Doctor's Note

More Freedom of Information Act insights into the egg industry can be found in:

Flax seeds may help control blood sugars (Flaxseeds for Diabetes) as well as Indian gooseberries (Amla Versus Diabetes), but our best bet may be a diet composed entirely of plants (How to Prevent Diabetes and How to Treat Diabetes).

I’ll be covering gestational diabetes (high sugars during pregnancy) in an upcoming video—stay tuned!

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  • Bruno

    Just wondering how many eggs do vegetarians consume indirectly weekly eating pasta, bread and cakes, as most them are made with eggs?

    • I’ve had a meat eating friend ask this before and I was a really surprised because I’ve never had trouble finding pasta or bread without eggs. The idea that eggs were common in them puzzled me because it didn’t match my experience at all.

      Cakes, of course, are another matter. You do have to go out of your way to find a cake without eggs. I definitely don’t eat as many cakes as I did back when I ate eggs. That’s probably a good thing, though.

    • DH

      Most nutrition labels list things like this …. I don’t see any eggs on the whole grain pasta I eat …. but I also don’t eat bread or cakes, and those products may not be well-labelled when they are prepared fresh by grocery store chains.

    • Joni Cederlind Letlow

      I do not eat pasta that has eggs I also do not eat any baked foods that contain eggs or dairy.

    • Joni Cederlind Letlow

      there are plenty of recipes online to make breads and desserts without eggs

    • Peter

      Never had a problem with bread and pasta. Cakes are not really my thing.

      I did stumble across a loaf of bread on one occasion that had egg listed in the ingredients. It was so shocking that it stuck in my memory. It was a gluten free loaf, which may have had something to do with it.

    • ro

      Pasta does not have egg, you have to ask because some home made pastas and gnocchi have egg in them…eggs can be substituted really easily in cakes and cookies…some “vegetarians” eat eggs….

  • Joni Cederlind Letlow

    I know, eggs are for the purpose of bringing a new chicken or rooster into the world. Why do humans think eggs are here for us to eat? Crazy!

    • TaxpayerX

      Isn’t the purpose of plant seeds to bring new plants into the world? I don’t eat meat, but your logic is not convincing.

      • DH

        Yet plants are not sentient beings, with the capacity to suffer, experience pain, and try to avoid pain. They do not possess a central or peripheral nervous system. There is a reason that doctors use the term “vegetative state” to describe someone with no consciousness, sapience or sentience. Thus I do not think the analogy to plant seeds begetting plants makes any sense at all. The suffering of crated chickens in the egg laying industry is enough to revolt most people who have awareness of the conditions under which those eggs are produced for human consumption. Ethically it seems open-and-shut, if one first looks into it at length.

        • Coacervate

          The case for plant-based eating for health reasons is strong. If people don’t care enough to guard their own health, they are not likely to buy into your ethics regarding “sentient beings”. In fact for a long time I was suspicious of this whole story because Dr G, Essy and so many others are deeply into animal ethics. This site is about, errm …digesting the science so we don’t have to. You may lose more converts than gain with your argument. Dig me?

          • DH

            Holistic nutrition is about combining health *and* ethics. I’d recommend the book “Eating Animals” to anyone with interest in either. I cannot carve off my approach to health from my personal responsibility to not cause great harm and suffering through something so basic as eating. And if you respond – as so many others have – that this means I should give up driving my car or living without central heating, then my response is that I am not attempting to seek perfection, because that is a false, unachievable ideal. A little harm reduction, perhaps, but not perfection. Eating plants instead of animals is a relatively painless way to cause less pain in this world, though certainly not the only way. Giving up my vehicle would be another way, and many have. But to separate health and ethics — I just don’t buy it. Also, I had no idea Dr Esselstyn was deeply into animal ethics. Frankly I’m surprised, since he’s an endocrine surgeon, and so many achievements in his field have been hard won on the backs of experimental animal subjects.

          • oderb

            Setting aside whether plants are sentient (I believe they are) why do we not look at the millions of small mammals and other animals that are killed in highly unnatural ways each day by plowing, planting and other activities related to the growing of crops. I believe that eating animals does not increase animal suffering – and may in fact decrease it – compared to eating plants. There may be other health and ecological reasons for preferring plants to animals but reducing suffering is not one of them.

          • DH

            Do you have any empirical evidence that plowing/planting/harvesting results in the death of millions of small mammals and other animals? I have heard that frequently from carnivores, but I have never heard a statistic to back it up. How many animals would have to die to serve me plant food for a year versus animal food? And multiply that by how many people there are in the world, and all our pets, obviously.
            Even granting your statistic, life feeds on life, and without death and killing, there would be no life (we can’t just eat minerals). However, there is a real moral difference between the inadvertent and relatively quick demise of animals in the course of planting and plowing or harvesting a field versus subjecting deliberately genetically distorted factory farm animals to weeks or months of horrendous suffering. It is not necessarily the death of animals that I object to, as regrettable as that is; rather, it’s the current factory farm system which delivers ridiculously low cost animal protein to consumers, virtually paid for on the backs of the suffering that caged, confined, victimized, often deliberately maimed, and genetically overgrown animals must endure. That is why a book like “Reading Animals”, written by an initial skeptical vegetarian, is so eye-opening. I had no idea what conditions existed on a modern factory farm, having never been to one, or at a slaughterhouse.
            And how are plants sentient? Isn’t consciousness of pain and suffering considered evidence of suffering? The fact that plants can flower in the daylight and move towards the light – due to chemical reactions in the absence of a functioning nervous system – does that constitute sentience in your view? Or am I being overly “speciesist”? Really I am open to debate on these important points, and do not wish to prejudge.

          • SeedyCharacter

            It seems you are neglecting to factor in the vast amount of corn/soy/alfalfa crops that are grown to feed “livestock”. So, in all of these fields, small animals are apparently killed. Many wild animals are displaced/killed in the US and in many other countries when wild lands are clear-cut for growing livestock feed and for foraging livestock. The amount of land that is needed to feed a vegan is lots less than to grow the crops to feed a meat eater and dairy consumer. I don’t have the statistics at hand but I’m guessing another site visitor does.

          • Richard Breault

            The energy, water and waste produced in producing beef far exceeds that of whole plant-based production. If you would visit a corporate “farm” where chickens are grown or check out whether fish feel pain you would not be indicating that produce farming results in more harm to live creatures.

          • Trinity63

            You do know that more crops are grown to feed livestock than humans, right? it takes growing one pound of corn to get a pound of corn onto your dinner plate. How many pounds of corn did it take to get that pound of steak onto your plate? So if you really do care about the field mice and moles etc, go vegan, otherwise this argument rings hollow.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Oh, totally. I get it. I’m on my way there. What I perceive as benefits to a WFPB diet are pretty much in line with what others are stating on the subject. Pamelabanana Jean’s misperception of what I wrote notwithstanding…..

        • FaintCryofFreedom

          Hmmm, you ASSUME that plants are not sentient beings. You ASSUME they have no capacity to suffer, experience pain, etc. Perhaps our understanding is stunted.

          • DH

            So plants are sentient? We better not eat them then!

          • Biologically the main difference is the lack of a central nervous system. What one considers “sentient” depends on your definition. I believe the term has Buddhist roots. It can relate to “awareness” or “feelings”. Clearly plants have environmental responses. Since we need to eat something I would argue to minimize the “harm” we cause in the world. Of course our species doesn’t have a good track record in that regard unless you look at certain groups. Given today’s science… always subject to change… it appears that eating a whole food plant based diet is the healthiest and causes the least amount of harm. It is also consistent with our design as hind gut fermenting herbivores. You might be interested in the post re: Paleo diet from a conference in Frankfurt Germany on the “paleo” diet.. see

          • Marie

            I have started on a plant base, whole food nutrition and I have been amazed with all the changes that are happening to me. On my sixth month now and blood pressure down, energy, sleeping good, I pay attention to labels now, weight loss, no more headaches and the product that I take is Juice Plus.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Thank you for “getting it”.

          • Trinity63

            Or feed them to the cows, pigs and chickens!!!

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            We eat animals. Animals eat animals. I understand where animal lovers are coming from, but the fact is, we animals eat other animals. I suppose in a sense, it makes us cannibals, but I am pointing not to sentient beings so much as the health benefits of limiting animal flesh in our diets while maximizing plants, grains, fruits, etc.
            As for slaughterhouses & other crowded animal farms where the animals are kept in such abysmal conditions, dosed with hormones & vaccinations because of those terrible conditions -just remember, you are what you eat. That includes what goes into your body when you consume any animal flesh or plants which were doused with pesticides, herbicides, and other things which will ultimately kill us all -if given the chance.

          • Richard Breault

            Your understanding is certainly stunted. Try using some common sense and gather what we know rather than assume about chickens, cows and fish vs a wheat plant…

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            Like I said, you assume.

          • Pamelabanana Jean

            You watch an hour of a slaughterhouse video, and I’ll watch 30 minutes of a strawberry harvest. Maybe your understanding is stunted.

          • FaintCryofFreedom

            You assume my comment is at odds with what I perceive your feelings to be on this subject. Your comprehension of what I said is stunted.

        • dufenschmertz

          Trees in group’s move closer to one another. Maybe they know more than we think.

          • S.Burlit

            Lol. Maybe because they grow and get fatter??

        • Dan

          Eggs aren’t sentient beings….and the suffering of a hen in a cage says a lot about the owner of that hen, not about the production of eggs. I don’t however, eat eggs.

        • dasgadsfhbfdae3

          We need to produce foods for ourselves, not mass produce for others. Health problems solved in the simplest words possible.

        • Flash

          How do you know there is no sentience within plant life? Just because a human finds difficulty in communication with flora, yours is a sweeping statement .

        • Zoly

          Plants do feel pain

      • Yonder

        No; the purpose of a plant is to bring more seeds into the world–If you eat only seeds, fruits, grains, nuts, milk and eggs you do not kill anything. Vegetable eaters are killers as much as animal eaters.

        • jamie herd

          this has to be the ‘jackpot statement’ of all dietary forum entries. I would wager that future arguments would be better centred around appropriate usage of these resources in a sustainable fashion. Rice doesn’t feel pain, but if it does then I suggest it appropriate that this abundant life giving food like so many others in this genre,resolves this as part of the ‘life moving forward’ process. I may be required to have a ‘sit down chat’ with rice should I make it to the afterlife.

          what’s left-live long and prosper is the argument.

          keep an eye on production, as with the pious prius, all that mining and heavy industry does not make green transport. car share is better, spreading resources is better. Regarding food production no-one ever said it was going to be easy but I have my suspicions of a system that makes it difficult at best to even attempt to do even the small things for benefit. You know, like no aspartame for kids or lower sugar in cereals. I’m citing mass production yet at the same time mass consumption too. Most people eat the most eaten things.

    • Joni Cederlind Letlow

      I find it rather peculiar that humans eat what is basically the menstrual cycle from a hen.

      • Mmbb

        That’s disgusting and not true.

        • Todd

          That’s absolutely true. Eggs are the menstrual cycle from hens….

          • jamie herd

            it gets worse, some humans eat the umbilicus post natal. This all happens after a human egg is

    • MmBb

      Not all eggs are fertilized, therefore no chick is involved.

      • Joni Cederlind Letlow

        true, but it is still the female donation needed to make a baby chick. I do not think that humans were ever intended to eat an egg. If you think outside of the mind conditioning that says it is Ok you might just realize how strange it is.

      • Thea

        MmBb: This line of discussion is off topic for NutritionFacts. So, so far, I have bit my tongue to stay out of it. But I just couldn’t resist a reply to your comment.

        re: “…therefore no chick is involved.”

        This is true only in a limited sense. Here’s how I explain the ethical side of eating eggs to people who think it is possible to eat certain eggs ethically:

        What is the very best you could do ethically and still eat eggs? The hens would belong to a healthy variety. The hens would have all of their physical (including not just exercise, but medical), emotional and mental needs met. The hens would be allowed to live their entire lives even when their egg laying days are over. That’s a pretty sweet-sounding setup and so extremely rare as to be *almost* non-existent.

        So, where’s the problem in the best case above scenario? For each of those “girls” who lay the eggs, a beautiful boy baby was also born. The babies were sexed and the vast majority of the boys were destroyed – often enough in a horrific manner.

        I’ve seen a video of a common enough sexing process where the boys are thrown live into a giant trash can. I don’t know if the ones hitting the bottom break any bones or not. But they are certainly screaming and suffering. Then more and more babies are thrown on top. I presume the ones on the bottom are slowly suffocated by the bodies of their peers on top. When the screaming, flapping, terrified babies reach the top of the trashcan, the human gently closes the top so that the chicks who are still alive slowly suffocate.

        Imagine doing this to human babies or puppies. It would not be acceptable to most humans. We had boy roosters in our neighborhood for a while. Someone released them into the “wild”. I LOVED them. They were colorful, fun, and a joy to watch. But roosters are illegal in the city limits and a neighbor caught and then got rid of them.

        So, consider again: “…therefore no chick is involved.” There is a range of “ethical badness”? / moral problems when it comes to eating eggs. The range is huge–from super evil to … I don’t know how to call it: ?just bad? But you really can’t eat eggs in any practical sense completely free of moral problems. There is always those boy baby chicks (born at the same time the girls are born) to consider, a majority of whom are killed one way or another.

        Something to think about.

    • Yonder

      A rooster is a chicken, so is a hen, and they both come from eggs. A chicken is simply the egg’s way of reproducing itself. Eggs are food for many animals besides humans.
      Which came first? The rooster came first.

    • cm

      same reason raccoons, snakes, birds or other animals think eggs are there for them to eat… animals eat things.

      • Jackie Thomas

        and humans are not animals?

    • MoSeeb

      It’s a period egg. Not a fertilized egg.

  • Ann

    I eat eggs from my pet chickens once every 2 months

  • I’m wondering why my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all ate eggs daily and not a one of them ever came down with diabetes! Really? Is it the eggs doing it NOW?

    • Adam

      The rest of their diet matters as well. They may also be lucky, as some people that eat poorly still manage to live long lives.

      • DH

        I agree. They may be the rare genetically gifted individuals with phenomenal lifelong insulin sensitivity. Or perhaps other factors come into play like physical activity or other protective factors (good psychosocial health and functioning).

    • PJ

      The food that our parents and grandparents ate when they were growing up is not the same that we are eating today. Everything from feed, pesticides, “nutritional” additives, hormones, antiobiotics, environmental issues, farming practices, etc. is generally less natural.

      • @PJ I agree, foods were different. Their over-all diet was good. They grew their own food, and pretty much everything was made from scratch. They were active and generally happy people, but not free of stress. My father was one of 10 kids. Ergo…perhaps it’s not the eggs at all that is actually contributing to diabetes. I’m just saying that I’m thinking that there are other factors involved in that process besides just consuming an egg per day.

    • Cristina

      I eat a hard boiled egg every single morning and have perfect sugar. This has been my routine for the past 2 years. At my last physical my sugar was 77. Cholesterol was 160, triglycerides were 41. I think the egg has nothing to do with it. The rest of the diet needs to be taken into consideration. Like high fructose corn syrup. It’s in everything. THAT will cause diabetes.

      • Richard Breault

        Studies have clearly indicated that type II diabetes is not caused by sugar….however, fructose does cause other problems.

        • Cristina

          Sugar does indeed indirectly aid in the development of diabetes. That although, is not what I said. I said “high fructose corn syrup”.

    • Richard Breault

      Do you really think that chickens today are fed like they were 60 or more years ago?

  • Vincent Artale jr

    What part of the eggs is the cause, cholesterol or protein?

    • lopo

      im eating egg whites but not the yolk im wondering too if the whites are that bad

  • Merio

    Even if i think too many eggs is not a good idea, i can’t believe that a single egg a week could cause such damage… i need to study better and deeper this issue…

  • SFR53inAZ

    Now we need to know if egg whites cause Type 2 or just the Yolks?

    • The etiology of type two diabetes appears to be fat in the diet. Yolk contain alot of fat. Egg whites contain very little fat. Of course there are other reasons not to consume egg whites.

  • TaxpayerX

    I’d need for more detail to be convinced by this scary research snippet.

    • LKSkinner

      If you look under the video window you will see “Sources Cited.” Click on this and a list of citations will appear. These citations will take you to scholarly articles that will give you more information.

  • DH

    I think SFAs could be one culprit. There is an excellent editorial in JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine ( ) that talks about the mechanisms by which meat intake increases the risk of type 2 diabetes (sorry it’s behind a paywall but here is one excerpt):

    “Perhaps a better description of the characteristics of the meat consumed with the greatest effect on risk is the saturated fatty acid (SFA) content rather than the amount of oxygen-carrying proteins. … increased consumption of SFAs has a powerful short- and long-term effect on insulin action.”

    Eggs are rich in SFA, cholesterol and choline, contain virtually no carbohydrate yet increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

    • Thea

      DH: Interesting post that really adds to the discussion. Thanks.

    • Darryl

      1.6 g saturated fat per large egg isn’t a large amount considering median intake is 23 g/day.

      Could it be choline?

      • DH

        That’s interesting, because choline deficiency is supposed to promote fatty liver disease (in both humans and animals), and fatty liver disease, if we go back up the pathway, is a common consequence of type 2 diabetes.

        Phosphatidylcholine seems to be found in a lot of weight-builders supplements. I am curious if they are doing harm to themselves by taking this. Is diacyl-phosphatidylcholine the same as regular lecithin-based phosphatidylcholine?

        • Darryl

          The four diacyl-phosphatidylcholine species positively associated with diabetes risk in the EPIC-Potsdam study are produced from dietary choline (most of which in the form of phosphatidylcholine), and saturated and monounsaturated fats. Excess dietary choline perhaps increases their synthesis.

          If I understand the nomenclature used, from their fatty acid distributions egg lecithin should natively have more of the suspect diacyl-PCs than soy lecithin, though the native form may not matter:
          C32:1 C36:1 C38:3
          egg 0.6 % 14.0 % 3.0 %
          soy – 1.3 % –

          • DH

            Thank you. I am avoiding high doses of choline. My intake is about 200 mg/day. I do get 40 mg from a B100 complex, which I’ve started on because I developed angular stomatitis (cracking at the corners of my lips). Clearly, my diet is not completely balanced as, in addition to the B100 complex, I also take DHA, vitamin D3, and kelp.

          • Darryl

            Mentioned elsewhere, but I recommend checking out a typical daily diet on CRON-O-Meter. I discovered that I was mostly doing fine (with similar supplementation, nutritional yeast is my B supplement), but was consistently low on magnesium on days I don’t gorge on nuts.

          • DH

            I have done rigorous checking of my dietary composition on peacounter, but many of the foods I eat are missing from the database. Because I eat a fair amount of nuts each day (both as a snack and in smoothies), I never lack for Mg2+. Regarding magnesium supplements – a randomized trial in BMJ in or around 1993-1996 showed increased risk of cardiac death from magnesium oxide (or citrate?) supplementation in patients with coronary artery disease. Not sure if you are supplementing with magnesium or not, but thought I’d mention it. Always better to get nutrients from whole foods, and I thought I was doing well, until angular stomatitis arrived.

    • Nat

      is it ok to eat just the egg white ??

  • Louise

    Like some of the other viewers, I found that this particular piece doesn’t quite explain what it is about eggs that cause diabetes and if it’s more the yolk or the whites or both, is it worse if the egg is eaten alone or does it help if the egg is baked in another product, etc. Also, I would think that people who eat eggs regularly might also eat higher fat and/or glycemic foods such as bacon, pastries, toast, etc. and I would like to know if those variables were considered.

    • Jocelyn

      From what I see in the sources cited, other factors that affect the risk of diabetes are adjusted for…

    • S. Burlit

      I agree Louise. The reason I even read all these comments was to see if the ‘why’ was answered. Perhaps he will answer that in a future video. I do have to laugh at some of the defender-of-meat comments regarding suffering and sentience! I say let them eat their animals and get sick. You can lead a horse to water……..

      • The association of eggs with type two diabetes relates to their high fat content. It is the fat in the diet that appears to be the cause due to fat leading to insulin resistance as well as down regulating the genes that run mitochondria that burn glucose. Of course we can’t rule out effects of adipocytes in overweight and obese individuals. Egg whites have very little fat and are in fact mostly protein… you can check out the details on Cronometer. So I would imagine it doesn’t contribute to type two diabetes. You do have to ask yourself why you would want to eat a high animal protein food given the evidence that too much protein intake especially animal protein is harmful to your kidney function and associated with certain cancers. Egg whites also have a very high amount of selenium. The devil is always in the details.

  • Sam

    Dear Dr. Greger. We all love your research. and You have brought so much joy in my life highlighting the crap we Americans eat. But I notice often you omit opposing research.

    Please do refer to studies that contradict your conclusory remarks. In many of your remarks you often fail to talk about contradictory research. While I have absolutely no regard for excess egg or protein, it appears that your vegan philosophy often omits research that may contradict your opinion. Here are three latest egg research showing the opposite of your assertion.

    Hosp. 2013 Jan-Feb;28(1):105-11. doi: 10.3305/nh.2013.28.1.6124.

    Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in a
    Mediterranean cohort; the sun project.

    I, Beunza
    JJ, Bes-Rastrollo
    M, Basterra-Gortari
    FJ, Mari-Sanchis
    A, Martínez-González
    MÁ; SUN
    Project Investigators.



    University of Navarra, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.


    in English,


    The prevalence of diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate in
    nearly all countries. Some studies from non-Mediterranean populations
    suggest that higher egg consumption is associated with an increased
    risk of diabetes. The aim of our study was to prospectively assess
    the association between egg consumption and the incidence of type 2
    diabetes in a large cohort of Spanish university graduates.


    In this prospective cohort including 15,956 participants (mean
    age: 38.5 years) during 6.6 years (median), free of diabetes mellitus
    at baseline. Egg consumption was assessed at baseline through a
    semiquantitative food-frequency questionnaire repeatedly validated in
    Spain. Incident diabetes mellitus diagnosed by a doctor was assessed
    through biennial follow-up questionnaires and confirmed subsequently
    by medical reports or records, according to the American Diabetes
    Association criteria. Analyses were performed through multivariable
    non-conditional logistic regression.


    After adjustment for confounders, egg consumption was not
    associated with the development of diabetes mellitus, comparing the
    highest versus the lowest quartile of egg consumption (1 egg/week): odds ratio = 0.7; 95% CI 0.3-1.7.


    Egg consumption was not
    associated with the development of diabetes mellitus in this
    Mediterranean cohort.

    2013 Aug;229(2):381-4. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.05.008.
    Epub 2013 May 31.

    Egg consumption and coronary atherosclerotic

    P, Caramori
    P, Galdino
    TP, Barcellos
    Cda S, Gomes
    I, Schwanke


    Department of Health Sciences, School of Nutrition, Federal
    University of Santa Maria – UFSM, Av. Independência 3751, 98300.000
    Palmeira das Missões, RS, Brazil.



    To verify the association between egg consumption and coronary
    atherosclerotic burden.


    Observational study.


    Cardiac catheterization laboratory.


    Adult patients referred for coronary angiography.


    Socio-demographic data (age, education level, and occupation),
    cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, systemic hypertension,
    dyslipidemia, diabetes, and family history of coronary artery
    disease), and egg-eating habits were assessed using a research
    questionnaire. Egg consumption was divided into three categories:
    less than one egg a week; one egg a week; and more than one egg a
    week. Coronary atherosclerotic burden was assessed by a blinded
    interventional cardiologist using the Friesinger Score (FS) obtained
    from the coronary angiography. This score varies from 0 to 15 and
    evaluated each of the three main coronary arteries separately. For
    this analysis, the FS was divided into three categories: 0-4, 5-9,
    and 10-15.


    The study sample was composed of 382 adult patients; 241 patients
    (63.3%) were male. The average age was 60.3 ± 10.8 years (range
    23-89 years). The egg-eating category was inversely associated with
    dyslipidemia (p < 0.05) but not with the other cardiovascular risk
    factors. A significant association was found between egg consumption
    and FS (p < 0.05), showing that patients who ate more than one egg
    a week had a lower coronary atherosclerotic burden. By multivariate
    analysis, the atherosclerotic burden was independently associated
    with sex, age, hypertension and egg consumption.


    In this observational study of patients
    undergoing coronary angiography, the consumption of more than one egg
    per week was associated with a lower coronary atherosclerotic burden.

    Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


    Angiography, CAD, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary
    atherosclerosis burden, Egg consumption, FS, Friesinger Score,

    J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jul;98(1):146-59. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.051318.
    Epub 2013 May 15.

    Egg consumption in relation to risk of
    cardiovascular disease and diabetes: a systematic review and

    JY, Xun
    P, Nakamura
    Y, He


    Department of Nutrition, Gillings Schools of Global Public Health,
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.



    The associations of egg consumption with cardiovascular disease
    (CVD) and diabetes are still unclear.


    We aimed to quantitatively summarize the literature on egg
    consumption and risk of CVD, cardiac mortality, and type 2 diabetes
    by conducting a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.


    A systematic literature review was conducted for published studies
    in PubMed and EMBASE through March 2012. Additional information was
    retrieved through Google or a hand review of the reference from
    relevant articles. Studies were included if they had a prospective
    study design, were published in English-language journals, and
    provided HRs and 95% CIs for the associations of interest. Data were
    independently extracted by 2 investigators, and the weighted HRs and
    95% CIs for the associations of interest were estimated by using a
    random-effects model.


    A total of 22 independent cohorts from 16 studies were identified,
    including participants ranging in number from 1600 to 90,735 and in
    follow-up time from 5.8 to 20.0 y. Comparison of the highest category
    (≥1 egg/d) of egg consumption with the lowest (<1 egg/wk or
    never) resulted in a pooled HR (95% CI) of 0.96 (0.88, 1.05) for
    overall CVD, 0.97 (0.86, 1.09) for ischemic heart disease, 0.93
    (0.81, 1.07) for stroke, 0.98 (0.77, 1.24) for ischemic heart disease
    mortality, 0.92 (0.56, 1.50) for stroke mortality, and 1.42 (1.09,
    1.86) for type 2 diabetes. Of the studies conducted in diabetic
    patients, the pooled HR (95% CI) was 1.69 (1.09, 2.62) for overall


    This meta-analysis suggests
    that egg consumption is not associated with the risk of CVD and
    cardiac mortality in the general population. However, egg consumption
    may be associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes
    among the general population and CVD comorbidity among diabetic

    • IveyLeaguer

      Thanks for a glimpse of reason. To blame egg consumption, on just about anything, is completely ridiculous. Especially if they are eggs from wild, free-range, organically fed chickens.

      Eggs from that source are one of the most nutritious foods aout there.

    • Kim Y.

      Thank you. I posted a number of studies below that suggest the total opposite of what this video suggests. No one even responded. This site is so conveniently blind to the discourse at the heart of scientific research. I love this site and agree with many of its premises but it is so dishonest and unreflective in regard to its driving bias — which is disheartening.

      • Thea

        Sam and Kim: I have some thoughts for you. I want to make clear first, though, that I am not speaking on behalf of Dr. Greger or I am offering personal opinions.

        I don’t think this site is blind to anything. Every site/organization is going to have a scope and a set amount of resources. The scope on this site is Dr. Greger’s take on *relevant* science regarding nutrition. He reads all those studies “so we don’t have to.” To me, that means that Dr. Greger should not be sharing all of the studies that he doesn’t consider relevant. I come to this site, because I don’t have time for that.

        I imagine that Dr. Greger doesn’t have the time/resources to post and respond to every study either. You can always find conflicting studies about anything. As I have posted in the past, you can even find studies that show that smoking has nothing to do with cancer. Those studies may even look quite convincing. But if I went to a site that boasted, “I review all the science on smoking so that you don’t have to.”, I would expect to see the studies filtered to what the presenter considers relevant to the big picture of what we know about smoking.

        There can be all sorts of reasons that Dr. Greger would consider a study not to be relevant. I personally don’t need to know those reasons at this point in my life. I just know that I don’t have the time or training to go through it all myself. I am content that Dr. Greger looks at conflicting information like the studies you site and weighs them accordingly. I can think of three videos off the top of my head where Dr. Greger shares studies that would be considered at least on the surface to be against the plant food message or that contradict traditional vegan beliefs. Also, there are plenty of videos where Dr. Greger makes it clear that we don’t “know” something. That he is just sharing what we know so far. So, I feel comfortable that Dr. Greger is thinking critically when he makes his decisions about what to include. And based on what he has presented, I feel comfortable that he is not only thinking critically, but is also making good decisions.

        As you and others have done, you can feel free to post any opposing studies you want in the comments section. Sometimes people reply. Sometimes not. I would imagine that most people feel the same way that I do – that opposing research is relevant only in the context of deeply understanding all of the studies on that topic and being able to weigh them in the big picture. We have some commenters who can do that. But most of us can’t and/or don’t have time.

        If you feel like you need to see a debate on these topics, you might consider keeping NutritionFacts in your back pocket, but also going to other sites which give equal time and weight to all studies/sides–regardless of validity. (For me, such a site is likely to end up being about false equivalencies and create more confusion and miss information than actual scientific discourse. But maybe there really is a site where you can take all valid studies and debate them.) For this site, we get the bottom line, which is something many people seem to appreciate.

        I welcome people posting opposing opinions. I just don’t consider it Dr. Greger’s job to do so. He has already done his job by screening out what he considers riff-raff. I don’t get all of my nutritional information from one person/this site. This is just one valuable source of info with a known and realistic scope.

        So, I’ve said the same thing multiple ways. Hopefully I was able to get my point across in a respectful way. I actually sympathize with your position. I just disagree with it in terms of this particular site.

    • HereHere

      The conclusion of the meta-analysis you cite, “However, egg consumption may be associated with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes among the general population and CVD comorbidity among diabetic patients.” confirms Dr. Greger’s conclusion, although I do worry that there is a lack of balance in the studies reported at times. I think it behooves the average person to do a bit of their own, outside research and not just rely on one source of information.

  • AndyF

    I’m not diabetic. For me, this enormous study seems to indicate no association with eggs and heart disease or stroke. Why can this be discounted?

  • daniel escobar

    I think the egg is not a risk for diabetes, provided the perfect egg portion to touch each individual is consumed, as the case of each. Could intervene as certain factors such as age, height, complexion, inherited antescedentes family, etc.. which take into account that within the total basal energy expenditure of each individual egg that was consumed between corresponding portions within, and not exceed, for which there is no health risk when consumed, yet on the other hand I agree that in fact only one egg a week if it exceeds the limit portions of the group in which the egg enters the food pyramid, if there is a risk.

  • RJR13

    I find the data for the conclusion to be pretty flimsy. To quote from the most recent data (from a long term well designed study and then peer reviewed in a main stream journal – “n this cohort of older adults with limited egg intake, there was no association between egg consumption or dietary cholesterol and increased risk of incident T2D.”

    I think it is just as likely that it is the protein intake which is the culprit. Those who eat eggs generally eat more protein in general. “High protein intake was associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio (HR) 1.27 for highest compared with lowest quintile;” or some other associated variable.

  • Richard Frazee

    In my case of Type II Diabetes I really don’t think eating EGGS had all that much to do with me acquiring the illness. Well, not as much as did MONSANTO and getting sprayed with AGENT ORANGE for a full year. (By the way, Agent Orange doesn’t have anything on Round Up, when it comes to killing vegetation). But now that I have Type II Diabetes, I can see no reason for continuing to eat eggs. I for one am heading toward a Vegetarian Diet and Growing as much as I can in MY OWN GARDEN!

  • Pam

    I just don’t get this. Eggs are a natural whole food.

  • Bob

    I had to read the research for this topic. Djousse’ 2008 study showed several conflicting pieces of information. 1. Both men and women eating >7 eggs per week had lower incidence of high cholesterol than those not eating eggs. 2. Both men and women eating >7 eggs per week also had up to 4 x the incidence of smoking and alcohol use than non-egg consumers. 3. BMI and HTN were also higher in egg eaters. Do we assume that eating eggs cause obesity and HTN also? IF we use this logic then eggs will help lower cholesterol also or make us want to smoke and drink. Are there studies on eggs with control groups (everything equal except consumption of eggs) for risk of heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol.

    • Darryl

      For those eating Western diets, little dietary cholesterol is absorbed and serum cholesterol levels are largely related to saturated and trans-fat intake. A 100 mg increase in dietary cholesterol translates into an increase of only about 2.2 (mg/dl) in serum cholesterol. However, cholesterol uptake is considerably higher in those with lower serum levels, like low-fat vegans:

      modest amounts of cholesterol added to a cholesterol-free diet would be expected to most efficiently elevate serum cholesterol

      Its plausible that among those eating a Western diet, those choosing to eat eggs rather than sausage would have lower serum cholesterol, as the saturated fat (lower in the eggs) would be the predominant determinant.

      The heart attack proof zone for serum cholesterol is under 150 mg/dL total cholesterol, achieved through dietary means. This typically means a vegan (or nearly vegan) diet with high fiber, high plant phytosterols and no added fats. Addition of egg cholesterol to that kind of diet would have a pronounced adverse effect.

  • esther4

    there’s factory farmed eggs,
    and then there are real eggs. Eggs that are scrambled or fried have the
    cholesterol and fatty acids oxidized. Poached and soft boiled, not so.
    Eggs are an anabolic food. Diet needs to be matched to the individual.
    Most of these kinds of proclamations are made from epidemiological
    studies, which cannot ever assess cause and effect, and there seems to
    be little interest on the part of the groups that have the money (like
    NIH) to do careful long term studies of different diets. So, all this is
    basically guess work…Dwight McKee MD

  • Kim Y.

    In light of this video, I’m wondering if someone help me make sense of the following:

    Zazpe I, et al.Egg consumption and risk
    of cardiovascular disease in the SUN Project . Eur J Clin Nutr. (2011)

    Hu FB, et al.A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of
    cardiovascular disease in men and women . JAMA. (1999)

    Scrafford CG, et al. Egg consumption and CHD and stroke mortality: a prospective study of US adults. Public Health Nutr. (2011)

    Nakamura Y, et al. Egg consumption, serum total cholesterol concentrations and coronary heart disease incidence: Japan Public Health Center-based prospective study. Br J Nutr. (2006)

    Djoussé L, Gaziano JM. Egg consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease and mortality: the Physicians’ Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr.

    Qureshi AI, et al. Regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Med Sci Monit. (2007)

    Njike V, et al. Daily egg consumption in hyperlipidemic adults–effects on
    endothelial function and cardiovascular risk. Nutr J. (2010)

    Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. (2006)

    Jones PJ. Dietary cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease in
    patients: a review of the Harvard Egg Study and other data. Int J Clin
    Pract Suppl. (2009)

    What gives?

  • PJ

    Is this risk reduced by removing yolks and eating only the whites?

  • Laurel Renee Potts

    What about egg whites, and not consuming the yolk? Is the incidence reduced?

  • ashlea

    In left wondering what is it about the eggs that would have this result.that was not made clear. Is it the high cholesterol in the yolk? Our the white, or both?

  • Yonder

    If God didn’t intend us to eat animals why did He make them out of meat?

    • b00mer

      Did you make this up yourself? I have never heard it before. It is so clever.
      They’re Made Out of Meat:

      • Thea

        b00mer: That video is really hilarious. I’m glad Yonder posted just so that you would post that link. ;-)

      • Darryl

        Terry Bisson’s short story from 1991.

    • Thea

      In that same vein: Thank goodness, we can eat you! I’ll have a leg. No a breast. No…

  • prendiz42

    I have type II DM a1c was 18 4weeks ago. Uncontrolled Dm for 5years with a poor diet and no meds. My bs avg was 300-600 daily. I changed my diet 4weeks ago to a high protein low carb no complex carb diet. All my carbs coming from the simple carbs in skim milk. I eat 6 egg whites a day raw in my protein shakes. Workout 6 days a week and my bs has not bbeen over 90 in 4weeks with no meds!!

  • jessdian2

    I’m a vegetarian and have also cut out dairy and I try to eat vegan most of the time, though I do enjoy eggs from the farmers market. My issue with these studies is that I always wonder if they take into account the rest of the individual’s diet and life style. I would suspect that a person who eats a lot of eggs may also easy a lot of cheese or bacon, for example.

  • Bob

    This makes no sense. I don’t buy it. Yes, eating more plants or all plants is better for your, but, no doubt the other 99% of your nutrition has far more to do with diabetes than an egg. The study would have to be run with people eating an all vegan diet and adding the eggs to see the difference. Otherwise there’s no way to tell for sure. Was the study group washing down there eggs with soda? Who knows.

  • Falina

    Im just curious if there was any research done on eggs cooked differently like hard boiled vs fried. And if theres any difference if maybe someone ate egg whites only?

  • Martha Parrella Mckenzie

    the Wellness center that I’m going to for treating my diabetes without drugs changing my whole way of eating, all whole foods, veggies & some fruits and supplements, told me today that if you have diabetes you cannot be a vegetarian because you need the protein in animal fat – is that true??

    • Thea

      Martha: This is patently UNtrue. I highly recommend that you read the book “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes – The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs”

      Bottom line: Dr. Barnard ran a clinical trial where people were able to reverse their Type 2 diabetes by changing their diet to a vegan, whole plant food based diet. His diet is “3 times more effective than other diet plans”. And there is no animal protein or fat in the diet.

      The book not only includes great info, but recipes. I highly recommend it.

      I’m sorry to hear you have diabetes. I hope you are able to get it under control. Good luck.

      • Martha Parrella Mckenzie

        thanks so much for your help!!

      • Kim Y

        Thea, are you a doctor?

        • Thea

          Kim Y: No, no. I’m sorry if I gave that impression. I try hard to say often that I am not an expert of any kind. I’m more of a “power user” of information, having spend several years now studying and learning what I can in my smattering of free time. I’m just a lay person who happens to know a little bit more than the average lay person in America.

          But I’m not nearly as advanced as other commenters on this site such as Toxins and Darryl and others. I just try to share what I know in a user-friendly way. Also, by volunteering on this site, I hope to help create a community of respectful people who are interested in learning and sharing together how to be healthy through diet.

  • Mk Grant

    Just HOW do eggs cause diabetes? Until you can show me the scientific or chemical route in which eggs directly cause diabetes, I won’t believe it.

    • Thea

      Mk Grant: Your skepticism is healthy and fully understandable given the brainwashing we get about eggs.

      My understanding is that we don’t know the exact mechanisms which cause type 2 diabetes, but we have a good theory that is backed by strong science. Dr. Barnard explains the mechanism by which fat build-up in cells over time lead to type 2 diabetes.

      Here is a quote from figure caption in the book: “Normally, insulin attaches to receptors on the cell’s surface and signals the cell membrane to allow glucose to enter. However, if fat, called intromyocellular lipid, accumulates inside the cell, it interferes with insulin’s intracellular signaling process. Tiny organelles, called mitochondria, are supposed to burn fat, and their failure to keep up with the accumulating fat may be the original of type 2 diabetes. Luckily, evidence shows that diet changes can reduce the amount of fat inside the cell.”

      You would learn more details about this process by reading the book of course:

      What all this means is that the problems type 2 diabetics have with blood sugar is a symptom, not the cause of the disease. And as I said, the science seems to back this up. If you get the fat out of your cells, your body can regulate the blood sugars very well.

      So, how does this relate to eggs? I’m thinking about the fat in the eggs that goes far above the 10% fat (if memory serves) that Dr. Barnard shoots for with the patients in the clinical trial. I personally think that there may be something about the protein in the egg whites that also contributes given the findings of the studies from this video, but that’s just a layman’s wonderings.

      Something to think about.

      • DH

        So easy to eat too much fat…. peanut butter and tahini are my major culprits …. one needs to be really careful not to eat too much of our favourite fats…..

        • Thea

          re: easy…
          Amen! But I clearly have bigger vices than you. I still eat way too much chocolate, etc. I consider the nut and seed butters to be generally healthier. And I eat too many of those too.

          At least I know what is healthy and am working towards it. I try not to be too hard on myself. Then again, maybe it is about time I got a little more discipline…

          • DH

            Well, we all have our vices (mine is not chocolate or sugar though). If the omega-6:omega-3 story is true, then tahini and peanut butter are some of the worst sources in my diet; the only thing that could be worse is industrial seed oils.

      • Mk Grant

        Thank you very much. So, in his book, does the Dr. teach how to remove the fat from the cells? I’m assuming it’s not just a matter of limiting the fat in one’s diet?

        • Thea

          You assume wrong! :-) It turns out that getting rid of the fat in one’s diet is the key.

          In the chapter “How to Get Started”, Dr. Barnard summarizes that the key to success is to eat foods that are 1) vegan (100%!), 2) low fat (no or little oil), and 3) low glycemic.

          Of course, he defines low glycemic in a rational way. Low GI foods include: beans/legumes, green leafy vegetables, most fruits, barley, etc. and “Surprisingly, pasta has a low glycemic index, unlike other wheat products.” (Personally, I’m a huge fan of brown rice pasta, which gets me both good-textured pasta and whole grain.)

          I really do highly recommend the book for more detailed info than I can give here.

        • Thea’s post gave an excellent overview of the science behind the current best paradigm that type two diabetes is a “sugar” actually glucose processing problem caused by fats in the diet. You need to reduce fats both animal and concentrated plant sources such as oils to give the body the best chance to reverse the disease. By following the whole plant based diet without oils you improve your chance of avoiding, reversing and/or curing type two diabetes. Animal foods are very high in fat. You can check the details out at Eggs are just high in fat. They don’t cause type two diabetes they just increase your risk of getting it and if you have it get in your bodies way of reversing it. Of course there are alot of other reasons not to eat eggs from a health standpoint. If you eat the correct diet you will decrease your total calorie intake and your body will clear the fat our of your cells and decrease the size of your fat cells. Fat cells are metabolically active. It is possible that they may contribute indirectly to type two diabetes. It is clear if we lose body fat we lower our risk for a variety of conditions.

      • Marisol

        Physical activity is one of the best ways for decreasing the amount of fat in cells. I personally don’t think that egg consumption is one of the main causes for the development of type 2 diabetes. A high intake of simple carbohydrates is one of the main contributors to type 2 diabetes. Where do we find this type of carbohydrates? In refined flour, sugars (soft drinks and other sweetened beverages) and other type of caloric sweeteners such as HFCS. The constant stimulation of the pancreatic cells by high intake of simple carbohydrates eventually may lead to type 2 diabetes. Of course, high intake of saturated fat and trans fat may increase your cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes.
        Instead of trying to blame certain “whole-foods”, how about we focus on limiting or avoiding high processed foods with high amounts of sugar, saturated and trans fats and sodium?

  • Doug

    Congrats you can be the worlds second worst scientist right behind the most dangerous killer of humans in history–Dr. Ancel Keys and his proven bogus “cholesterol theory” What bullshit ! Dr. you need to go back to the drawing board with your studies. Severely FLAWED

    • Thea

      Doug: You can disagree all you want. You can even assert the most silly of pseudo-science. We allow it all the time. But we do not allow personal attacks. This is a site for mature adults only. I am deleting your comment. Feel free to post again if you can follow the rules.

  • Ian Stephenson

    Here is a reference to a much larger study which states an opposing opinion:

    “In multivariable-adjusted models, there was no association between egg consumption and increased risk of T2D in either sex and overall. In a secondary analysis, dietary cholesterol was not associated with incident diabetes (P for trend = 0.47). In addition, egg consumption was not associated with clinically meaningful differences in fasting glucose, fasting insulin, or measures of insulin resistance despite small absolute analytic differences that were significant.”

  • Joni Cederlind Letlow

    what one eats not only impacts your health but the health of every living being the whole entire earth. It all is connected. Watch this video″

  • Joni Cederlind Letlow

    please remove the last comment I posted, for some reason the video is wrong! I meant to post the video by Will Tuttle PhD on youtube.

  • StupidityHurts

    Stupidity squared!
    Not a single shred of evidence!
    As Mark Twain has said:
    There are three kinds of lies:
    Damn Lies

  • StupidityHurts

    Just for the record: I was referring to the video and NOT to any comments below.

  • Rafa

    Was this a controlled study? How do you do it, you have people eating the exact same thing and change just the amount of eggs they eat? Seems to me like the usual crappy food science you see every day. Yesterday eggs where the best food for you, today they can kill you, tomorrow who knows.

  • Myro

    An interesting question. Why is everyone so concerned about eggs? I was at one time in my life, stuggling to get my choestrol numbers in line. Then I came across whole30 eating (not really a diet, but rather a new way of looking at food and then choosing goog foods) concept. See the book It Starts With Food”.

    Now I eat three eggs every morning for breakfast, i have a healthy diet, eating lots of veggies & fresh fruit, I eat most all meats in moderation. No grains, very little dairy, only certain nuts (cashues & almonds), sweet potatoes, not white and watch the carbs, I hate the energy spikes they give you, and no sugar. That’s why I love eggs, the protein gives me energy and satisfies my desire for in between snacks.

    I exercise regularly, i.e. before work i ride 32 kilometers every other day on the bike (Heart rate never more then average 115 bpm) plus Sat & Sunday. I go to bed at 9:00 PM and get up at 4:00 AM every day. I am a MD of small manufacturing company and so put in a good 9-10 hrs. Every day, with energy to spare. I am 64 years old, love my work and have time for family life.

    Guess what ALL of my colestrol figures are the best I’ve ever had

  • Gadea

    I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes September 2013.

    I think I had it for a while, just didn’t know what was causing the symptoms.

    I was extremely thirsty, drinking brita pitchers of water and was still

    tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth thirst. I would have terrible

    nausea and vomiting bouts, vomited anything I ate, even water.

    Slowly my body would recover, I would eat tiny teaspoon of honey,

    because it was the only thing that would stay down.

    My doctor, Dr. Alan Kavetz put me on Kombiglyze XR.

    He also gave me a list of food to cut out, white rice, potatoes, bagels, etc.

    On my own, I bought a blender and go to a Fairway near me, buy

    Kale, Dandelion Root, Spinach, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beets and make

    a slurpee of this and eat it. It helped my symptoms.

    But on the internet, I found this vegetable called Bitter Melon.

    I wanted to stop taking the Kombiglyze XR, because it is linked to

    Pancreatic Cancer. Bitter Melon does keep my symptoms under control.

    In NYC Chinatown, it’s all over the place, for a $1.00 each.

    In the Union Square Whole Foods, when they have it, it cost $5.00 for

    each one. I stopped taking Bitter Melon, because I ran out and my

    vomiting, nausea, sweating, feel like there there are ants crawling

    underneath my skin, my toes and soles of my feet, pinpricks of pain.

    It feels bad. My son took me to Whole Foods Union Square,

    where Lo & Behold they had the Bitter Melon vegetable.

    I bought 5, hurried home and put it in the blender with the other vegetables.

    My symptoms began to subside and by the next day, they were gone.

    I take the Bitter Melon supplement that I find in Vitamin Shoppe.

    I have tried Bitter Melon Solaray and Himalaya.

    But I find, that for me, they do not work, I still get the symptoms.
    It’s only the vegetable, Bitter Melon, eating it that I get relief.
    I do not like the taste of Bitter Melon and I have to force myself to eat it.
    I am 63 year old Female.

  • Ronald Chavin

    What makes egg eaters so unhealthy – almost as unhealthy as pork eaters? The cholesterol in the yolk of the egg only raises our blood cholesterol slightly – not nearly as much as eating saturated fat or trans fat. The choline>>TMAO connection could be an important cause but can’t possibly explain the whole misfortune by itself. The nitrosamines, heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dietary advanced glycation endproducts, dietary advanced lipoxidation endproducts, alkanals, alkenals, and trans fatty acids are present in fried eggs but not in hard-boiled or poached eggs that have no salt added. Pathogenic bacteria can be present in raw eggs but not in hard-boiled or poached eggs. Anyhow, the eating of raw eggs is extremely uncommon. Heme iron, a pro-oxidant, is present in all eggs but total iron is actually quite low in eggs compared to meats and fish. Furthermore, most of the small amount of iron in eggs is the less harmful nonheme type. Also, eggs contain phosvitin, a protein compound that binds iron molecules together and strongly prevents the human body from absorbing iron from foods. The arsenic that egg farmers feed to hens to keep them free of diseases doesn’t get into the eggs that humans will later eat. So the only remaining possibility are the cancer-causing synthetic estrogens that egg farmers feed to hens to increase egg production and keep egg prices as low as possible:

  • M.K.

    Dear Dr. Greger
    I am an amateur bodybuilder and I’ve recently replaced my whey (milk) powder protein with black beans and soy milk after watching your videos. However there are times throughout the day where I must take protein but no carbs. It’s simply a rule that I must follow to make maximum muscular development. My question is, if my only option for high protein low carb food is to eat whey protein isolate or egg whites, which would you suggest? I need to consume about 30 egg whites in addition to my soy milk and black bean protein in order to meet my daily protein requirement. All the negative things about cholestrol and choline are only in the yolk, and there’s less choline in an egg white than there is in a vegetable.(virtually no choline in egg whites) One egg white contains 3.6g of protein, while a scoop of whey protein contains 30g.
    Thanks in advance,
    P.S. I love your videos.

    • Toxins

      What is your evidence that your body requires pure protein and no carbs for muscular development?
      “The anabolic phase is a critical phase occurring within 45 minutes post-exercise. It is during this time that muscle cells are particularly sensitive to insulin, making it necessary to ingest the proper nutrients in order to make gains in muscle endurance and strength. If the proper nutrients are ingested 2 – 4 hours post-exercise they will not have the same effect. It is also during this time in which the anabolic hormones begin working to repair the muscle and decrease its inflammation.
      Immediate ingestion of carbohydrate is important because insulin sensitivity causes the muscle cell membranes to be more permeable to glucose within 45 minutes post-exercise. This results in faster rates of glycogen storage and provides the body with enough glucose to initiate the recovery process (Burke et al., 2003). Muscle glycogen stores are replenished the fastest within the first hour after exercise. Consuming carbohydrate within an hour after exercise also helps to increase protein synthesis (Gibala, 2000).”

      Gibala, M.J. (2000). Nutritional supplementation and resistance exercise: what is the evidence for enhanced skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 25(6), 524-535.

      There is no evidence that one must supplement dietary protein in order to gain muscle mass. As long as one consumes adequate calories then adequate protein will also be met. Basically, eat when your hungry, till your full. It may be difficult at first to accept that your body does not need to supplement protein but it is unfounded to believe otherwise.

    • I agree with Toxins excellent post. If you want to read more about protein I would suggest articles in three of Dr. McDougall’s newsletters, see 12/2003(History), 4/2007(sources) and 1/2003(overload). I would not recommend protein supplementation as a path to improved health. Although the science is changing and new science is coming out so you need to stay tuned.

    • JacquieRN

      Hi MK, for expertise on body building and whole foods diet – you may want to check the internet as this sector of the population is growing. For example check out Derek Tresize, ” My favorite is Sunwarrior’s raw brown rice protein; it tastes great and is raw so it’s minimally processed and still has intact nutrients.

    • Thea


      I think the answers you already got are top-knotch. But if you are still convinced that you need to supplement, I would refer to you to the the following article and link. If memory serves, these guys were recommending a particular vegan protein powder at a VegFest Conference I attended a few months ago. If you look at their profiles on the site linked to below, you can see what supplements/protein powders each person recommends/uses.

      (from meatout mondays)
      Vegan Bodybuilders Dominate Texas Competition

      The Plant Built ( team rolled into this
      year’s drug-free, steroid-free Naturally Fit Super Show competition in Austin, TX, and walked away with more trophies than even they could carry.

      The Plant Built team of 15 vegan bodybuilders competed in
      seven divisions, taking first place in all but two. They also took several 2nd and 3rd place wins.

      For More Info:

      Hope that helps!

  • PicoMania

    quoting from the study:
    “We did not collect information on whether participants consumed egg yolk
    (rich in cholesterol) to further examine
    the contribution of dietary cholesterol from eggs
    on type 2 diabetes risk in this study. In addition, we had limited
    data for men to further assess the interplay of
    eggs and other foods, energy, and nutrients with the risk of type 2

    The second sentence is of particular relevance to this articles headline. Could it be that the self-reporting participants were eating their eggs with high-carb foods such as white toast with jelly/jam, potatoes, sugary coffee, etc.? I think it’s a rather irresponsible study and a rather irresponsible statement to make as a headline just to draw readership.

  • Josh

    Couple of things…

    * One of the cited sources says: “In multivariable-adjusted models, there was no association between egg consumption and increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes in either sex and overall. In a secondary analysis, dietary cholesterol was not associated with incident diabetes (P for trend = 0.47). In addition, egg consumption was not associated with clinically meaningful differences in fasting glucose, fasting insulin, or measures of insulin resistance despite small absolute analytic differences that were significant.”

    * Everyone associates eggs with an increased risk for heart disease. It’s very likely the people in these studies who ate more eggs were less health conscious than those who didn’t.

    * These are all observational studies.

    * Here are 3 randomized controlled trials that show eggs are very beneficial in people with diabetes and metabolic syndrome:

  • Kathy Wozniak
  • Modibbo Adamu

    Eating pasta without eggs might be an incomplete pasta dish avoiding it bcos of its eggs content

  • GoFigure

    Odd that my husband has diabetes and has always had normal to slightly low cholesterol levels. And yes, I know about the ratio. My mother(82) and father(83) ate eggs every morning all my life as have I, and we all have had normal levels with no diabetes, heart disease or dementia.

  • M

    Eating eggs quantitatively does NOT increase type 2 diabetes. This scribbling is garbage.

  • Dee Dee

    But, I have to ask did this research include organic eggs, free range eggs, and/or chickens that were not given antibiotics?

  • Scratch

    So , all the older folks in my family who ate eggs all their lives , and did not get diabetes , means nothing ! I rather think it is the sugar , and meat protein that is the cause of this “epidemic ” of type2 ! If it was not on your great grandmother’s plate , it ain’t food ! Farmers have gone out of their way to kill bugs, and we eat the results ! They have given fertilizers the go ahead , and we eat the resulting crop ! Growth hormones , insecticides ,,,,,,,! There’s ya problem right there !

  • GF

    I wonder weather the problem with egg consumption is at all connected with what egg producing chicken have been fed. Do organic eggs have the same effect? Any mention of this in the studies?

    • Toxins

      There are inherent compounds in eggs that make no difference whether the eggs are organic or conventional.

  • Andy

    I only eat egg whites. Is this issue related to the yolk or the white?

    • Thea

      Andy: I would guess that the connection between eggs and diabetes is related to the yolk more than the white. However, there are other health problems with the egg whites. So, it is best not to eat any part of an egg.

      Here are some of the problems with the egg white:
      Dr. Barnard talks about the problems that animal protein presents for kidney health. Other experts talk about the (strong in my opinion) link between animal protein and cancer. The question scientists then want to answer is: Is there a causal link? If so, what is the mechanism by which animal protein might cause cancer?

      If memory serves, Dr Campbell in The China Study mentions several ways in which we think that animal protein causes and promotes cancer. Here on NutritionFacts, you can get a great education on how animal protein is linked to the body’s over-production of a growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 helps cancer to grow. To watch the series about IGF-1, click on the link below and then keep clicking the “next video” link on the button to the right until you get through the bodybuilding video. Then you will have seen the entire series.

      And Darryl recently reminded me about the methionine issue. Egg whites have *the* highest concentration of methionine of any food:,18,9,0,13,14,5,4,42,16,17,15,6,3,2,11,7,19,21,12,10,8,22
      Dr. Greger did a nice video showing the link between methionine and cancer. So, there are two clear pathways linking animal proteins, especially egg whites, to cancer.

      Darryl also pointed out that, “…high methionine diets increase coronary risk in humans. In its associations with cardiovascular disease and other disorders, homocysteine may be functioning partly as a marker for the major culprit, excess methionine.”

      And while I can’t find it right now, I believe that Toxins has pointed out two other health issues with egg whites.

      With all of the information we have about the harmful effects of animal protein in general and egg white in particular, I think it’s best to stay away from egg white. Why not get your protein from safe sources? Sources which are known to have lots of positive health effects and will naturally give you a balanced amount of protein? (ie: whole plant foods) Make sense?

      • dcv168

        I know this is a little late …But then why does Dr Ornish allow egg whites and has shown reversal with them in his diet plan? Thanks.

  • Were the eggs from organically-raised chickens?… What type of diet were the participants eating – the SAD? Were the participants also eating toast made of Wonder bread spread with margarine?… Were the participants on a calorie or methionine restricted diet?…. This “study” was a SELF-REPORTED study with WAY too many variables to lead to any type of logical conclusion. :-)

    • Toxins

      Please see here for more on eggs.

      Take note, that many of the issues are independent of organic vs conventional. There are inherent compounds in eggs (sat fat, cholesterol, arachidonic acid) that cause most of the harm.

  • Anna

    How one linear are those studies? Don’t those people who consume eggs in the morning, eat bacon, sausage with it as well..? I eat a lot of eggs, love em. Eggs and milk cream (organic) have helped me get over a depression due to the fat content. I feel great after drinking a glass of milk cream, helps me sleep. I don’t know. I am so tired of all this contradicting advice out there… I think Dr. Greger is right in one thing; all that contradicting info is dangerous.
    I have been, for the past 25 years, trying to be a conscious, healthy eater, a vegetarian and still ended up with a 106 fasting blod sugar… No family history, always active, go to the gym, etc. So frustrating. And Im not the only one like that. I have friends who are like me; seemingly perfect, clean, healthy diets and diabetic.
    So let’s not talk about unhealthy diet, obesity and diabetics as this is obvious. Let’s talk about the cases where people are doing everything right or almost everything right!

  • Herb

    I’d appreciate if someone could reconcile the studies cited here with studies showing that egg eating – and cheese consumption – significantly reduces
    diabetes risk.

  • walterbyrd
  • dcv168

    I know this is a little late …But then why does Dr Ornish allow egg
    whites and has shown reversal with them in his diet plan? Thanks

  • Michael Gaines

    Okay so this sounds just ridiculous. I know people that eat a dozen eggs per day and they don’t get diabetes. Also much of the citations listed here are based on questionaire responses and not clinical studies.

    Here is a Web MD article that clearly disagrees..

  • dcv168

    I know this is a little late …But then why does Dr Ornish allow egg
    whites and has shown reversal with them in his diet plan? Thanks

  • Tom Di-Grazia

    I am now 70 y.o. Since arriving in Australia from Sicily in 1955, age 10, I
    have eaten a minimum of 2 eggs @ day ; sometimes 4, now and then 6, and Only
    Once I ate 8 eggs in one day when a lady friend made me an omelette with 6 eggs.
    I have estimated that in the last 60 years I have eaten over 42,000 eggs (i.e.
    3,500 dozens). My total cholesterol is currently 3.9 – I am very healthy, and
    every new person I meet tells me that I look at least 10 years younger. Eggs are
    the Most Nutritious Food There Is. It has to be, because if the egg is
    fertilized (by a sperm) the egg’s contents Must Contain All The Ingredients
    Necessary for the formation of a living being – a Chick – with bones, heart,
    liver, kidneys, thyroid gland, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, alimentary canal,
    reproductive system, brain, etc. It therefore has to contain All of the
    Essential Amino Acids (for all various proteins production), Essential Fatty
    Acids, Minerals, Vitamins, etc. Once the fertilized egg is laid, it cannot
    receive any further nutrients from the hen that laid it, unlike a human
    fertilized egg (ovum) that becomes a fetus inside a placenta that is connected
    to the mother and gets ALL of It’s Nutrients From It’s Mother right-up until it
    is born and the umbilical cord is cut. Even though it has now been known for
    over 15 years that the ingestion of cholesterol does NOT increase blood
    cholesterol, people are still fearful of eating eggs. To those people I would
    suggest they eat foods containing “soluble fiber’ together with eggs, because
    the soluble fiber attaches itself to the cholesterol and literally drags it out
    of the body (as feces), because ‘fiber is NOT absorbed by the intestines. People
    who don’t want to increase their Blood Cholesterol Should NOT Eat Foods that
    Contain SATURATED FATS, because the liver uses Saturated Fat, as one of the
    ingredients, in order to produce Cholesterol.

    • vince

      Great read sir and congrats…But I have read that saturated fat from healthy sources like grass feed beef or grass feed organic elk,bison,and ostrich or organic bug eating and cage free chicken is also not the villain and is not the main culprit in heart disease.Along with lots of vegetables and legumes and no sugar,processed meat and trans fat and refined carbs contribute more to heart disease.

  • L.

    ” In multivariable-adjusted models, there was no association between egg consumption and increased risk of T2D in either sex and overall.”

    Just citing the 4. Source …

  • The Poetry Lady

    Just wondering, did any of the people eating eggs and bacon during the studies forgo toast and highly processed cereal as they consumed the animal products? I believe in my own experiences that the highly abused wheat products Americans consume in mass quantities exacerbate the damage that animal products are implicated in doing.

  • Barry Cohen

    How about JUST the egg whites?

    • Thea

      Barry: Lots of people share your question. And given how much attention is paid to the yolks, it’s no wonder the white seem like they might be OK. Here’s the answer that I give when people ask about egg whites:

      There are two problems with eggs, the yolk and the white. (To paraphrase Dr. Barnard.) Egg whites are likely a big problem health-wise, just like the yolks. It is true that egg whites do not have cholesterol. But egg whites are essentially all animal protein. Here’s what we know about animal protein in general and egg whites in particular:

      Dr. Barnard links potential kidney problems to animal protein (though I don’t have the details on that). And Dr. Greger talks about the problems of animal protein in general in his annual summary video, “Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet”

      Here on NutritionFacts, you can get a great education on how animal protein is linked to the body’s over-production of a growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 helps cancer to grow. To watch the series about IGF-1, click on the link below and then keep clicking the “next video” link on the button to the right until you get through the bodybuilding video. Then you will have seen the entire series.

      Here’s another great tidbit from NutritionFacts on another mechanism linking egg whites to cancer as well as increased virus infections: “why would animal protein and fat increase cancer risk? Well, as I noted in Bowel Wars, if you eat egg whites, for example, between 5 and 35% of the protein isn’t digested, isn’t absorbed, and ends up in the colon, where it undergoes a process called putrefaction. When animal protein putrefies in the gut, it can lead to the production of the rotten egg gas, hydrogen sulfide, which, over and above its objectionable odor, can produce changes that increase cancer risk. Putrefying protein also produces ammonia.”
      To learn more details about the process, check out:

      Darryl at one point reminded me of the methionine issue. Egg whites have *the* highest concentration of methionine of any food:,18,9,0,13,14,5,4,42,16,17,15,6,3,2,11,7,19,21,12,10,8,22
      Dr. Greger did a nice video showing the link between methionine and cancer.

      Darryl also pointed out that, “…high methionine diets increase coronary risk in humans. In its associations with cardiovascular disease and other disorders, homocysteine may be functioning partly as a marker for the major culprit, excess methionine.”

      Dr. Greger recently posted some videos on how animal protein can raise insulin levels. The first of the following videos even specifically addresses egg whites.

      In summary: there are at least three pathways potentially linking animal proteins, especially egg whites, to cancer: the IGF-1, methionine, and putrefaction. And there is some good evidence that egg white consumption contributes to heart disease and potential problems with T2 diabetes by raising insulin levels in a bad way. All of these reductionist-type studies lend support the bigger general population studies showing that the healthiest populations on earth are those which eat the least amount of animal protein.

      With all of the information we have about the harmful effects of animal protein in general and egg white in particular, I think it’s best to stay away from egg white. Why not get your protein from safe sources? IE: Sources which are known to have lots of positive health effects and will naturally give you a balanced amount of protein? (ie: whole plant foods) Make sense?

  • Eggs are one of the best sources of choline. Choline deficiency causes accumulation of belly fat and insulin resistance, and a whole lot more (brain fog!!!).

    I eat 3 eggs a day and my physical exams come out perfect-ridiculous to say that eggs cause insulin resistance/diabetes. Look more carefully at these studies. In the Physician’s Study, the people who ate more eggs ate a lot more of everything, including fruits and vegetables, plus they didn’t exercise. Also, the men drank more alcohol. They were just over-eating slug-a beds. No wonder they ended up with a lot physical problems.