The media titling of a recent Canadian study suggests that “eggs are as bad for your arteries as smoking” – the media do like to scramble everything they get their quills on if they believe they have something to crow about, I admit the article ruffled my feathers a bit! Unfortunately for those who don’t actually have the time to go further and search out the write-up of the actual study, they ultimately will end up with the opinion that eggs are rotten! In fact, not at all – eggs are really good for your health but first let’s take a look at the study…
The original title of the study before the media got their pretty little claws on it was “Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque” – so eggs yolks specifically! The study was done in conjunction with the analysis of artery damage due to smoking as a means of comparison. The age group of the patients under study was on average 61.5 years – not really representative of a whole population, the patients were already in treatment for atherosclerosis. There is no information given on the lifestyle, smoking and/or eating habits of each patient. Quote from the study “The study weakness includes its observational nature, the lack of data on exercise, waist circumference and dietary intake of saturated fat and sources of cholesterol other than eggs, and the dependence on self-reporting of egg consumption and smoking history.” The study concludes “Our findings suggest that regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease. This hypothesis should be tested in a prospective study with more detailed information about diet, and other possible confounders such as exercise and waist circumference.”
Ooops, sounds to me like the study’s findings are a bit cock-eyed! We don’t know anything about the patients’ lifestyle habits, we have no information on what was eaten with the egg yolks, we don’t know if the egg whites were consumed at the same time, it is not clear if the people under study were smokers but the tone of the study leads to believe that they were, there is no information on alcohol or sugar consumption. The study concludes that people at risk of cardiovascular disease should avoid egg yolks! The grammatical use of the conditional “should” in this case is interesting!
The media have certainly, in my opinion, singed their feathers on this one. They have clearly taken a study that was done on a specific group of people with a specific health problem and have attempted to fry the egg without any justification. What it boils down to is the use of sensational headlines in order to sell newspapers and the possibility of financial support from certain large companies who would like us to believe that the problem is “fat” related and not “glucose” related. The media has egg on its face and it is time to eat crow!
One of the media articles concludes saying “egg whites continue to be excellent!”
I have to say though that what shocks me the most in all of this is that these so-called scientists are simply repeating information that came to light thirty or so years ago. There is no new evidence to support their findings. It is important to say that when they first studied cholesterol way back when, they were unaware at the time of the fact that there exists two types of cholesterol – one that is bad (LDL) and one that is good (HDL). The initial studies on the egg all those years ago showed that it contains a phenomenal amount of cholesterol – thus the previous scientists are forgiveable as they didn’t have all the information to hand. The Canadian scientists today…. one wonders which came first, the scientist or the evidence to support their studies?
Here are a few simple egg facts that I would like to share with you :
Yes, eggs contain a high amount of cholesterol – both LDL (the bad) and HDL (the good). The LDL cholesterol is mostly contained in the egg yolk, the HDL in the white. The consumption of the yolk and the white thus balances out the overall cholesterol levels as there is, magically as nature knows how to do things, an equal amount of each type of cholesterol in each part of the egg. Phew!
There is however a difference, that has to be taken into account, with regards to the type of eggs. Battery-hen laid eggs have higher amounts of LDL cholesterol and are practically devoid of any nutritional value. Wild-hen laid eggs are a perfect source of nourishment.
The egg always has been, and remains to be, a valuable source of vitamins, minerals and protein – in fact it is a little health cocktail in it’s beautifully shaped shell containing high amounts of the major nutriments that our bodies require and here’s the hitch! The most part of these vitamins, minerals and oligo-elements are found in which part of the egg? Yes, the yolk!
In an egg is found vitamin A, almost all of the vitamin B group, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium. It is jam-packed with iron and is a rare food-source of vitamin D. The protein content is similar to that of meat and is more easily assimilated by the human body.
Eggs are also rich in omegas 3 and 6, necessary in the prevention of cardiovascular risks, oddly enough these omegas are contained in the yolk! Eating an egg without the yolk, just eating the white, has about the same nutritional value as eating cotton wool or baby-chick fluff.
The egg is classed in the group of superfoods that absolutely should be included in our diets.
However, important to note. We must pay attention to the quality of the eggs. Yes, I know that organic, wild-hen, free-range eggs are more expensive but let’s face it, what we are looking for in food is the nutritional value. My philosophy is to buy better quality of which you don’t have to eat perhaps quite so much – let’s not forget that food is our first medicine.
It is also important to pay attention to the cooking methods. You will have noticed that overcooking an egg produces a greyish/green tinge around the yolk. This is due to the oxydation of the iron contained in the egg. The yolk requires a higher temperature than the white to solidify – a boiled egg with a runny yolk is then (supposedly!) easy to accomplish. Also, cooking over a certain temperature can saturate the polyunsaturated fats contained in the egg along with the destruction of the liposoluble vitamins – so be careful with the cooking method and the temperature.
Also, eating starchy foods with eggs will generate the stockage of the fats found in the egg which is not so good for the waistline and if you’re still worried about the cholesterol levels, try omelettes with mushrooms/salmon/tuna – all delicious and all have a very good reputation of reducing LDL cholesterol levels. Accompany the lot with a delicious salad, chuck in some tomatoes for the colour and a little avocado, sprinkled with some nice vinaigrette made with olive-rapeseed-nut oil and you finish up with a fully balanced meal from a nutritional point of view and I can assure you, you won’t feel hungry for quite a few hours.
I think I may just have that for lunch 🙂
To crack open the truth once and for all. It is not the consumption of foods containing cholesterol that is the problem. Studies, serious studies done by independant non-government financed scientists, have shown that by reducing the glycemic load (sugar and starch) to an absolute minimum reduces the levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and an increase in HDL cholesterol is notable. The HDL cholesterol is good for our arteries and thus plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Here’s how to know if you have eaten “too many” eggs – you won’t feel the desire for them… How easy is that?!
PS All egg/hen related humour is completely and eggsactly intentional 🙂
Namaste and Here’s to Your Very Good Health ♥