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Warning: Eggs Can Kill

nutrition Mar 23, 2019

The other day we were traveling to speak to a group of executives.

While grabbing breakfast, we were waiting to get some eggs, smoked salmon and some bacon.

We were in line behind someone and it seemed to be taking longer than it should. But we were talking and weren't rushed so it wasn't a concern.

As he got to the bottom of the bacon holding tray he turned around and said, "sorry about that, but I really enjoy bacon but they're bringing more" as I noticed the entire side of his to go container (imagine the biggest of the 3 sections) was completely overflowing with bacon. 

To estimate it was easily 1 pound on the side of his scrambled eggs. 

Wait?!  EGGS?!

But the headlines are out. Eating eggs causes heart disease. Yup, there it is again. While we wouldn't recommend adding raw eggs to a glass and drinking them like Rocky did in his first movie, eating eggs shouldn't quite cause the concerns it does. In fact, no food has probably caused more concern than eggs themselves.

Not even carbs or fat (in the early 90's). 

Whole eggs have been "good" they've been "bad" and swim swapped in that manner for decades.  And just when we thought the story was over, it turns out a new one emerges suggesting eating eggs can cause heart disease. This paper was published just the other day in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Now, let's first clear up how this research was done.

They didn't feed participants whole eggs and then determine that doing so caused heart disease.

Not at all.

They actually pooled a lot of other data from research studies, measured how many people had heart disease and then tried to determine the correlation between eggs and this outcome.

What they found was over 17 years ... if you’re 51 years young on average ... you had about 17% higher risk of heart disease for every 300mg of cholesterol you eat. 

That does not mean eating eggs raises your risk of heart disease by 17%.

Sit tight.

So what's the concern with eggs?

Well, one whole egg has about that much cholesterol, so the immediate leap is don't eat eggs and you save nearly 300 mg of cholesterol.  

But it is that straight forward of a connection?

The question and this goes for any study on diet is what else were the people eating (and who can truly know when asking for estimates of what was eaten over years and years?).    

We tell people all the time that individual foods don't "cause" disease. 

It's important instead to consider the frequency of intake and what company do they keep?

Again - is the plate of eggs covered in a pound of bacon like the bacon lover we saw the other day or is it sharing the plate with a pile of berries? 

That makes a big difference.

Consider your overall intake without getting caught up in this ingredient or that food.

A blue cheese burger with cheese, bacon, mayo on a thick, doughy bun with a side of cheese fries is very different from a smaller portion of lean red meat with a side of veggies and rice, for example.

Same goes with eggs or any food.  

Eat the eggs. Enjoy the whole eggs. Pair them with some quality veggies and fruit and you've got yourself a winner.