If you are anything like me, you are constantly on the look out for up-to-date nutrition news, information and research regarding natural, whole foods. I recently came across an article (and no doubt you might have, too) titled, “Egg yolks almost as bad as smoking“. Of course I was flabbergasted, as well as highly, highly suspicious. It turns out that my suspicion was validated after reading the full text of the article, as well as the study.
Correlation = Causation? NO WAY
The trouble with many studies making their way into the news headlines and into reader’s minds is that they are almost always associated with correlations, and not exact causations. This tends to make the average public very confused as to just what they can eat.
For years we heard that eggs are bad for us, and then they’re good for us, and now they’re back to being bad for us. But careful direction of the new articles show that eggs are not exactly the culprit behind the negative health effects experienced in the “study”.
This new egg study, which compared egg yolks to cigarette smoking, questioned a number of older individuals on the dietary pattern. Those that ate the most eggs were associated with higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
What is highly known about nutrition questionnaires is that they are highly, highly inaccurate. Also, these questionnaires do not show how the eggs were prepared. Were they cooked in oxidized vegetable oils, or worse, trans-fats? Were they consumed alongside white toast with margin, high sugar jams/jellies? Processed meats? These are questions that were NOT asked of the participants.
It is high likely that those who eat the most eggs also eat a standard American diet (SAD), which includes a high proportion of calories from processed carbohydrates and fats. Also, it is highly likely that those who avoid eggs (even though they are a health food) also do other things to keep healthy, such as a eat a healthy diet, exercise and reduce stress.
Two other BIG aspects of health that were not taken into account were the participants’ waist size and exercise habits. Are you kidding? This is clearly poorly done research, and should not have seen the light of day. It is well known that those with a larger waist size, and not necessarily the largest weight (in pounds) are at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. This also goes true for those that do not exercise.
As you see, when you look at these proposed correlations, the the correlation between egg yolks and ill health start to melt quickly.
Eggs are high in biotin, for health skin, hair and nails, as well as vitamin A. Nature isn’t stupid, and it would not offer a whole food knowing that inside was something unhealthy or toxic. The whole food, not just the egg white, should be consumed together in order to receive the full benefits of the whole food.
Conflict of Interest
I’ve learned a long time ago that when suspicious sounding “studies” come out, there is a high chance that there is a conflict of interest. It just so happens that two of the authors of this research have been paid speaker fees for conventions related to cholesterol lowering drugs. One of the author is actually a long-practicing vegan, which presents some bias for the study’s outcome and publication.
Wouldn’t it make sense that these authors should keep the “cholesterol causes heart disease” myth alive? I think so. I also believe that the tile of this research was too good for news outlets to resist, making it top nutrition news for a couple of days. Since then, thankfully, many well known doctors and nutrition scientists have come to the forefront to counteract this bad science.
Don’t Give Up Eggs
If you aren’t vegetarian or vegan, there is no reason why you should give up natural, whole eggs. A one ingredient food is much better for you than a prescription drug, so stick to those whole foods. Simple foods equal extraordinary health, in my opinion. Complicated, man-made foods and products can only lead to deterioration.
Try to seek out local, free-range eggs if you can, as they contain higher nutrient values, including higher omega-3 fatty acids. You will also notice that free-range eggs have a deep, dark golden yolk, compared to store-bought, grain-fed eggs.
If you are wanting to read more about eggs, and why they are actually important for your health, check out the links below:
This is The Healthy Advocate.