Eggs Can Be Healthy—but Not if You're Eating Them Like This
Whether scrambled, hard-boiled, over-easy, or even fried, eggs contain plenty of nutrients. They provide numerous health benefits as they are a good source of protein, and can help things like inflammation, bone health, brain health, and even pregnancy. Eat them for breakfast, after a workout, or even just as a snack during the day.
We can't deny eating eggs is healthy. However, you need to be careful with what you put on them and what you eat them with. Just because the eggs themselves are good for you, doesn't mean you can throw a bunch of unhealthy ingredients on them.
"Eggs are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LDN, CLEC, CPT, author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook, The 7 Ingredient Healthy Pregnancy Cookbook, and Fueling Male Fertility. "From the high-quality protein they provide to the slew of B vitamins they house, there is no disputing that eating eggs can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet. But, when eggs are accompanied by some high-fat/high-sodium foods, the other ingredients' unhealthiness can overshine the eggs' healthiness."
Why eating eggs with processed foods is unhealthy
Manaker shares that if you were to order eggs at a restaurant, many of them would serve them with other sides. This includes salty meats like bacon, and sausage, as well as salted potatoes (like hash browns). The eggs themselves are a great addition to a healthy diet. However, as a whole, the dish can be seriously high in saturated fat, sodium, and other unsavory nutrients.
Eating breakfast meats like bacon and sausage can come with a lot of fat and sodium. According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the daily value for sodium is 2,300 milligrams. One strip of bacon is 115 milligrams, adding up to 5% of your daily value. Although it seems small at first, restaurants give two to three (maybe even more) slices of bacon. This can add up to a lot of sodium in one meal. One sausage link equals about 790 milligrams of sodium, which is a whopping 34% of your daily value.
When it comes to the amount of fat consumed, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting saturated fat calories to 10% of your daily intake or the equivalent of 20 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet. One strip of bacon is about 12.6 grams of saturated fat, which is more than half of the daily intake.
How to make sure you'll reap the benefits of eggs
The fact of the matter is, as long as you are watching what else you put on the plate, you will enjoy the benefits the eggs provide in their entirety. If you add on foods you know provide little to no benefits, then the plate may counteract itself.
The good news is that you don't have to eat the eggs alone. If you want a full plate, just make sure you're adding on other foods that provide nutrients.
"When you are enjoying your eggs, be sure to eat them along with other good-for-you and nutrient-dense foods like avocado, whole grain toast, and veggies," says Manaker.