Photo: Mackenzie Stroh
Q: At least four times a week, I have two eggs with a piece of toast for breakfast. I find that it satisfies my hunger better than any other breakfast and gets me through to lunch. My cholesterol is normal, so am I okay with this approach?—Denielle Backstrom, Colorado Springs
A: I'm not surprised that you find this meal so satisfying. Eggs are a great source of high-quality protein, and the evidence is strong that protein is more filling than carbohydrates or fat. You don't have to worry too much about your heart: Numerous studies show that cholesterol from food sources has little effect on levels in your blood. (It's the saturated and trans fat in food that raises your cholesterol.) Since our early ancestors ate a diet rich in cholesterol from organ meats, eggs, shellfish, and bone marrow, it makes sense that our bodies would have evolved to safely digest high levels.
A number of studies suggest that about one egg a day has no adverse effect on health outcomes. A study in my lab found that eating two eggs daily for six weeks also had no harmful effects in healthy adults, and we are even seeing similar results in people with high cholesterol. But it's unclear what the risk might be over a period of years.
What's certain is that eating only an egg breakfast deprives you of the opportunity to get more whole grains into your diet. Having whole wheat toast with your eggs helps, but breakfast cereals rich in whole grains—with a minimum of added sugar or salt (my favorites include Nature's Path and Kashi)—will also satisfy your hunger while giving you a bigger dose of fiber.
Consider adjusting your regimen so that you average no more than an egg a day, which will make room for whole grains.