Dietary excesses of any kind are never healthy, whether they are infrequent or continual. When it comes to eggs, side effects are most likely to occur over time, as an increased intake provides constant amounts of excess fats which are the main culprit for the adverse effects of eating too many eggs. The type of eggs you eat everyday is also a deciding factor in determining future side effects, since some egg varieties have a significantly higher energetic value as well as contain more fats than others. Lastly, your health status, more specifically any existing medical conditions, will dictate how much of which side effects you will experience from eating too many eggs.
So what happens if you eat too many eggs? The following represent some of the most common side effects of overeating eggs:
1) Weight gain. In general, eggs are a moderate source of calories, but some varieties like duck and goose eggs which have a higher fat content, also have a higher energetic value. Given an excessive intake or an intake that is simply beyond your individual nutritional requirements, weight gain is a possible side effect if you overeat eggs, irrespective of variety (see eggs varieties). On average, one chicken egg (50 g) has 72 kcal and 4.75 g of fat. One duck egg (70 g) has 130 kcal and 9.64 g of fat. One goose egg (144 g) has 266 kcal and 19.11 g of fat. One quail egg (9 g) has 14 kcal and 1 g of fat. One turkey egg (79 g) has 135 kcal and 9.39 g of fat.
2) High cholesterol. The issue of dietary cholesterol and its effects on blood cholesterol is quite complex. As more recent studies show, dietary cholesterol does not directly and immediately raise blood cholesterol levels because the body regulates its own production of cholesterol to maintain a certain balance. Not to mention that not all dietary cholesterol is actually absorbed, either as a result of fiber intake or other mechanisms. So technically, if you are an overall healthy individual without chronic diseases and with a normal weight, then eating slightly more eggs that is normally recommended will not raise your blood cholesterol levels. At least not because of the cholesterol in the eggs.
At the same time, eating too many eggs can cause weight gain in anyone, as a result of the high content of fats rich in calories (cholesterol actually doesn’t have calories) and the fact that we get fats from other dietary sources too which add up as well. This in turn can lead to unhealthy blood cholesterol levels over time and cardiovascular problems. So it’s not really the cholesterol in eggs that raises blood cholesterol, but the fats and calories through weight gain. For those that are already overweight or obese, too many eggs will only serve to accentuate existing health issues, particularly cholesterol levels.
3) Bad for diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by continual states of high blood sugar levels. One of the main requirements for managing diabetes is losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight to keep symptoms of the disease under control. And since a lot of type 2 diabetes sufferers are overweight or obese, eating too many eggs is not recommended because of their high fat content which promotes weight gain. Some doctors even recommend diabetic people avoid eggs altogether because of their fat content. At the same time, it’s important to remember that one food does not account for your health as a whole. When it comes to diabetes, chances are there are multiple unfortunate dietary choices aside from eggs that may lead to weight gain and complications.
With this in mind, if you are looking to improve your diet and maintain a healthy weight, it could help to look at all your dietary choices and exclude the really unhealthy ones. This could actually allow you to enjoy some eggs from time to time because they do contain protein rich in all essential amino acids, fats and B vitamins, especially vitamins B12 and B9 as well as iron and help feed the brain, muscles and prevent anemia. Not to mention they are satiating and can actually contribute to weight loss when eaten in moderate amounts, as part of an overall healthy, varied diet. You can always just eat the egg whites which are rich in protein, but have almost no fat. Talk to your doctor more about the right diabetes dietary plan for you.
4) Inflammation. Probably the biggest concern raised by eating too many eggs is the fact that they provide excessive amounts of fat that causes weight gain which raises inflammation levels in the body. Indeed, a balance is needed so as to eat moderately overall as well as sufficient, but not excessive amounts of animal foods in particular, eggs included. This balance is individual and each person has their own nutritional requirements to meet, so it’s up to each of us to determine how many eggs we should eat per day or per week.
5) Bad body odor. One of the greatest side effects of eating too many eggs is bad body odor. Most people who overeat eggs experience bad smelling gas, with a sulfur-like odor or reminiscent of rotten eggs. The reason why people get smelly gas after eating too many eggs is because eggs are naturally high in odorous sulfur compounds responsible for such smells. Some people suffer from Trimethylaminuria or fish odor syndrome, a condition in which the body cannot break down trimethylamine (which is synthesized from the choline in eggs). Trimethylamine then builds up in the body and causes general body odor in the form of ammonia like or fish odor. Learn more about what foods to eat and to avoid for body odor.
6) Nausea and vomiting. Eating too many eggs causes nausea and vomiting because of the high amounts of fats in the yolk. Fats are generally harder to digest and meals rich in this macronutrient may produce mild indigestion with stomach upset. For some people, it may take up to a few hours for the nausea to stop, while others may be left with a sensitive stomach for a couple of days after eating too many eggs.
7) Bad for the kidneys. Eating too many eggs can be bad for you if you suffer from kidney disease because of the high amounts of protein the eggs. Kidney damage can sometimes make it more difficult for the kidneys to properly dispose of protein metabolites, potentially increasing the risk for side effects and complications. However, healthy people with no history of kidney disease appear to not be affected by a higher intake of protein.
How many eggs is too many? How many eggs you should eat per day or per week is sometimes difficult to determine. Individual nutritional requirements and existing health issues that may restrict your intake of calories, fats and fatty foods (example: diabetes), sulfur compounds and choline (example: fish odor syndrome) or other elements are to be taken into account. Then intake must be adapted to provide balance to your diet for overall good nutrition. For some people, that may mean 2 eggs a week, while others it may mean 2 eggs a day. And both are fine as long as they meet your individual nutritional requirements without producing side effects. Read more about how many eggs you should eat per week.
It’s important to understand that reactions to food are difficult to predict, not to mention that not everyone will experience the same side effects or benefits as everybody else. You can eat 3 eggs a week and feel heavy or sick to the stomach because they are just too many for you, or you could eat 2 or 4 eggs a day for decades and feel great. How you cook eggs is also important as butter, lard or vegetable oils used for frying bring additional fats and calories to your diet, while accompanying foods like bacon can further add to the side effects. Given a moderate intake, suited to your individual nutritional requirements, these side effects of eggs are unlikely to occur. And if you do experience adverse reactions such as weight gain or high cholesterol, but don’t eat eggs every day, too many at once or too frequently, then it is possible the adverse reactions are caused by other foods in your diet or your diet as a whole.