Give Online - The power of every one
Diet & Nutrition | Heart Healthy Living
How Many Eggs Can You Eat to Stay Heart-Healthy?

How Many Eggs Can You Eat to Stay Heart-Healthy?

Guidance and cooking tips from a dietitian

Breakfast is one meal you shouldn’t skip. But a lot of us aren’t sure whether we should eat eggs because of their saturated fat and cholesterol content.

A red flag is there only for people with heart disease risk factors, says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Preventive Cardiology Nutrition Program.

How many eggs per week?

“There is no current recommendation on how many eggs you should consume each week,” says Zumpano. “Research indicates that total saturated fat contributes more to LDL (bad) cholesterol than dietary cholesterol.”

She points out that egg whites are safe and a good source of protein. It is egg yolks that have the cholesterol and saturated fat you’re trying to avoid.

“If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, be cautious about the number of egg yolks you consume, and take into account all the other forms of saturated fat (red meat, beef, pork, veal and lamb, poultry skin, whole-milk dairy or full-fat cheese) in your diet,” says Zumpano.

“To lower your LDL cholesterol, no more than 5 to 6 percent of your calories should come from saturated fat, according to the 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines.”

Consider cooking methods

When you prepare eggs, you should also pay attention to the way you cook them, says Zumpano. “If you fry them, the oil that you add is only going to contribute to your saturated fat for the day,” she says. She says these drier or oil-free cooking methods are preferred:

  • Poaching
  • Boiling
  • Pan-frying with a cooking spray

Zumpano adds that you should avoid putting salt on your eggs to keep the amount of sodium in your diet at the recommended level. One teaspoon of salt is all you need per day.

More information

Cholesterol Facts and Fiction
Cholesterol Guide: Exercise Tips

Tags: breakfast, cholesterol, eggs, healthy diet, morning, saturated fat
Chat with a heart nurse to get your questions answered

We welcome your comments. However, we cannot provide a medical opinion without an in-person consultation. To learn about Cleveland Clinic services available to you, please fill out our WebMail form.
  • ERSEI

    What is wrong frying eggs if one uses OLIVE OIL?????????

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Hi ERSEI. I checked with our Preventive Cardiology Nutrition team and they said: There is nothing wrong with it depending on the person’s
      health. One teaspoon of olive oil has 45 calories and 5 grams of fat, so
      depending on how much oil you use the calories and fat can add up which can be
      bad from a weight management perspective. betsyRN

      • Mark

        My dad had one raw egg every day 5 days a week for more than 20 years. No issues and never visited the dr in his lifetime. No hospital visit either. Died at 80 due to dengue fever. What can I say?

        • Richard Kovacs

          Your dad died from dengue fever at 80. How do you know he wouldn’t have died from a heart attack the next day? Never visiting a doctor is a sure fire way to speed your demise. It’s like never having a mechanic look under your hood.

    • Jdarn

      Olive oil is 17% saturated fat. Coconut oil is worse with 93% saturated fat. People have been led to believe that these artery clogging fats are healthy. They are not. Read Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, “How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.”

      • Hey You

        Just as I say, one size does not fit all. A person whose forbears came from Saraha desert like conditions will not have the same psyology as a person whose forbearers came from Norway or Finland. Those who base nutrition on an average earthling are simply promoting bad information.

        • Jdarn

          I congratulate you, really, on your 88 years of age. No one in my family has lived that long. According to the British research, whether you hail from Surbiton, Nali Bator, the British Isles, or Nairobi, your genetic make-up is 99.9% identical to all other human beings.

          • Taimoor Khan

            Chimpanzee’s genetic makeup is 98% similar to humans. It actually 0.001% and so differences that count among humans.

          • Jdarn

            Very interesting. Thank you!

  • Pranav Kulkarni

    I eat a four-yolk omelette every day for breakfast. I run 8 miles a week and am a heavy lifter (for my weight). Plus, I hike every Saturday. Is eating more than 25 egg yolks a week still dangerous for an active person?

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Dear
      Pranav, Our Preventive Cardiology dietitians state: General recommendations for
      prevention of heart disease or for high cholesterol state to limit egg yolks to
      4 per week or saturated fat to less than 7% of your calories, which on a 2200
      calorie diet is 17 grams or less (1 egg provides 1.5 grams of saturated fat).
      On the other hand, they also suggest either an appointment with a dietitian or
      taking advantage of our online nutrition counseling program –
      http://eclevelandclinic.org/productHome.jsp?productId=nutrition. While 25 egg
      yolks seems quite a bit, to truly get an answer to your question, we would need
      to see what your individual risk factors are for heart disease as well as what
      the rest of your diet looks like – that would be a large determinant in deciding
      what your saturated fat content should be. betsyRN

      • Hey You

        We are all different; one size does not fit all.

        • The_Beating_Edge_Team

          that is true – the new dietary recommendations came out this past week – and I believe eggs will be less of an issue – however, they are still limiting saturated fats to less than 10% of calories. http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/
          The actual diet guidelines will come out later this year – so we will see what they have to say. betsyRN

          • killerasteroid

            Eat what you want and forget all these armchair quarterbacks who “limit” you to what “they” think you should have. As long as you exercise and keep your BMI and weight down to a responsible level you are probably ok. Next!

    • Sakar

      I eat about 6 whole eggs per day !! Was searching for a good answer but none seems satisfactory. One says you can have eggs the other says no u cant !! Confuses me more..

      • The_Beating_Edge_Team

        it is confusing and data is changing – new dietary recommendations will be coming out this year. The new findings (http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-BINDER/meeting7/docs/DGAC-Meeting-7-SC-1.pdf ) state that foods high in dietary cholesterol such as eggs may not be as harmful to you as they thought previously. If you want to be sure, until the new recommendations come out, you can eat more egg whites than egg yolks but we will see later this year when the recommendations come out what they have to say about eggs. betsyRN

        • killerasteroid

          What this tells you is that the “experts” don’t know squat and keep changing the answer they give you. Eat what you want. That’s what I do. I also exercise and keep my weight down.

        • killerasteroid

          Eating cholesterol does not increase your cholesterol.

      • Clay

        Me too. Six pastured eggs from a local farmer per day. I’ve been eating at least four eggs per day my entire life (48 years old now).

        Here’s my latest blood work:
        Total Colesterol: 181, TG 54, LDL 77. HDL 94

        My statistical chance of heart disease is zero.

        This is just me of course but it does absolutely prove the dietary cholesterol hypothesis is wrong. Your body needs about 3-4 grams of cholesterol per day. It’s an essential nutrient. What you don’t get from food, your body synthesizes. So people who avoid all cholesterol are forcing their bodies to produce more of it. One way or another you body will get the cholesterol it needs to function.

    • TheCountessOfRochester

      I despise chicken eggs but adore duck eggs. I eat 3- 5 a week usually poached. No salt just pepper. My dog has half a duck egg every day.

  • http://twitter.com/GeneralHealthy General Healthy

    “One teaspoon of salt is all you need per day.”….????????? We need the extra teaspoon?????

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      Our dietitian Julia states: You definitely do not need a teaspoon of salt a day.
      1 tsp salt = 2300 mg sodium. All you NEED is 1500 mg of sodium per day – which is very easily attained through your diet without adding ANY salt. betsyRN

      • Hey You

        Evidently, Julia never worked in a foundry, next to a blast furnance.

  • http://twitter.com/GeneralHealthy General Healthy

    How healthy is a food that you need to limit to people with heart disease? You don’t ask them to limit their romaine lettuce, black beans, sweet potatoes, or broccoli?

    • The_Beating_Edge_Team

      There are no limits to the foods that you describe. Other foods may be healthy in moderation. betsyRN

  • N.

    I eat egg(S) every single day, cooked in duck fat. We eat tons of saturated fat from grass-fed tallow. Don’t believe the “experts.” My HDL is 105.

    • Fernando Domeniconi

      I don’t think it is necessary to try to belittle the experts writing the word between ” “. It is actually quite rude. I used to have a diet rich in saturated fat and had a heart attack. Not, with proper diet and living a healthier, active life, my HDL is 70. Months ago I went on vacations and consumed more saturated fat than I planned and it jumped to 85, so yes, I believe the experts (without ” “).

      • Janice M Giaco

        wait, your HDL went UP?, THats GREAT!! That is the goal, HDL high. VLDL low…..

        • Fernando Domeniconi

          It was a typo, I meant LDL… my HDL is actually low (~40) and it’s been quite hard to increase it.

          • Janice M Giaco

            Have your doctor also check your triglycerides. Sugar in the diet raises them. Did you eat a lot of sugar when you went on vacation? Go lower carb especially added sugar, keep it to 9 tsp or less per day for men, 6 tsp added sugar per day for women, (that is 4 Gm per tsp.) Read labels and don’t drink anything sweet..( I read the label on a cup of “low fat yogurt the other day, 24 Gm of sugar thats 6 teaspoons!!!!)……..good health to you…

          • Fernando Domeniconi

            Thank you! :)
            My triglycerides were ok the last time I checked, I’m about to do it again

      • Jdarn

        High HDL is good.

        • Fernando Domeniconi

          Please see the discussion, I already corrected that, it was a mistake while typing…

          • Jdarn

            Yes, I noticed that after I submitted my comment.

    • Barbara Bump Solomon

      My husband thought the same thing. Then at 46 he had 5 arteries replaced during bypass surgery. Also he had a carotid endarterectomy from mini strokes 6 months before. If you are at high risk for heart disease then you have to pay attention to your diet at a very young age.

    • susan

      Sorry to say that N. just died three day ago.

  • GeorgeBMac

    Yes, the thing about eggs and [dietary] cholesterol is old news…

    But it seems that there is a new guy in town. Specifically:

    The link between egg yolks and TMAO and heart disease was revealed by Dr Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic — and his findings were just published a couple months ago. You may want to speak to him before making more recommendations about egg yolks based (strictly on) their impact on cholesterol.

    I stopped eating eggs after reading his study.

    • killerasteroid

      Read the entire article and you will start eating eggs again. The article says “the researchers’ own data show that there’s no way that the “choline challenge” could have contributed to this increase in total TMAO. ”

      • GeorgeBMac

        What?
        I DID read the article – and she did not say that.

        I have also read the original research and spoken with its lead, Dr Hazen – and they did not say that. Actually he ran two versions of the study, one with eggs and one with red meat – and both promoted the creation of TMAO through microbiome.

        • Jdarn

          Sorry, but I’ve googled and can’t find the article. Can you provide me a link or tell me where to look? Thank you.

          • GeorgeBMac

            Sorry, the research was done a couple years ago. I did not save it. But, as I remember, I read it in a subscription only medical journal anyway. But I think Cleveland Clinic may have also published information on the studies

            But it was never published for the general mass media – because Dr Hazen insisted it was not a dietary study – but one designed to prompt additional research into the gut flora

          • Jdarn

            I just read the one on red meat and cardiovascular disease. Thanks for mentioning him. I’m a vegan but just started eating eggs again, so I was concerned about the yolks.

          • Jdarn

            OK. Just found the article on Dr. Hazen’s research on eggs. No more eggs for me. Thank you.

          • GeorgeBMac

            Part of Dr Hazen’s original study included measuring the effects of TMAO on cardiovascular disease. He concluded that its effect was about the same as cholesterol. I forget the details – but it was definitely a major effect. And he did say that TMAO was generated by certain bacteria in the gut after consuming red meat or eggs.

            I too was eating eggs. No more for me.

          • The_Beating_Edge_Team

            Dr. Hazen is hosting a web chat next Friday at noon EST if you are interested. chat.clevelandclinic.org

  • bullshts

    Wow..the egg industry is well represented in some of these obscene ‘stuff myself with eggs comments’! Really, REALLY pathetic. Try oatmeal and fruit for breakfast!!

    • Zach Johnson

      so do you work in the oatmeal and fruit industry? because your suggestion for breakfast isnt much better

      • bullshts

        You are a really an imbecile.

  • nan

    Is Vap test or test to determine size of ldl particles worth having if you have high ldl? If insurance company won’t pay, what is approx. cost?

    • Amy Smith

      You should call several laboratories in your area & ask their price for the tests you’re interested in. I work in a lab that is typically 2/3 cheaper on every single test than all the labs in our area!! Ex: Vitamin D level is $67 compared to $211 from the big hospital lab in our area. Shop around!

  • Avis Dillon

    The egg is actually one of the perfect foods. The yolk does contain cholestrol…which is offset by the lecithin in the white. Years ago they said NO EGGS and then a few years late they changed their mind and said it was OK to eat them. The medical community changes their mind every few years on darn near everything. Use your common sense.

  • susan

    What a ph’cking stupid article. It asks: ”
    How Many Eggs Can You Eat to Stay Heart-Healthy?”. And their answer is: “DUH! WE DON”T KNOW!!!!!”

    Next article will be: “How many cookies can you eat to stay heart-healthy?” Answer: “DUH!!! WE STILL DO NOT KNOW!!!!”

  • Ray Verret

    Eggs are awesome.

  • Hey You

    Being 88 years of age with very normal blood pressure, I enjoy eating eggs, butter and cream as often as I want. In fact, if a steak has fat all around, it tastes particularly good However, that said, there are different responses for different people.

    If your tastes haven’t been perverted, follow you inclinations. Chances are that you’ll survive nicely.

    • Jdarn

      You are lucky. You have good genes!

      • Hey You

        You might say genes. However, it is more due to the environment in which a person’s forebears lived. My heritage is from the cold Scotch uplands where a person needed high energy (high fat) foods. One size does not fit all!

  • kathy j

    The low sodium recommendations are also being called into question with newer studies. Recommendations seem a “half step” behind.

  • Kristin anne

    Intereting. I actually like my sunnyside up or scrambled eggs cooked in a little butter, but not a lot but I fo love poached eggs. I eat an egg or two usually every other day snd sometimes for dinner, but I do understand the cholesteral concern with too many eggs. They used to day four to five egg a week, but my mom alwaysvtold me as a teen, if I we were having a quick dinner to make myself eggs and tgst it ws fine even if i hsd enough eggs that week since I wasnt a big mest eater and eggs are realy a meat substitute when you have them for dinner without meat. I saw one person said they eat eggs cooked in duvk fat, ive heard duck fat is actually healthy fat.

  • Grant Parisi

    I too eat a four egg omelet every day and have been going on for more than 2 years, all my numbers are in check and my integrative doctor says keep up the good diet. Can’t argue with success.

  • Dan

    Do not cook egg’s toss several in blender with bananas or what ever you like add ice drink, ! its non-oxidized cholesterol and it is good for you !!! upi cook it – throw away

  • Ken

    And this kind of advice will ensure heart disease remains our number one killer in the U.S. and will continue to bring dollars and revenue to the clinic to treat this disease… This is called pathetic advice….

  • Jenni Thompson

    When are people going to understand that sugar is the problem worldwide? Eggs are a perfect package of nutrition. Stop eating/drinking sugar and watch health issues dramatically change for the better

    • Jdarn

      Sugar and saturated fat.

      • Hey You

        Sugar – bad; saturated fat – good!