type of way to have eggs or just don’t have them for a while and then your taste for them will probably come back as you rotate through different types of diets.
Watch the full video here.