How much eggs should I eat in a week?

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods and a great source of protein. Many people wonder how many eggs they can eat in a week while staying healthy. The recommendations on weekly egg consumption vary quite a bit. While some guidelines suggest eating only a few eggs per week, others claim you can enjoy eggs daily without concern. This article reviews how many eggs you can eat in a week and still remain healthy.

Quick answer

Most healthy people can eat 6–12 eggs per week as part of a balanced diet. Going above 12 eggs may increase cholesterol levels in some individuals. However, eating 20 eggs per week is unlikely to harm most people.

How many eggs can you eat in a week?

There are no official recommendations for weekly egg intake. However, most guidelines suggest limits of 6–12 eggs per week.

Here are common recommendations on how many eggs you can eat in a week:

  • The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 eggs per week.
  • The US dietary guidelines don’t set a limit but mention 3 eggs per week as part of a healthy diet.
  • The UK’s National Health Service recommends no more than 7 eggs per week.
  • Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council say up to 6 eggs per week is healthy.

Most guidelines agree that eating up to 6 or 7 eggs per week doesn’t increase the risk of heart disease in healthy people.

While very high intakes above 12 eggs per week may raise cholesterol levels in some individuals, research shows that most people can eat up to 20 eggs per week without harm.

For example, a study in people with normal cholesterol levels found eating 12 eggs per week for 3 months had no negative impact on cholesterol or other heart disease risk factors (1).

What’s more, eating up to 20 eggs per week for 4.5 months didn’t increase LDL cholesterol or heart disease risk factors in healthy people (2).

Should you limit egg consumption?

In the past, eggs were vilified because their yolks are high in cholesterol. It was believed that eating cholesterol-rich foods raised cholesterol in your blood and caused heart disease.

However, studies demonstrate that dietary cholesterol only weakly affects blood cholesterol levels in most people (3).

Other factors, such as genetics, diet, exercise, and body weight, have a much greater impact on your cholesterol levels.

While limiting egg intake may slightly lower cholesterol in some people, it’s unlikely to reduce your risk of heart disease. Good evidence supports the lack of harm even with high intakes.

One study followed over 200,000 people for up to 32 years. It found no association between egg or dietary cholesterol intake and heart disease or stroke risk (4).

What’s more, many studies show eggs promote heart health due to their many beneficial nutrients. Eating 1–2 eggs daily may lower heart disease risk by:

  • Increasing HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation, inflammation, and insulin resistance
  • Promoting the formation of larger, less dangerous LDL particles

Based on current evidence, limiting eggs may do more harm than good for most people.

Eggs are highly nutritious

Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet.

Whole eggs are rich in:

  • Protein: Eggs provide 6 grams of protein per large egg, with all 9 essential amino acids.
  • Vitamin and minerals: Eggs contain almost every vitamin and mineral your body needs, including choline, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins A, B12, B2, B5, and iron, zinc, and copper.
  • Antioxidants: Egg yolks are a great source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may benefit eye health.

Consuming eggs 3–4 times per week is considered safe for most healthy people.

In fact, eating eggs frequently may even improve cholesterol levels and numerous health markers for many people.

Eggs may promote weight loss

Eggs are incredibly satisfying and may promote weight loss.

Compared to bagels, eggs as part of a breakfast lead to:

  • Reduced hunger and greater feelings of fullness: Eggs score high on satiety indexes that measure the ability of foods to induce feelings of fullness (5).
  • Lower calorie intake later in the day: One study found that women who had eggs as part of their breakfast consumed fewer calories over the next 36 hours compared to those who ate a bagel breakfast (6).
  • Weight loss: In one study, replacing a bagel breakfast with eggs for 8 weeks resulted in 65% greater weight loss and a 34% greater reduction in waist size (7).

In addition to being high in protein, eggs increase the production of the fullness hormones peptide YY and GLP-1 while reducing ghrelin, the hunger hormone (8).

Furthermore, the protein in eggs provides steady energy, avoiding energy peaks and crashes that drive overeating and hunger.

Health risks of eating too many eggs

Most experts agree you can eat up to 3 whole eggs per day without increasing health risks. Still, very high intakes above 20 eggs per week may raise cholesterol levels in susceptible people.

However, studies show that even high intakes are unlikely to cause harm:

  • No association with heart disease: Several studies with follow-ups of 6–32 years found no link between daily egg consumption and heart disease or stroke (9, 10).
  • No increase in risk factors: Eating up to 3 whole eggs per day for 12 weeks did not worsen heart disease risk factors in healthy adults. Factors measured included blood lipids, blood sugar, insulin, markers of inflammation, blood pressure, weight, and carotid artery wall thickness (11).
  • May protect heart health: One study found that consuming up to 3 eggs per day for 12 months reduced inflammation, improved HDL function, and changed LDL particle size from small to large, which could lower heart disease risk (12).

Based on current evidence, eating up to 3 eggs per day is safe for the majority of people.

Individual differences

A small percentage of people are considered hyperresponders to dietary cholesterol. Their blood levels rise significantly in response to high intakes (13).

For these individuals, limiting egg intake to 2–4 whole eggs per week may be prudent.

You can determine whether you’re a hyperresponder by getting tested for cholesterol levels before increasing your egg intake.

Risks of eating too few eggs

In general, eating eggs is incredibly safe, even if you eat several per day.

However, eating too few eggs could be harmful for some, especially those following very low fat, plant-based diets. Potential risks include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: Eggs are rich sources of nutrients like choline, lutein, zeaxanthin, B12, and selenium, which some people don’t get enough of on very low fat diets. Just two large eggs provide over 100% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for choline (14).
  • Hormone imbalances: In one study, athletes adopting plant-based diets experienced hormonal disruptions and impaired blood antioxidant capacity. Adding eggs brought markers back to normal (15).
  • Mental health conditions: Low choline intake is linked to neurological disorders like anxiety, depression, and poor memory in some people (16).

So while avoiding eggs can reduce intake of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol for some individuals, it may leave others at risk of deficiencies.

Eating egg whites vs. whole eggs

Most of an egg’s nutrients reside in the yolk rather than the white. Still, many people prefer egg whites.

Here’s a comparison of the nutrients in 1 large egg (50 grams) versus 1 large egg white (33 grams) (17):

Nutrient Whole egg Egg white
Calories 72 17
Protein 6 grams 4 grams
Fat 5 grams 0 grams
Carbs 0.4 grams 0.2 grams
Vitamin A 260 IU (9% DV) 0 IU (0% DV)
Folate 22 mcg (6% DV) 1 mcg (0% DV)
Choline 147 mg (27% DV) 0 mg
Lutein 224 mcg 0 mcg
B12 0.4 mcg (17% DV) 0.03 mcg (1% DV)

As you can see, all the fat, cholesterol, and many vitamins and minerals reside in the yolk.

While egg whites are low in calories, fat free, and high in protein, the nutrients in the yolks are incredibly important.

Vitamins like A, D, E, K, and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium along with antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are highly concentrated in the yolks rather than the whites.

Therefore for optimal nutrition, be sure to consume whole eggs rather than just egg whites.

Food safety and preparation

Raw or undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning and illness. However, the risk is low in countries that have strict food safety regulations.

You can enjoy raw eggs in salad dressings, shakes, or other dishes without worry as long as you use pasteurized eggs.

To eliminate bacteria and be fully safe, cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Whole eggs should not be runny or liquid.

Here are some safe ways to prepare eggs:

  • Boiled or poached: Cook for 7–10 minutes to solidify the yolks completely.
  • Fried, scrambled, or omelets: Cook on medium-high heat, making sure no runny liquids remain.
  • Baked goods: Use properly cooked or pasteurized eggs. Make sure casseroles and dishes reach 160°F (71°C).

Bottom line

Based on current evidence, most healthy people can safely eat up to 3 whole eggs daily or up to 7 eggs per week. This level is unlikely to increase risk factors for heart disease.

While very high intakes above 20 eggs per week are unlikely to cause harm in most people, they may raise cholesterol levels in some.

However, simply removing the yolks and eating only egg whites deprives you of nutritious components. It’s better to eat whole eggs, just in moderation.

Overall, eggs are incredibly healthy, nutritious and safe to consume.

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