Ask the Diva: Are Eggs Really as Bad as Cigarettes?

Eggs are once again making headlines. But is it true that eating an egg is as bad as smoking a cigarette? Nutrition Diva separates fact from fiction. 

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
2-minute read

Ask the Diva: Are Eggs Really as Bad as Cigarettes?

by Monica Reinagel, M.S., L.D./N.

Q. Is it OK to eat one or two eggs for breakfast every day? My cholesterol is at an OK level, and I'm at a healthy weight. I'm just searching for low carb breakfast options. 

A. Your question is a timely one. Like you, I appreciate eggs as a tasty way to add protein to my breakfast. Add some vegetables and you deftly turn breakfast from the usual carb-fest into the healthiest meal of the day. If you have a copy of my book, Secrets for a Healthy Diet, look on page 200 for my super-easy Vegetable Frittata recipe—one of our favorite breakfasts around here at Quick and Dirty Tips.

However, recent sensational headlines about egg yolks being “as bad as smoking” have many people wondering whether they should go back to those ghastly yolk-less eggs-in-cartons. I’m not so sure. Throw away the yolks and you’d be discarding half the protein and all of the vitamins A, D, and E. (See also Benefits of Vitamin D.)

The “smoking egg” study observed that plaque buildup in carotid arteries was correlated to increased age, smoking, as well as to the number of egg yolks people reported eating. Although it made for a killer headline, the conclusion that eating egg yolks is as bad for you as lighting up a cigarette is a pretty large leap of logic—especially in light of copious data showing that an egg or two a day in an otherwise healthy diet does not have any significant effect on blood cholesterol levels or heart disease risk. 

This is an area where reasonable people may disagree (to say nothing of the unreasonable ones) but, for what it’s worth, I have read this latest study in its entirety and feel completely comfortable continuing with my dozen-a-week habit. 

Eggs image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.