8 reasons why we should not eat eggs
Eggs are a dietary staple in many areas of the world, but just because they are part of many popular dishes doesn’t mean they are healthy to eat. While eggs are often viewed as a cheap and ready source of protein, consuming eggs often comes at a high cost to animal welfare, the environment, and public health worldwide. There are many good reasons not to eat eggs.
Despite this, people around the world are eating more and more eggs. Global egg production increased by 24% in the 10 years to 2018, with a handful of countries producing the bulk of the world’s egg supply. China, the European Union, the United States, and India produce nearly 60% of the global supply of eggs.
In commercial egg production, most of the time hens are held in highly confined, unnatural, and stressful housing called battery cages. Even chickens who are not as intensively confined produce so many eggs that their bodies are worn out by the time they are about 18 months of age (far from their normal lifespan of up to 20 years). Eating eggs not only comes with health risks, but also puts money into the pockets of large companies that profit from animal suffering.
Are eggs bad for you?
Eggs have long been a source of concern in diets due to their high levels of cholesterol and potential effects on cardiovascular health, and historically dietary guidelines have recommended restricting the number of eggs eaten on a daily basis. A 2019 study found a significant association between higher risk of cardiovascular disease and each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol consumed per day. Recent evidence has also emerged showing that eggs may contribute to higher all-cause and cancer mortality as well.
While nutritional science has not definitively determined the extent to which eating eggs can harm a person’s health, there is a convincing body of evidence that egg consumption increases the risks of dying from certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. Eating eggs on a regular basis even appears to increase a person’s risk of dying from any cause of death.
Why are eggs bad for you?
Eggs contain compounds that are harmful when eaten in excess, like cholesterol and saturated fat. These ingredients have been linked to the development of chronic diseases and increased death risks.
Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy carbon compound that is made in the liver. It performs a variety of functions, including helping the body to make vitamins and hormones necessary for the body to function normally. People must have a certain amount of cholesterol, but their bodies can make enough to provide what’s needed.
Eating more cholesterol than necessary, which is easily done when eggs are part of your diet, may lead to serious health risks. In a 2019 Korean study, any increase in cholesterol levels for individuals who had levels greater than 200 milligrams per decilitre in any age group was associated with higher risk of death. Depending on age, the risk of dying increased by up to 14%.
According to the World Heart Federation, high cholesterol increases the risk of stroke and heart disease and causes more than 4.4 million deaths every year worldwide. A positive association between the consumption of egg yolks and plaque formation in arteries was found by one study a decade ago.
Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that causes life-altering illness and high death rates. Diabetes is responsible for around 4.2 million deaths annually in people 20 to 79 years old, or just over 11% of all deaths worldwide.
Although studies investigating the relationship between type 2 diabetes and egg consumption have shown controversial results, there are many studies linking egg consumption with the risk of developing the disease. In one meta-analysis, diabetes risk increased by up to 39% for people in the US consuming three or more eggs per week, though not for those in non-US studies. A study published in 2021 found that Chinese adults who ate eggs regularly were more likely to develop diabetes, and other studies have found that the more eggs consumed, the higher the risk.
Several studies suggest a positive association between egg consumption, cancer mortality, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Some evidence suggest that egg consumption may increase the risk of those cancers, and worsen the progression of prostate cancer to make death more likely. For women, eating five or more eggs per week was significantly associated with higher breast cancer risk.
Salmonellosis, also called Salmonella, is a bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, fever, headaches, and nausea, and it is one of the pathogens that causes food poisoning. Eggs and eggshells are frequently contaminated with Salmonella bacteria through contact with infected chicken feces, making it an important worldwide public health concern. To make matters worse, hens are held in such stressful, unnatural, and unhealthy conditions on factory farms that they may be immunocompromised and more likely to suffer from bacterial infections.
Salmonella infections from food sources cause over 80 million cases of illness each year globally, and in the United States, over 53% of foodborne Salmonella infections have been traced back to eggs. In Europe, a multi-country outbreak in 2022 due to contaminated eggs resulted in nearly 300 illnesses and two deaths.
Is it healthy to eat eggs every day?
There is no scientific consensus about how many eggs may be “safe” to eat. Some studies have found that eating eggs up to seven times per week is not associated with increased health risk, while other studies show that eating even a few eggs on a weekly basis heightens the chance a person will experience illness or death.
While there’s no definitive answer about the relative risk associated with eating eggs daily, there is certainly evidence to suggest that regular egg consumption leads to significant health risks, particularly if you are already at risk of certain diseases.
Side effects of eating eggs every day
As per the studies cited above, eating eggs every day may place you at risk of elevated cholesterol and life-threatening illnesses like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. For women, it may increase the chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and in men it may make it more likely they will die from prostate cancer.
Is it better to eat only egg whites?
Egg whites don’t contain the same amounts of cholesterol and choline that whole eggs and yolks do, but they still carry the risk of bacterial contamination. And they are the product of an industry that exploits and abuses chickens.
Why should we not eat eggs?
Here are the top nine reasons why everyone should stop eating eggs:
1. Chickens spend their lives in the space of a sheet of A4 paper
Most laying hens are kept in battery cages and spend their entire lives in one crowded space. They have no room to fully spread their wings, walk, or engage in the natural behaviors of a free chicken, such as preening themselves comfortably. In addition to the physical suffering that this imposes on them (due to the lack of movement, chickens are more susceptible to the development of painful bone fractures, for example), scientific studies show that in this system chickens, naturally curious and active beings, experience high levels of frustration.
Foto: We Animals
2. Female chicks are debeaked
Very often, their sensitive beaks are literally cut off by a hot metal plate when they are only a few days old, in a very painful procedure. This is because, due to the some factors, including overcrowding of cages, it is common for chickens to peck at each other , which can result in outbreaks of cannibalism, leading to the unnecessary and painful death of many hens.
3. Male chicks are shredded alive
It sounds like a myth, but it is not. To replace laying hens and keep industry’s profits it is necessary to hatch eggs. Female chicks will later be placed in cages to continue the egg production cycle. Males, who are of no use to the industry, are killed with absolutely terrible techniques, such as being crushed while still alive and conscious, or suffocated in plastic bags.
4. When no longer able to produce eggs, chickens are slaughtered
In the wild, there is evidence that a chickens can live to about 10 years. But in the egg industry, when their bodies are exhausted from laying eggs,, they no longer have the ability to produce a profit, and the hens are slaughtered at about two years old. This means that far from being harmless, egg production is as cruel as meat production .
5. Egg consumption may increase human diseases
As mentioned earlier, several studies have shown egg consumption increased the risk of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular risk factors, cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, type 2 diabetes, risk of cancer mortality, and breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
6. Egg production endangers global public health from salmonella
In 2019, dozens of people became sick in the UK after eating Salmonella-contaminated eggs, and this unfortunately happens more often than you might think. This disease can lead to death, especially in children and the elderly, and is extremely common in poultry rearing.
7. So you get heavy on antibiotics to fight disease
To prevent the spread of disease in highly artificial and industrial systems, where crowds of animals are kept crammed and in poor conditions, some egg producers misuse antibiotics, even when animals are not sick. And here comes another problem: according to the UN Environment Program, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development, and is directly related to the indiscriminate use of drugs, whether for humans or for animal production.
8. Egg production is related to water and soil contamination
Much is said about the environmental impact of red meat, but egg production is also an important factor in water and soil contamination. Scientists at the University of Oviedo, Spain, have analyzed the effects of intensive egg production and concluded that it has a significant impact on water and soil, especially related to waste management and the production of chicken feed.
Whatever form of egg is produced, it has direct impacts on the lives of millions of animals, the environment, and the health and safety of people. We do not need this product, or any animal product, to have a healthy and diverse diet. Consider veganism.