Doctor's Note

I guess only zombies are at higher risk than egg-eaters :)

Please check out the corresponding blog posts: Bad Egg and Egg Industry blind spot about the industry's misleading claims concerning eye health. Also, be sure to check out the following associated blog post for more context: The Most Anti-Inflammatory Mushroom and Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

For more context, read the associated blog post: Eggs, Cigarettes, and Atherosclerosis

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    I guess only zombies are at higher risk than egg-eaters :)

    Please check out the corresponding blog post Bad Egg, and Egg Industry blind spot about the industry’s misleading claims concerning eye health.

  • Eric Needs

    So what would you suggest as an ideal omega 3,6,9?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I try to think in terms of whole food sources rather than nutrients (have you read The China Study? It has a whole chapter trying to make that point). I’d be happy to talk with you about ratios and percentages, but in terms of practical advice I’d encourage people to minimize their intake of the omega-6 rich oils (such as safflower, sunflower, and cottonseed, and all of the processed garbage manufacturers make with them), and try to eat healthy omega-3 rich whole foods such as walnuts and flax seeds every day. And especially for men as well as women who are expecting, breastfeeding, or even thinking about getting pregnant I would encourage consideration of taking an algae- or yeast-derived long-chain omega-3 supplement. Thanks for writing in, Eric. Keep the questions coming!

      • KentAZ

        The China Study? Yikes. That’s thoroughly debunked junk science.

        Eating fat does not lead to obesity or coronary disease, as the evidence indicates. And there is little correlation between total cholesterol level and risk for heart disease, contrary to the prevailing propaganda.

        • Cyndi Phillips

          You are on the mark KentAZ. We ate eggs, dairy for centuries with no effect on our health. It was only when our diet switched over to vegetable oils, sweet cereals and margarine that heart attacks became an epidemic. There has been scientific evidence that cholesterol doesn’t cause health problems since 1936 and we now know it’s necessary for brain function among other very important things. It’s also known that cholesterol from diet has little effect on our cholesterol numbers anyway so why all the fuss about what we are eating? It’s appearing that heart attacks are actually caused by inflammation which would come from carbohydrates like grains. Our own doctors are killing us by not keeping up with the evidence and keeping us on unhealthy diets as well as feeding us statins like candy. Statins have horrible side effects like severe leg pains and loss of memory and should be taken off the market.

        • yidaki_mark

          Who has debunked it? Weston Price? Chris Masterjohn, who has no nutritional education or background? Try again.

  • Heidi Woodruff

    Is ground flax seed better than flax seed oil?

  • Nouh Alaoui

    Ground flax seed is a whole food, so it’s much better than just the oil.
    The great things about whole ground flax seeds is the lignans content.
    I have two (big) table spoons a day and I feel great :)

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Well said, Nouh!

  • Rand.Kline

    I remember learning in my biochemistry class that most of the cholesterol in our blood is synthesized by our liver from dietary fats. I believe 80% of our total cholesterol comes from this source. My understanding was that even if we eliminated 100% of our dietary cholesterol that we could only lower that 20%. What I took away from this you would get more bang for your buck if you changed the types of fats you eat. Thoughts?

  • vetstud

    “The only people who should eat eggs regularly are those with a terminal illness.”

    Yeah, and the only people who should eat *brains* are those who want to GET a terminal illness. Creutzfeld Jacob Disease. Seriously, prions scare the bejeezus out of me.

  • drrggibbs

    Despite the official guidelines, there is no scientific evidence that dietary cholesterol is a health risk for anyone.
    The fact that brains are full of cholesterol just underlines how important cholesterol is.
    The human body regulates its cholesterol production based upon its needs; the more you eat the less you make.

    • d1stewart

      This is nonsense. There is boatloads of scientific evidence that dietary cholesterol is a health risk for not just anyone, but everyone.

      The fact that brains are full of cholesterol doesn’t “underline how important cholesterol is.” You’re equivocating, fallaciously. Cholesterol is important for certain functions. The intake of dietary cholesterol is not just not important, but unnecessary and harmful. The human body synthesizes the cholesterol it needs. The more you eat, the less you make is true–the problem is that you eat (if you eat meat and eggs and dairy) FAR more than you need, and far more than what your body would produce to fulfill its needs.

      While cholesterol is important, DIETARY cholesterol is only important with reference to the fact that humans should not get any of it–its dietary importance is in the negative. Equivocal phrases like “underlines how important cholesterol is” is a dishonest equivocation.

  • Randy Fisher

    I’ve been told that the white part of the egg has the high protein, and the center is where the cholesterol is (yellow part). First, is this true; and 2nd – what if you make hard-boiled eggs – eat the outside and throw away the yolk – is this OK?

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also be sure to check out my associated blog post Bad Egg!

  • Confused

    Everyone talks about the risks of too much cholesterol. Is there such a thing as too little cholesterol? Any health issues associated with that?
    I am vegan, and I’ve been vegan for almost 4 years, so please don’t take this question as an attack. I have been progressively less healthy over this period of time, so I am trying to find the right balance.
    As pointed out that brains are a high source of cholesterol in the diet, I imagine our own brains need cholesterol as well. Am I wrong?

    • Toxins

       Please see this video on can our cholesterol levels be too low

      Actually, we have no dietary need for cholesterol as our body makes all that it requires. Why are you less healthy? Do you supplement vitamin d and vitamin b12? What does your diet consist of?

      • Confused

         Toxins, thanks for your reply. This can be a long answer to what I eat. After I read the China Study I went vegan cold turkey. Throw away every junk in the cabinet and been buying organic produce ever since. My diet started with grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Then I started developing an intolerance to gluten, then it became all grains, and sugar too, even honey, or the overly sweet fruits (dried is specially bad). I got psoriasis and when I eat these foods it gets worse. I also get very bloated. I look like I am 3 months pregnant. I’ve always supplemented with B12, DHA and have been taking vit D for the last year. I also added Zinc a month ago. I am unable to concentrate or think straight. I have overall dryness (lips, eyes, skin, hair). My hair is constantly falling (a lot). I am loosing muscle mass, etc etc etc My naturopath told me to add eggs to my diet “at least”, so after a couple of months struggling with the idea I started eating eggs…. I’ve already done several tests. It is not thyroid, not bacteria as my flora is very good (I do significant amount fermented foods), my blood work is perfect… though my liver is slightly off, my doctor (functional) does not seem concerned. It bothers me that when I think of it I was healthier when I was eating junk all day and now that I am going everything right, things just seem to get worse. I really don’t like the idea of eating animals, but I have to ask myself what is it that I am doing wrong.

        • Toxins

           This would be something to email Dr. Greger directly about

        • Ifeelyourpain

          I had the same symptoms and decline in health over the course of years. My health improved after I added eggs and a little fish back into my diet.

        • Cyndi Phillips

          First of all the China study has serious flaws and unfortunately caused people like you to dump healthy foods in favor of an unhealthy diet. Your body needs animal fats as you have found out with your dry skin. Oh, and doctors tend to do only a TSH test for thyroid function and it’s the worst test out there. I test in the normal range yet I do have thyroid problems. Soy can be the culprit and I avoid it as much as I can. It’s in everything unfortunately. Please check into a book called “Stop the Thyroid Madness” and it’s website and Yahoo group. It helped me so much and showed me how little doctors know. Flawed studies and misinformed doctors will kill you faster than eating eggs.

  • Manazirm

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  • Johan Abom

    Interesting facts as always, but what about egg “white”. People like me, who regularly lifts weights at the gym, is always searching for good resources of easily cooked protein. Egg white does not according to the Swedish equivalent of the FDA (Livsmedelsverket) contain any cholesterol. Are there any health studies made on egg, when only the “egg white” is digested? What is your opinion on this matter doctor?

    • Johan Abom

      …never mind, I saw the answer from “Toxins” further down after I posted.

  • WholeFoodChomper

    Does anyone remember which NF video mentions that the risk of a heart attack increases within moments of eating a high fat meal (eg, a burger)? I remember seeing it somewhere and am having a heck of a time locating it. Can anyone point me in the right direction, please?

    • Cyndi Phillips

      If it increases it’s because of the bun, not the burger. Grains cause heart attacks, not meat or meat fat.

      • WholeFoodChomper

        Thanks for your input, @cyndiphillips:disqus . Empirical research bears out that burgers are not a health food and the cholesterol is a very real issue and problem when it comes to heart disease. Keep watching and reading this site to learn more about what current empirical peer-reviewed science has to say on the topic.

        I’m still hoping someone can help me find the NF video that mentions that the risk of a heart attack increases within moments of eating a high fat meal (eg, a burger). Anyone out there remember the video that I am referring to?

        • Cyndi Phillips

          Empirical evidence does not show that cholesterol in any way causes heart attacks. That’s my point. It’s never been proven and with good reason. There are many societies where the populace consumes high levels of
          animal food and saturated fat but remains free of heart disease.
          Dr. George Mann, who studied the Masai cattle herding peoples
          in Africa, found no heart disease, even though their diet
          consisted of meat, blood and rich milk. Our rate of heart attacks started really going up during the 1950′s, when people started using corn oil, margarine, hydrogenated oils and greatly increased their intake of grains and other carbohydrates. The truth is that in spite of all the propaganda you have heard, the
          lipid hypothesis has never been proved. In fact, inadequate
          protein intake leads to loss of myocardial muscle and may,
          therefore, contribute to coronary heart disease. The only claim that can be made against beef as a cause of heart disease is that some studies have shown beef consumption to temporarily raise cholesterol
          levels in short term feeding experiments. Other studies have
          shown that beef consumption, including beef fat consumption, lowers
          cholesterol levels. But even if all studies show that beef consumption raises cholesterol levels, the only conclusion you can draw is—so what? There is no greater risk of heart disease at cholesterol levels of 300 than at 180, and people with cholesterol
          levels below 180 are at greater risk of death from other
          causes, such as cancer, intestinal diseases, accidents,
          violence and suicide.5 In other words, it’s much more dangerous to have cholesterol levels that are too low than cholesterol levels that are too high.

          • WholeFoodChomper

            “Propaganda”? Oh, no my dear friend (@cyndiphillips:disqus), just the facts, the peer-reviewed, empirical, and reproducible scientific facts. Coming from a culture that was fueled on social/cultural propaganda. being educated with a keen sense of critical thinking skills, and possessing a strong understanding of the scientific method, I know propaganda when I see it. And, in this case, I’m afraid you seem to have succumb to the old pot calling the kettle black phenomenon.

            The balance of evidence on the benefits of a plant-based diet are abundantly clear. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of it, as this site does a fantastic job of it as do the many educated and eloquent contributors to the commentary section (e.g. @DrDons:disqus and @Toxins:disqus).

            Really, please just open your mind and keep watching and reading this site.

          • Cyndi Phillips

            LOL What drugs are you on?

          • Thea

            Cyndi Phillips: Contrary opinions are fine as long at they are expressed respectfully. Personal attacks are not allowed. I am deleting your comment.

      • Susan

        If you logic was true, I would have had a heart attack years ago. But, I never have. My father did not eat many grains, but ate lots of beef, eggs, and cholesterol rich organ meats. He had all sorts of health problems strictly related to his diet. He died, however, from a brain tumor the size of an ostrich egg, which we think may have been linked to environmental exposure near the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

        • Cyndi Phillips

          It’s not an opinion, it’s fact based on studies. His problems were not related to cholesterol rich foods because it’s been proven that eating foods high in cholesterol doesn’t affect cholesterol levels. That means all those people who avoided eggs for years did it for nothing. Also, cholesterol is healthy and is no different than blaming a bandaid for your cut. Cholesterol is high in the longest living populations on the planet. Just because you didn’t experience a heart attack proves nothing. Most people that smoke don’t get cancer either.

          • JacquieRN

            Hi Cyndi, if you have an Apple product and are interested in hearing what Noble prize Michael Brown had to say bout cholesterol you can find it here: iTunes U > Academy of Achievement > Nobel Prize Scientists > Michael Brown.

            Also, what studies can you post that show that the longest living populations had/have high cholesterol?

  • tom schreurs

    about cholesterol(CHl): …cholesterol infiltrating the lining of the coronary arteries crowning our heart.
    is that not the function of CHl to infiltrate the lining of the coronary if the bloodvessel is damaged.
    its just doing its job. its an action,so if no damage is happening,nothing happens if you would have higer cholesterol.
    is that correct viewpoint.

  • Josee

    Dr G. I’m trying to loose weight and I’m struggling to get my 60g of protein per day. I have been having eggs on top of my veg diet but would like to stop or at least cut down. I aim at a 1200-1350 cal a day diet. Any suggestions? Am I having too few calories?

    • Don Forrester MD

      Don’t worry about protein intake… you will get all the essential amino acids you need if you consume adequate calories. In general the calories you report are not adequate. Calorie restricted diets and high protein diets don’t work over time and cause health issues. The only diet that works is the proper “Ad Libitum” diet… aka eat when you are hungry. I would stop the eggs… the “quality” of protein in broccoli and asparagus are the same as eggs. I would recommend reading Dr. John McDougall’s articles in his April 2007 and December 2003 issues.. free on his website. They are the best articles I have seen relating to protein. You can view his lecture, The Starch Solution, free on his website or purchase his book by the same title. I also recommend Jeff Novick’s DVD.. Calorie Density: How to Eat More, Weigh Less and Live Longer. Doug Lisle’s video, How to Lose Weight without Losing your Mind which can be viewed on YouTube or a somewhat more polished version through the McDougall website. The reason to stop the eggs are many….see the 63 video’s that Dr. Greger has done. If you eat correctly you can look forward to losing between 1/2 to 2 pounds per week depending on your exercise and more importantly your diet. As Jeff Novick points out if you lower your Calorie Density low enough you can lose weight on a couch with a remote… that said exercise or more accurately fitness is very valuable to work into your daily routine. Good luck.

      • Cyndi Phillips

        I eat a lot of calories, full fat raw milk and tons of eggs and I’ve lost 25 pounds in about a month or so. I have my own chickens and they eat a soy free, GMO free diet that people line up around the block for my eggs. What causes health issues is people thinking they are meant to eat vegetarian.

    • Susan

      Josee, I lost 65 pounds when I stopped eating animal protein and started eating only plant protein. Where I’ve had problems going further, is that I love nuts and seeds, and eat more than a single serving.

  • rick

    I would like to here someone comment on the attached video.

    • WholeFoodChomper

      I am very very wary of any advice Dr. Mercola has to offer; he does not seem like a very credible source of health advice or information (read his Wikipedia page), at least not to me. I stick to learning about plant-based nutrition from instead.

      As I have said elsewhere on this site:

      Sure, Dr. Mercola is an educated man and a smart businessman, to be sure. However, regardless of the degrees he has obtained and the positions he has held, I believe that he is not a credible source of information, and I am (and will continue to be) wary of any health/medical advice he has to offer unless it is backed by credible, i.e., reproducible and peer-reviewed empirical research (and not by dubious and cherry picked research that suit his monetary interests). Credibility here is in the scientific evidence and not in the man. (Although, it helps when the man can be credible, too.)

    • Susan

      Dr Mercola selects studies that promote his life style and his supplement his income of selling vitamins. As a case in point, he had a paper recently that said it was difficult to get magnesium from food, and that you cannot get too much magnesium.

      Magnesium is very easy to obtain from a plant based diet, and is in both my collard greens and cannellini beans which I eat often. It’s also in cashews, which I love and tend to eat too many, and in pumpkin seeds, which I also tend to overdose on.

      Eating too much magnesium is the same as eating salmonella tainted eggs. You repeatedly spend lots of time in the bathroom.

  • judy

    There is some conversation here about Masai people eating lots of animal products and having low rates of heart disease. Let’s not forget that their life expectancy is less than 60 years.

  • blope

    “Did not go over-easy with the egg industry.” This type of hilarity is an added bonus to the plethora of information on this site. Thanks Dr. G!

  • A-K Dan

    Then we should get Obama to EAT the BAD stuff !!!

    • JacquieRN

      Hi A-K Dan, your comment does not appear to be relevant to this study or the site. We welcome
      vigorous debate of the science not personal attacks.So please, for everyone’s benefit, help us foster a community of
      mutual respect or your comments will need to be deleted.Thank you, Jacquie

  • Susan

    I would imagine that both Obamas eat more healthy than animal protein.