FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Eggs, Cholesterol, Bad Science?

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3 egg yolks

3 egg yolks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Egg Yolks Linked to Heart Disease” – dominated the health headlines in the newspapers this past week.  The headlines referred to a Canadian study and  a journal article  entitled “Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque”.  Just as eggs began to be accepted back into the healthy diet, here comes the negative news again that has plagued the egg industry for decades  about their high cholesterol content.

From Harvard School of Public Health:

For most people, the amount of cholesterol eaten has only a modest impact on the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. (37) For some people, though, blood cholesterol levels rise and fall very strongly in relation to the amount of cholesterol eaten. For these “responders,” avoiding cholesterol-rich foods can have a substantial effect on blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, at this point there is no way other than by trial and error to identify responders from non-responders to dietary cholesterol.

The headlines are deceiving if you dissect the research that led the authors to conclude: “Our findings suggest that regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk for cardiovascular disease”.

One interesting aspect of this study is found in  the Conflict of Interest section which infers some association with the big drug companies that produce statins. Just saying.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None of the authors receives funding from purveyors of margarine or eggs. Dr Spence and Dr Davignon have received honoraria and speaker’s fees from several pharmaceutical companies manufacturing lipid-lowering drugs, and Dr Davignon has received support from Pfizer Canada for an annual atherosclerosis symposium; his research has been funded in part by Pfizer Canada, AstraZeneca Canada Inc and Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.

To read an excellent critique of this study ,  CLICK HERE.

Bottom Line:  We do not know who the “cholesterol responders” are, so moderation is the key as usual. The Daily Values on food labels  continue to  recommend keeping your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg. per day. A large egg has about 185 milligrams of cholesterol, down from 215 milligrams, according to new research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.    But the egg yolk is where we find the vitamins and minerals.  Egg whites are fine, but primarily provide protein.  Remember, plant foods have no cholesterol.

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