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Health Myth or Fact: Do Eggs Foster Bacteria in the Gut?

Eggs, specifically egg yolks, definitely get a bad rap in the health world.

But do they deserve it? Let's dive into the facts.

The Simple Answer: Yes, eggs foster bacteria.

All food and everything we eat has an impact on the bacteria in our gut and thus fosters bacterial growth. This impact is not necessarily negative; in fact, it is quite the opposite.

A clear carton of brown eggs with funny faces painted on them

Our gut bacteria, collectively known as the microbiome, play a vital role in maintaining our gut and overall health. Without them, our bodies would struggle to perform essential functions from digestion, metabolism, immunity, mood, and brain function.

So the question is less about whether eggs foster bacteria but rather what does the bacteria do with them. When our bacteria metabolizes the food we eat, they transform it into chemicals we call metabolites that are responsible for all the benefits we see from our microbiome. They can also be responsible for the negative impacts of an unhealthy microbiome.

This distinction is where the myth about eggs comes into play.

The complex answer: Is it bad to foster those bacteria?

Certain gut bacteria metabolize eggs, especially the yolk, and produce a compound called TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide). TMAO is also produced in response to certain other foods, including meat and full-fat dairy.

painting of a close up of bacteria and microorganisms

Researchers have discovered a correlation between elevated or high TMAO levels and an increased risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease.

How we interpret this information explains a lot about how this myth developed.

Some might read this and conclude that eggs, meat, and dairy cause cancer and heart disease. That is not true at all.

There are many benefits that come from eating eggs and other animal products notably protein and choline which are crucial for brain function.

Instead think about it as too much of a good thing.

This means that if your diet is really high in animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy, it may increase your risk of developing some cancers and cardiovascular disease. This is a pretty well established fact in our nutrition research.

As always, it's plants for the win.

So we know lots of meat is not great for our health. And we also know in contrast that vegetables and fruit are pretty good for us.

Diets rich in vegetables and fruits (typically comprising 7-9 servings per day) have been shown to lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

A bowl filled with different coloured vegetables and herbs and other vegetables surrounding the bowl

This is partially due to the fact that our gut microbes produce beneficial metabolites in response to the consumption of plant-based foods. These metabolites contribute to gut microbial diversity, which is a key feature of a healthy and happy gut.

So, what should we do about eggs?

A sunny side up egg on top of a bowl of salad

Like most things, the answer lies in moderation and balance.

As mentioned, eggs are an excellent source of protein and choline so it is perfectly acceptable and healthy to include eggs in your diet. Just don't overdo it.

And don't forget, it's important to complement your egg intake with lots of vegetables and fruits. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of eggs while also nurturing a diverse and thriving gut microbiome.

Join the Discussion: Did this mythbuster crack some eggs-citing knowledge for you? (I know I couldn't help myself) Let me know by dropping a 🥚 in the comments below! And as always let me know what you think and if you have questions

Share Your Myths: Have a myth you'd like me to tackle in our next blog post? Drop it in the comments. I love hearing from you!

Remember, health is all about nourishing our bodies, embracing balance, and enjoying the journey to a healthier, happier you.


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