Does Cooking Eggs Oxidize the Cholesterol?

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist

Eggs seem to be one of those foods that many folks are perpetually confused about – for a variety of reasons.

On the one hand, you have the egg white omelet eating folks who believe that egg yolks should be avoided as they are loaded with cholesterol and fat.

Earth to fat phobes:  A thorough review of the world’s scientific literature published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine in 2009 concluded that eggs do not in any way, shape or form contribute to heart attacks!

Eat those whole eggs and enjoy my friends.  Egg Beaters is truly Food for Fools!

Does Cooking Egg Yolks Damage Them?

What about folks that love their fat and cholesterol and realize that these nutrients in their natural state are critical to health, but have somehow bought into the notion that breaking the integrity of the egg yolk as would happen during cooking, baking, or scrambling oxidizes the cholesterol which is the form of this nutrient that is health damaging?

This is also a myth and causes folks to avoid eggs in dishes that would be perfectly healthy to include them.  Having a fear of scrambling or whipping eggs into baked goods is a shame as eating lots of eggs in as many ways as possible is a good dietary practice given that eggs are one of the highest sources of of sulphur and deficiency of this critical macronutrient is increasingly common.

What actually does cause the cholesterol in foods like egg yolks to oxidize?

It’s not simple cooking, baking or scrambling like what happens in our humble kitchens!

Rather, it is the spray drying of foods that occurs when they are forced through tiny holes at obscenely high temperatures and pressures in factories to powderize them for use in a variety of processed foods that is the problem.

This process called extrusion is completely denaturing to the cholesterol in foods – not just eggs.   It also negatively alters the fragile proteins that are present which is why extrusion is so damaging to cereal grains and why boxed cereals even if organic are highly toxic, allergenic foods.

How to Best Eat Your Eggs

The bottom line is just eat your eggs!

Eat them however you enjoy them be it sunny side up, over easy, or scrambled.   Egg yolks do not need to be consumed raw and intact to be healthy although eating them this way is fine too!

One caveat on consuming raw eggs.  While the egg yolk is fine to consume raw, the egg white is best cooked.   According to Chris Masterjohn, an expert on the subject who blogs at Cholesterol and Health, raw egg whites have the following problems:

 “They contain inhibitors of the digestive enzyme trypsin, which are destroyed by heat. Consuming 100 grams of raw egg white with one egg yolk compared to consuming the same food cooked was shown in one studyto reduce protein digestion from 90 percent down to 50 percent.

Raw egg whites also contain an anti-nutrient called avidin. Avidin is a glycoprotein that binds to the B vitamin biotin, preventing its absorption. Biotin is necessary for fatty acid synthesis and the maintenance of blood sugar, and is especially important during pregnancy when biotin status declines.”

The next time a bizarre, modern notion like eating a simple bowl of scrambled eggs is dangerous comes along, just think about what your Great Grandparents ate.   If they scrambled their eggs, chances are good that you can safely eat them too!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


Sources and More Information

Cardiologist Speaks Out Against Low Cholesterol

The High Risks of Low Cholesterol

Cholesterol Myths to Wise Up About

The 9 Irrefutable Benefits of Cholesterol in the Diet

Picture Credit


Comments (40)

  1. I completely understand how extrusion would render eggs toxic. But where is the actual evidence in this article that it’s a myth that scrambled eggs are toxic? All I see is one person SAYING that it’s a myth, but no studies to prove the science behind it. Mercola always references his articles, so I would actually be more likely to believe his info–though I really do love my scrambled eggs! :)

  2. Take a close look at table salt,it has sand in it ,scratches the inside of blood veins the bad cholesterol gets built up and ,you know what happens next…..Jim. Sea salt works!

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  5. **correction for my last comment**

    although this is probably obvious my last sentence should have read “It doesn’t help”. No ability to edit your message? Looks like someone needs to update their forums.

  6. Sarah’s quote: “The next time a bizarre, modern notion like eating a simple bowl of scrambled eggs is dangerous comes along, just think about what your Great Grandparents ate. If they scrambled their eggs, chances are good that you can safely eat them too!”

    It kills me when somebody uses science to argue their point all the way through an entire article and then sprinkles a bit of folklore on the end just to cinch the deal.

    it reminds of watching peoples court, and being able to clearly see that whose favor the judge is going to decide with but the winner stills feel the need to open their mouth.

    Our grandparents had much less knowledge than we do today. They did what they thought was right because most people ate what tasted good in the old days. Now we eat what we “think” is healthy. I imagine in the old days people smoked, and drank, and slept around without much thought. Please don’t try and make your argument for eating scrambled eggs more credible by telling me my grandparents did it. it does help. :)

  7. My family of three devours 4-5 dozen eggs a week. I believe an egg to be a perfect little package of nutrients and a perfect start to our day. We even sneak them in for dinner sometimes :)

    Thank you Sarah for another very helpful post.

  8. 7 Reasons You Should Eat Eggs for ( see it for yourself it’s amazing)

    1- Egg keep you feeling full much longer than cereal or toast.
    2-Eggs assist weight loss
    3-Eggs are a great source of protein.
    4-Eggs tend to be relatively inexpensive.
    5-Eggs aren’t going to make your cholesterol worse.
    6-Eggs help with brain development and memory.
    7-Eggs protect your eyesight.

  9. Sarah,
    Would you mind to briefly list all of the wonderful nutrients found in fresh, organic pastured eggs? I’m trying to convince my friend to jump on the egg wagon with me, but all I can think of off the top of my head are the omega 3’s. I see you mentioned sulphur, that’s a perfect example of something that I had no idea was beneficial in these type of eggs.
    Btw, I ate about 4 of these eggs every day of my pregnancy-baby Jesse is healthy, beautiful and smart!

    • you can try searching Chris Masterjohn who wrote an article on the incredible egg yolk.
      one thing is choline (I think!)


  10. Sarah, what about the egg white issue in meringue cookies? Technically they are dried in a warm oven and not baked. Is that “cooked” enough? Also what about your blog post “the right way to feed babies” recommending a soft boiled yolk for babies? Thanks a million!

  11. I have an egg white with an extra egg yoke in most of my homemade dressings and my homemade mayo, because it helps with emulsifying the dressing/mayo. That is the only way I eat raw egg whites. Do you think that there is a problem with eating raw egg whites on occasion?

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  13. I like eggs any which way, but my favorite these days is soft boiled. I add them to lightly salted boiling water (the salt apparently helps with peeling) and boil for 3-4 minutes. This way, the white is cooked and the yolk stays runny, or at least soft, depending on how long you cook it. I then pour in cold water to stop the cooking. I crack the shell on the counter all around, rub it between my palms to loosen and crack evenly, and peel. The age of the egg effects how easy it is to peel if the eggs are farm fresh. Even so, I love this method! Great with avocado, Red Boat Fermented Fish Sauce and cilantro!

  14. Eva Menke Nolan via Facebook May 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Read this and thought about all the dried egg in so many products, even food storage itmes. Eek

  15. I was just going to ask if powdered eggs are okay as a food storage item. Looks like you already answered my question though. So I won’t look for those at the store. Maybe I’ll just invest in some chickens so that I always have eggs. I think eating eggs again is my favorite thing since I started this diet. Before I was anti-egg, but now I find the best ones I can and its great how many opportunities to get good eggs I’ve found. Love ‘em! I’ve been perfecting my egg cooking techniques of late. I’ve figured out how to get the least amount of scrambled egg stuck on the stainless steel pan I cook them on. Score! I got rid of my nonstick pans long ago- no toxic teflon in our bodies!

    • Tricia, what’s your trick to keep them from sticking to stainless steel pans? I’m trying to make the break from non-stick, but I hate feeling like I’m wasting the yummy eggs sticking to the pan. I’ve tried lots of butter, coconut oil, bacon grease — still sticking. What’s your secret?

      • Stainless steel for me always has some sticking. my favorite egg skillet is a small cast iron about 4 inches across. I try to keep it well seasoned, which you may have to learn. Trick is first to season it well (see internet) and, second (the real key) wash it with spatula and hot water only – no soap

  16. In the last month or two I’ve started added an extra egg to whatever I’m making…cakes, muffins, pancakes… So far great results. When I make lunch for my husband and kids, I often pack hard boiled eggs. Husband likes the whites (yuck) and my 14mo old loves the yolks. I’m still trying to get my 7yo to like eggs more…touch and go for him.

  17. Yes, real eggs are one of the most beneficial foods we can eat, and most of the benefit is in the yolk. I am stunned by the number of people who only eat “egg beaters”, which include no yolk.
    I remember, when I was a child, watching the three stooges as they would break eggs, throw out the egg itself, and put the shells in the frying pan. I would have never dreamed that people deluded by marketing and bad information would avoid the best part of the egg, the yolk.

    Thank you for the great nutritional info, once again!

  18. Has anyone noticed the difference in texture between pastured eggs and battery farmed eggs? I love my omelettes, cooked in pastured ghee. The pastured eggs are soft when cooked this way. Once, I ran out of pastured eggs and bought some eggs from the supermarket which were supposedly high in Omega 3. I cooked them the same way, but they turned out so much firmer than my pastured eggs.

    • Yes, I had noticed this too! Even from eggs that were “pastured” and organic. They just seemed rubbery, and didn’t taste nearly as good.

  19. Dawn Cook McKinney via Facebook May 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Oh! With the headline the way it was, I thought it was going to be an article about the different kinds of eggs (turkey, chicken, duck, goose, quail, etc.) lol… I have had all of these except the quail eggs… they are wonderful.. my fave being goose eggs.

  20. I’ve found the best scrambled eggs come about when you scramble the eggs well, slowly sauté onions first, use LOTS of real butter, and slowly cook the eggs. Never had such good eggs. They’re also a good way to get herbs in your diet: parsley, cilantro, etc.–whatever the farmers’ market has that week.

    • ….friends taught me some great ideas for getting the coconut oil and butter I need, along with the green veggies… I saute onion, squash, and a varied mixture of greens (swiss chard, kale, spinach—these need to be slightly cooked to not be a goitrogen to me) then add eggs and scramble….finish by adding turmeric and himalayan salt.

  21. Thank you so much for this post! I was actually just talking about this with my husband because I had read an article by Dr. Mercola that was stating scrambling eggs are one of the worst ways to cook them. I was very confused, so thank you! It also makes me feel better since I make scrambled pastured eggs for my 13 month old.

    • Thanks, Loriel for your comments. I was just thinking about Dr. Mercola and his talk about eggs being oxidized etc which got me really annoyed because eating eggs should be a simple thing to do.
      Sarah, big big hugs to you for CLEARING up the air on how to eat eggs. God bless.

  22. Michelle Saunders via Facebook May 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

    #The next time a bizarre, modern notion like eating a simple bowl of scrambled eggs is dangerous comes along, just think about what your Great Grandparents ate. If they scrambled their eggs, chances are good that you can safely eat them too!# -well put Sarah!

    • So anything my grandparents did I am supposed to assume was healthy? Is that the logic were using here? *sigh*. What if my grandparents died at a really early age from cancer…do I really wanna do the exact same things they did?

      We live in the information age people. We know a lot more than our grandparents did. Please put on your thinking caps for a few moments. You don’t decide if something is healthy or unhealthy because your grand parents did it.

    • Octavian @ Full Fat Nutrition May 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      I think cooking eggs at high temperatures will oxidize the cholesterol, vs over-cooking. I prefer to cook my eggs in the oven, at 350, over a bed of bacon for 10-15 minutes.


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