Eggs and Arterial Function

Image Credit: Pietro Bellini / Flickr. This image has been modified.

What Do Eggs Do To Our Arteries?

In reaction to the study that found a similar exponential increase in artery clogging plaque in both smokers and egg eaters, one critic countered that eggs have beneficial effects on vascular endothelium, the inner lining of our arteries, citing a 2005 study on egg consumption and endothelial function, funded by the American Egg Board (highlighted in my video, Eggs and Arterial Function).

The study was done on a group of men and women eating the standard American diet, were overweight, had “normal” cholesterol, (which is to say extremely high cholesterol–LDL levels twice as high as could be considered optimal). As the authors of a paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology note, it’s often not appreciated “that the average blood cholesterol level in the United States, the so-called normal level, was actually too high,” accelerating heart disease and “putting a large fraction of the so-called normal population at a higher risk” for coronary heart disease, our number one killer.

If we threw a lit match into a flaming pool of gasoline and saw no real difference in the height of the flames, we can’t conclude that throwing lit matches into gasoline is not a fire hazard. But that is exactly what the Egg Board study concluded. When the addition of eggs didn’t make the arterial function worse than it already was, they concluded that “short-term egg consumption does not adversely affect endothelial function in healthy adults.”

The egg board paid for a follow-up study using folks who were even worse off, with a mean total cholesterol of 244. They reported that egg consumption had no effect on endothelial function… as compared to sausage and cheese. Yet instead of sounding the alarm that eating eggs is as bad for arterial function as a McDonald’s Sausage McMuffin (!), the researchers concluded that egg consumption was found to be non-detrimental to endothelial function and cholesterol levels. The subjects started out with life-threatening cholesterol, and ended up with life-threatening cholesterol.

Why don’t endothelial function and cholesterol levels get even worse? Because there’s a plateau effect. We can basically max out on our cholesterol absorption. After a certain level of intake, it’s just another match to the fire. If we’re already consuming the standard American diet averaging 400mg of cholesterol daily, even adding two jumbo eggs to our diet may not have a sizeable impact. But to people trying to eat healthy, those two eggs could shoot their cholesterol up 20 points.

However, a fat-free, cholesterol-free egg substitute was found to be beneficial. That is, not eating eggs lowers cholesterol levels and improves endothelial function—and that’s what these people needed. Their arteries were already hurting, they needed something to bring the fire down, not more matches. The subjects were apparently eating so unhealthily that adding eggs couldn’t make things much worse, but eating oatmeal instead of eggs made things better, helping to quench the fire. So even the Egg Board-funded studies said that not eating eggs is better for our arteries, yet these are the same studies that pro-egg folks cite to claim beneficial vascular effects.

More on the reaction to the Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis study in my video, Debunking Egg Industry Myths, as well as further discussion of the effects of the cholesterol in eggs on the cholesterol levels in the blood of egg consumers. More on that in:

I previously featured a food that actually does benefit vascular function. See Walnuts and Artery Function. Though the nut industry did try a similar tactic, see my video Nuts and Bolts of Cholesterol Lowering. The beef, soda, and dairy industries may also be guilty of experimental manipulation. See BOLD Indeed: Beef Lowers Cholesterol and Food Industry “Funding Effect”.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

61 responses to “What Do Eggs Do To Our Arteries?

Comment Etiquette

On, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. So – ANY study that’s supported by the egg industry is AUTOMATICALLY not to be believed?

    SO – this study is by that definition not valid?

    Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial
    David L. Katz*, Marian A. Evans, Haq Nawaz, Valentine Yanchou Njike, Wendy Chan, Beth Patton Comerford, Martha L. Hoxley
    Yale Prevention Research Center, 130 Division Street, Derby, CT 06418, USA
    Received 14 August 2003; accepted 16 November 2003
    Available online 19 July 2004

    In conclusion, short-term, sustained ingestion of two eggs daily did not adversely affect endothelial function or cholesterol levels in healthy adults. Our findings are consistent with the view that dietary cholesterol may be less detrimental to cardiovascular health than previously thought. Investigation of the differences between saturated (and trans) fat and dietary cholesterol effects on diverse measures of cardiac risk is warranted, as is further study of the health effects of habitual egg ingestion in diverse
    populations. In the interim, there appears to be no clear reason to exclude moderate intake of eggs from the dietary patterns of healthy adults.
    Cholesterol, Unscrambled
    David Katz, M.D.

    Yale Prevention Research Center

    While studies suggest adding cholesterol to vegan diets raises blood cholesterol, there are no studies — to my knowledge — to show that doing so, in the absence of other changes to the diet — raises rates of heart disease or other ills. That’s really what matters.

    As for whether adding eggs to the diet is a good or bad idea, the obvious answer is, I think, the correct one: it depends.

    If eggs replace deli meats, for instance, as a source of protein minus the many adulterations, it is trading up. If eggs replace donuts or Danish or muffins for breakfast, that is trading up as well. But should eggs replace, for example, a breakfast of steel cut oats, mixed berries, and walnuts? Hell no!

    *For those who care to know, my personal bias has always run against eggs, not for them. The son of a cardiologist who respected the apparent consensus of my senior colleagues, I believed we knew dietary cholesterol to be a bad actor, and banished eggs entirely from my own diet for more than 20 years. I only added them back when the weight of evidence clearly tipped the other way. I added them back very selectively, however. I eat them occasionally, and when I do, they are organic, locally sourced, and from hens treated kindly — eggsclusively! Nor have eggs replaced my standard breakfast of mixed berries and other fruits in season; walnuts; whole grains; and non-fat, plain Greek yogurt.

    The study most recently in the headlines — just published in the journalAtherosclerosis — suggests not only that egg ingestion increases the risk of heart disease, but also that the association is as strong as that for cigarettes. I don’t believe either is true.

    SO – agian I do not believe the evidence is as clear cut as you wish it to be.

    1. Comes down to who’s bias you are going to favor. Dr Greger is extremely biased in favor of veganism – he does not perform any clinical trials and his research is mainly just hunting down those papers to defend his cause of veganism. Demonizing one food source – wheat/gluten/fat/cholesterol /grains/sugar/eggs/beef is generally by people who have an agenda. Eating any one food in excessive qualities probably does hurt – be it beef, nuts, kale or water – but in small amounts in a otherwise clean diet, likely does not, and may even be healthy in a holistic way.

      At least Katz was honest to discuss the bias conundrum, not something I ever seem to see Greger doing.

      1. Totally agree

        Again – I recently took an EndoPat test – my score was 3.56 – so my endothelium is functioning optomally++
        Green Zone. Score between 2.1 and 3.
        Your endothelium is functioning optimally, and you have maximum protection. Keep up whatever it is that you are doing, because the foods that you have been eating and the physical activity you have been performing regularly have affected a number of risk factors implicated in vascular health and longevity, particularly blood cholesterol levels, hypertension, and obesity.

        1. Your endo is working properly because you are eating plant foods ot because of the animal ones. If you want to test this theory, then stop eating plant based foods, eat exclusively animal and then report back how your endo is doing.

          1. Meat is the way to go to health. There are many studies showing the negative effects of a vegan diet in mental health, cholesterol, blood sugar and the list goes on

        2. First off, I am very glad to hear that you have a healthy endothelium! I believe that there is a requirement for the patient to fast 3-8 hours prior to an EndoPat test. I would be very interested to see your results immediately after, and again over the few hours after a meal consisting of eggs, meat, dairy or fish. Dr Esselstyn and others such as Vogel, Corretti and Plotnick have demonstrated that even a single high fat meal will cause damage to the endothelium.

          My concern is that people who eat a traditional Western diet will continue to hammer away repetitively at the lining of their blood vessels until they ultimately become diseased.

          1. All of the studies use meals that I would NEVER eat -so what do it really proove?

            For example
            Postprandial effect of dietary fat quantity and quality on arterial stiffness and wave reflection: a randomised controlled trial

            Both isoenergetic test-meals comprised of a high-fat (3 MJ, 56 ± 2 g fat) strawberry flavoured milkshake and 400 ml water which subjects were asked to consume in entirety within 15 minutes. The MUFA-meal contained whole milk, skimmed milk powder, Nesquik® (strawberry flavour), water and olive oil. The SFA-meal contained whole milk, skimmed milk powder, Nesquik® (strawberry flavour), water, double cream and sunflower oil. The MUFA-meal was rich in oleic acid which came from olive oil. The SFA-meal was rich in palmitic acid, myristic acid and stearic acid which came from the dairy cream. The two milk-shakes were freshly prepared on the morning of each visit and were identical in volume, taste and appearance and in macronutrient composition, other than a difference in the MUFA and SFA content (Table 2)

            Acute Effect of High-Fat Meal on Endothelial Function in Moderately Dyslipidemic Subjects

            In all subjects, the protocol was repeated on the same day, 6 hours after they had consumed an OFL consisting of 680 kcal/m2 of body surface with 83% fat, 5% proteins, 12% carbohydrates, and 600 mg cholesterol over a 20-minute time interval.

            The study doesn’t say what exactly was consumed only the ratios are given


            Impaired Endothelial Function
            Following a Meal Rich in Used Cooking Fat

            The low fat meal contained ice cream (100 g), trim milk (200 ml), evaporated milk (50 ml), yogurt (10 g), tinned apricots without syrup (50 g), egg yolk (12 g), egg white (30 g) and a chocolate flavor, presented as a milkshake. The used fat meal contained the same ingredients with the addition of 46 g of cooking fat that had been used for deep frying during a week in a commercial fast food restaurant. The cooking fat was stored in the dark at 220°C and used within 1 to 4 days. The quantity of fat in this meal approximated that which is found in an average “fast food” meal. The unused fat meal was prepared by adding 46 g of
            the corresponding unused cooking fat to the low fat meal. The composition of the high fat meals (used and unused fat) was: energy (3,754 kJ), fat (64.4 g), saturated fat (30 g), polyunsaturated fat (4 g), carbohydrate (62.5 g) and protein (20.5 g). The composition of the low fat meal was: energy (2,022 kJ), fat (18.4 g), saturated fat (8 g), polyunsaturated fat (2 g), carbohydrate (62.5 g) and protein (20.5 g). The peroxide value was 1.9 mmol/g, and the acid value was 117 mmol/g in the used cooking fat and 0.5 mmol/g and 7 mmol/g respectively in the unused cooking fat.

            ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! Who eats this CRAP??

        3. First off, I am very glad to hear that you have a healthy endothelium! I believe that there is a requirement for the patient to fast 3-8 hours prior to an EndoPat test. I would be very interested to see your results immediately after, and again over the few hours after a meal consisting of eggs, meat, dairy or fish. Dr Esselstyn and others such as Vogel, Corretti and Plotnick have demonstrated that even a single high fat meal will cause damage to the endothelium.

          My concern is that people who eat a traditional Western diet will continue to hammer away repetitively at the lining of their blood vessels until they ultimately become diseased.

      2. Charles,

        I think it goes well beyond just ‘eggs’.

        My own personal studies over the years and now conclusions demonstrate that consumption of ‘all animal products’ are detrimental to the endothelial lining of the arteries, and therefore overall health of any individual.

      3. “Demonizing one food source – wheat/gluten/fat/cholesterol /grains/sugar/eggs/beef is generally by people who have an agenda”

        how is non-violence and compassion considered an “agenda”? veganism is in fact a moral and ethical imperative which is based on the Golden Rule and doing the least harm possible. to consume the flesh, milk and eggs of non-human animals supports the unfathomable suffering, abuse and death of countless BILLIONS of sentient beings each year-all in the name of a momentary taste sensation.

        “There are no magical slaughterhouses where animals are fed their favorite meal, make a last phone call to a loved one and voluntarily hold their breath until they die. The act of slaughter is violent, vicious, bloody and hellish. The animals do not sacrifice themselves for your pleasure, tradition or greed. They are dragged in, kicking and screaming until their last breath. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can eat meat, dairy and eggs and remain disconnected from this violence. The only way out is VEGAN.”

      4. Sparrow – I don’t see how you can deny the evidence that supports WFPB eating…
        Not only does doctor Greger champion it, but you have docs like Caldwell Esselstyn jr. , Neal Barnard, Dean Ornish, Joel Furhman, and T. Colin Campbell just to name a few. These are doctors that have an OVERWHELMING arsenal of objective fact based evidence that aim the individual towards WFPB vegan eating. These doctors ( although many / all of them may highlight here and there on the obvious ethical reasons not to consume Meat,Cheese, Milk, and Eggs ) are DEDICATED to helping people rid their body of cancer causing, plaque promoting, and heart disease ridden foods, in order to promote a healthy body for life.

        T. Colin Campbell – by the way did many a study on rats for his book “The China Study” . You cannot say that he had a vegan agenda being that he did in fact cause suffering to those rats for his material( and many vegans critisize him for it )….but he did conduct the largest comprehensive geographical study on the effects of meat, milk , cheese, and eggs ever conducted.

        You need to wake up and look at the facts

    2. He never said such a thing and you obviously didnt actually take time to read the study nor the dozens of other studies that all conclude eggs are very bad for human health. He merely said it was funded by the Egg Board and if you are as honest and as objective as you want people to beleive, then logcially, the body that funds the studies wants conclusions that support it’s product. Commonsense. They are known for buying scientists and just because the results are not to your dead animal eating senses, doesn’t mean the results are incorrect.

      I do note with interest he cites actual scientific peer-reviews journals and papers while you’re resorting to quoting newspapers.

    3. You seemed to have stopped reading the article after you saw him point out the funding of the egg industry. Dr. Greger goes on to say:

      “The study was done on a group of men and women eating the standard American diet, were overweight, had “normal” cholesterol, (which is to say extremely high cholesterol–LDL levels twice as high as could be considered optimal).”
      “Why don’t endothelial function and cholesterol levels get even worse? Because there’s a plateau effect. We can basically max out on our cholesterol absorption. After a certain level of intake, it’s just another match to the fire. If we’re already consuming the standard American diet averaging 400mg of cholesterol daily, even adding two jumbo eggs to our diet may not have a sizeable impact. But to people trying to eat healthy, those two eggs could shoot their cholesterol up 20 points”

      which makes the comment by Dr. Katz sound strange. “While studies suggest adding cholesterol to vegan diets raises blood cholesterol, there are no studies — to my knowledge — to show that doing so, in the absence of other changes to the diet — raises rates of heart disease or other ills. That’s really what matters.”

      Since vegans are known to have lower cholesterol levels than other diet groups, and adding dietary cholesterol to their diet raises cholesterol, how is that not what really matters? Why would the already high cholesterol of other diet groups not being raised significantly higher by eggs be more important than actually bringing the cholesterol to a healthy level in the first place, like that of people eating vegan diets? You wouldn’t have to worry about the specific effects of eggs on your heart disease risk if you weren’t at risk of heart disease to begin with

    4. I checked the actual results of that study, and if I was still consuming eggs and was warried about my cholesterol levels I would stop or at least cut down egg consumption. While there may not be statistically significant differences between the egg and the oat treatments, there’s a clear trend of LDL-Chol increasing in those under egg treatment and decreasing under oatmeal treatment, and a trend of HDL-Chol decreasing under egg treatment and decreasing under oatmeal treatment. The treatments were only applied for 6 weeks, longer periods may have rendered stronger differences, and as Dr. Greger stated, at the beginning of the trial all groups had LDL-Chol levels higher than optimal, verging the borderline high, and HDL-Chol levels lower than optimal.

      In addition, their arterial blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) was also higher than the optimal upper limit (around 110/60 mm Hg for adult males).
      So clearly, the sample used in the study weren’t as healthy adults as it was claimed to be (if I had those shitty numbers I would be worried for my health).
      The only excuse for this is that the study was accepted for publication in 2003. Back then the parameter thresholds that were considered healthy were probably then more relaxed that they are now.

  2. I attended an online webinar for dietitians that showed thirty years of research on eggs showing no risk to heart disease in healthy people. I think eggs need to be put into context. First off, fat and sugar act synergistically on inflammation and the studies showing people eating standard American Diets are diets that are, literally SAD: high in sugar and trans fat which are a problem in and of themselves. Since 50% of people have a heart attack with high cholesterol that’s not the most convincing marker for me that cholesterol is the best marker to predict heart disease. There are far better markets than that out there unfortunately underutilized in practice. Also how were the eggs sourced and prepared? I would imagine that a chicken running around eating worms will produce eggs with different fatty acid levels and nutrients than a chicken stuffed with antiobiotics, GMO corn and cramped in a cage with other dirty sick and miserable birds whose cortisol is through the roof. A simple visual check shows you the details: a healthy hen will produce egg yolks that are rich in color almost orange while an unhealthy hen produces eggs with yolks that are pale yellow and lacking flavor. Unfortunately people on SAD are usually eating the latter, compounding the problem. Finally a fried egg (typically found in SAD) would be different than the soft boiled egg that is gently cooked I presume. Comparing the McDonalds egg mc muffin is like comparing food to garbage. I doubt that meal is the same as the meal I prepare at home. Is there even any real food in that product to begin with? And let’s not forget the nutrients found in the egg (choline, B12…) that contribute to good mood and brain health. As with anything, all in moderation. There is no disputing the fact that a diet high in plant foods is healthy for us. But there is also a place for eggs in the diet that is supported by research. As with anything, too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Even water can kill you at the right dose.

    1. Margaret: I’m curious what you are thinking for this statement: “Since 50% of people have a heart attack with high cholesterol that’s not the most convincing marker for me that cholesterol is the best marker to predict heart disease.”

      Here’s my thinking: You are exactly right that people with *high* cholesterol get heart attacks, though not all of them. To me that is just like saying that X% of people who smoke get lung cancer. It doesn’t mean that everyone who smokes will get lung cancer. But smoking is a pretty good indication of higher risk. And without that smoking, your risk goes waaaay down. Just because the link between smoking and lung cancer is not 100%, does that mean we should ignore smoking’s connection to bad health outcomes?

      In my mind, avoiding risk factors is what healthy living is all about.

      If all we knew were the above information, I might agree that you have a point. But here’s the kicker: While people with high cholesterol get heart attacks, we know that people with human-normal (as opposed to western-world normal) levels of cholesterol do *not* get heart attacks. In other words, you have to have high levels of cholesterol in your blood to get heart attacks (baring a rare genetic heart problem). There are other risk factors on top of cholesterol that might increase risk of heart attacks even more. But without the high cholesterol in someone’s blood, those other risk factors are–not ones.

      With that in mind, can you be specific about what you mean when you say, “There are far better markets than [cholesterol].” (I assume you meant, ‘marker’.)

      Also, you wrote, “But there is also a place for eggs in the diet that is supported by research.” Unless you are talking eating eggs only once a year or so as what you mean by moderation, the research does not support having eggs in the diet. That’s what Dr. Greger’s many, many videos and articles about eggs show. Even small numbers of eggs a week increase a person’s risk of disease.

      Finally, you indicate that the nutrients in eggs make up for the disease promoting factors of eggs. But Dr. Greger has addressed these arguments as well. For example:
      “Choline may be the reason egg consumption is associated with prostate cancer progression and death.” That’s not really a selling point. Check out all of the info on choline. And B12.

      The more I think about the points of your post, the less sense it makes to me.

      1. It seems that many continue to hold to the ‘single bullet’ theory – and look for the silver bullet cure. As Campbell illustrates so well in his book “Whole”, nutrition & physiology just don’t work that way. It is an interrelated web.

    2. Hello Margaret!

      I am curious as to who organized this webinar, and who the presenters were.

      Anyhow, Dr. Greger has addressed the egg industry’s misleading claims of the nutrient-content of their products.

      Here is one short video where he concisely addresses some of the key points:

      And the claims that “cholesterol is not strongly associated with heart disease” is simply a magic-hat trick. Virtually ALL victims of degenerative have unnaturally elevated cholesterol levels. Their trick is that they use the cholesterol levels of the “average American” as the baseline. The fact is, the average serum cholesterol in the western world (where practically speaking everyone eats a rich western diet) is dangerously high, which means that almost everyone is at risk for heart disease (As long as another degenerative disease likely caused by the western diet doesn’t kill them first)

      B-12 is an empty issue- 70% of people are b-12 deficient, which means that EVERYONE should be supplementing with vitamin b-12 (at the cost of about $5 a year) making the nutritional content of the nutrient essentially a non-starter.

      I do look forward to hearing some more about the webinar you attended!


    3. I recently saw a study that indicated that the egg yoke contained HDL cholesterol, if not exposed to oxygen, remained in tact, not exposed to oxygen prior to consumption. So I began a daily routine of eating a 4 min boiled egg in an attempt to raise HDL. I was surprised that in a 3 mo period my LDL dropped 61 points from 101 to 40 while the HDL dropped from 32 to 31. So I’m confused .i expected the HDL to rise, as it turns out my LDL to HDL ratios came in line to the desired range, I feel we still have a lot to learn about the egg and cholesterol .any wisdom to help me understand?

  3. Something that needs pointing out, I offer: Doctor makes it known that the egg board PAID for the study; whereas Big Pharma studies, either bought or produced or published by their sham journals, regarding drugs and vaccines ‘benefits’ NEVER seem to be made a specific point of interest in how things work to prove outcomes for vested interests. How come?

  4. Harvard’s Walter Willett, whose work Dr. Greger has cited many times, has this to say: “The important point is to have the best possible evidence, and we shouldn’t be basing dietary guidance on just guesses or beliefs. In the case of both the egg issue and the total fat issue we were basically starting with virtually no direct evidence. When the evidence did start to come in – and there were different lines of evidence from our studies based on large cohorts and also short term studies investigating metabolic changes – it showed that people who consume more eggs did not have a higher risk of heart disease even after adjusting for any other factors, and that total fat in the diet was not related to heart disease risk or cancer risk. So it took those long term studies to show that those were not important factors, and that allowed us to modify the recommendations. We were really in a state 35 years ago in which we had very little direct evidence and we were basing guidelines on guesses and indirect evidence from very small, short term studies.”

  5. Eggs are the only food, that provide the complete range of nutrients required by homo sapiens, with the exception of vitamin C. They are a little low on C. Now I am not sure, if this applies to cooked eggs or just raw eggs. Fifty years ago I went on a ‘vegan’ diet consisting of salad, fruit and raw eggs. I ate 12 raw eggs a day. I was on an intense exercise program, weights and running. I have never felt so fit in my life.
    Cooking any food destroys the enzymes needed to digest the food. Enzymes need to be manufactured by the pancreas to replace them. Fine when one is still young, but as one ages enzyme production decreases and undigested food passes through the intestine into the colon. In particular undigested protein is carcinogenic, and can cause cancer. This will apply to cooked eggs as well. After middle age It is advised to take supplemental ‘protease’, (protein digesting enzymes) with cooked protein. Personally I am trying to restrict myself to raw eggs, raw oysters and pickled herrings as a source of protein.
    I am sure that all the studies to which Dr G refers, were done with cooked eggs. I wonder if the results would be the same with raw eggs.

  6. Question . Why do you keep referring to “life threatening cholesterol”? I refer you to Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s book The great Cholesterol Myth. Are you at odds with his conclusions?

    1. I´ve been vegetarian, almost macrobiotic for years, then rawish and, now in crisis after ¨the vegetarian myth¨and now ¨grain brain¨, both suggest interesting approaches…. anyone read them…?
      I´m just worn out of polarized, apparently internally coherent theories and, to add more to it, now we´ve got to search for hidden agendas behind papers and dietary theory!!!!
      should i just settle for a death cause and a linked diet?

      1. I’ve been reading, studying and trying different approaches too, and my conclusion is to go with science. And science is in favor of whole food plant-based diet. Can you find a single study that showed that well planned whole food plant-based diet with proper supplementation increases risks of any disease, increases mortality rates or impairs overall well-being in comparison with any other diet? I can’t.

        1. Also look at the older ( 90/100 years old) healthy people and blueZone communities. They all mostly eat simple plant base food. None are animal product eaters.

      2. angela: I sympathize with your frustration and confusion and find it perfectly understandable. Of course, you will end up having to make up your own mind in the end. But I will offer you some thoughts.

        1) I think that Leonid and jmlenoir gave some very helpful replies. I appreciated what they wrote and think their answers are worth thinking about.

        2) At the same time, the whole reason you are confused is that the different sources of information that you are reviewing are all claiming that they have science to back up their statements. So, telling you to stick to science may not help you if you can’t figure out what that is. Leonid’s question helps to put it all into perspective. I would also offer this:

        While I’m not familiar with the details of “the vegetarian myth”, I am very familiar with the Grain Brain and it’s brother book, Wheat Belly. The research these books point to often does not really back up their claims. It is all a bunch of pseudo-science. Here are some articles where you can learn about the flaws in those books:

        Thus my answer is: It’s not easy, but there are ways to figure out whether a source is giving you valid information or not, even if it has “apparently internally coherent theories”.

        Good luck!

  7. Does anyone else wonder, if HDL is ‘good’, why its number is added to the ‘bad’ LDL and triglyceride numbers to compute one’s total cholesterol? The calculation doesn’t make sense. My total cholesterol is over 200 because my HDL is 100. Why aren’t we using a more accurate reporting measure?

    1. HDL could be proinflammatory too. High levels of HDL don’t counteract high LDL. You’d better have low total cholesterol. Non-HDL cholesterol is a strong marker of higher risk, while high HDL is potentially too.
      I wouldn’t call HDL ‘good’, but ‘not as bad as LDL’.
      I won’t throw articles and studies here, because I don’t know which are reputable, so it would be better if more educated people answered to you.

    2. Emily: When I got tested, I was shown both the total cholesterol number AND the LDL. It is my understanding that both of those numbers are important for determining your risk. Ideally you want total cholesterol to be under 150 and LDL to be under 70.
      So, I’m thinking your question should not be, “Why did they tell me the total
      number?” but instead should be, “Why didn’t they report both the total
      *and* LDL?”

      As Leonid said, my understanding that the reason the total cholesterol number matters is that while “HDL” is often stated as being “good”, the real story is more complicated than that. Saying HDL is “good” is a big simplification (if I understand correctly) and that’s why knowing the total number in addition to the LDL number is important. I’m not an expert in this and can’t give more details. I just thought it was important to give you the 150 and 70 numbers in case you didn’t already have them.

    3. Total cholesterol is easiest to measure, and was all clinicians had to work with until the 1970s. HDL came next, and while LDL can be assayed directly, direct LDL testing would require time consuming (ie: expensive) ultracentrifugation. Hence, the LDL on your lipid profile is usually calculated from the formula [LDL-C] = [Total C] – [HDL-C] – [Triglycerides]/5.

      1. Darryl: Thanks for that clarification.

        Now I wonder why Esselstyn always seems to make a very big point out of saying that the total number should be below 150 and LDL below 70? It seems to me that by making a point of specifying both of those numbers, I would guess that Esselstyn thinks that the total cholesterol number maters (ie, not just the LDL number). If the LDL number is typically a number calculated from Total, HDL and Triglyercide numbers, and if LDL is really the only number to focus on, why not just tell people to get their LDL below 70? What am I missing? Is it because the total number includes Triglycerides too? (Not something I was aware of.)

        Thanks for any more thoughts you want to provide.

  8. You may find this interesting
    Extra virgin olive oil use is associated with improved post-prandial blood glucose and LDL cholesterol in healthy subjects

    Post-prandial glycemic and lipid profile were investigated in 25 healthy subjects who were randomly allocated in a cross-over design to a Mediterranean-type meal added with or without 10 g EVOO (first study), or Mediterranean-type meal with EVOO (10 g) or corn oil (10 g; second study). Glycemic profile, which included glucose, insulin, dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 (DPP-4) protein and activity, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), and lipid profile, which included, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (LDL-C), oxidized LDL (ox-LDL), triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (HDL-C), were analyzed before and 2 h after the meal.

    In the first study, 2 h after meal, subjects who assumed a meal with EVOO had significantly lower blood glucose (P<0.001), DPP-4 protein (P<0.001) and activity (P<0.001), LDL-C (P<0.001) and ox-LDL (P<0.001) and higher insulin (P<0.05), GLP-1 (P<0.001) and GIP (P<0.05) compared with those without EVOO. The second study showed that compared with corn oil, EVOO improved both glycemic and lipid profile. Thus, a significantly smaller increase of glucose (P<0.05), DPP4 protein (P<0.001) and activity (P<0.05) and higher increase of insulin (P<0.001) and GLP-1 (P<0.001) were observed. Furthermore, compared with corn oil, EVOO showed a significantly less increase of LDL-C (P<0.05) and ox-LDL (P<0.001).

    We report for the first time that EVOO improves post-prandial glucose and LDL-C, an effect that may account for the antiatherosclerotic effect of the Mediterranean diet.

  9. along with the health aspects, people who choose to consume animal products such as flesh, milk and eggs need to educate themselves about the moral and ethical aspects of using other sentient beings as economic commodities and the inherent violence, suffering and death which it supports on an unimaginable scale:

  10. As some of you may be aware, this summer’s egg prices have skyrocketed 140% due to an outbreak of several H5 highly pathogenic avian influenzas, as tens of millions of laying hens are “culled” in attempts to prevent further spread.

    This undoubtedly has had an influence on consumption habits, and I hope someone at CDC has considered comparing Autumn 2015 cardiovascular fatalities against Autumn 2014 and 2016, as a large natural experiment.

    1. Well that was unexpected.

      I’m listening to the audiobook of Michael Tenneson’s The Next Species: the Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man (2014), and Dr. Greger’s Bird Flu: A virus of our own hatching (2006) is cited all over chapter 6.

  11. Sorry to dissapoint you Doc. Greger, humans only absorb 2% (yes, two) from cholesterol that comes from food, all the rest is produced by our body and: 1. once our brain “sees” the coming amount of cholesterol from food it imeadiately determines our body to eliminate the excess of it; 2. cholesterol is not a fat, it comes from carbohidrates and it’s produced by our liver; 3. cells, hormones and our entire brain is made of cholesterol!! I eat organic eggs, my father does, very good for our eyes

  12. Dear Dr. Greger,

    I recently discovered a Journal published on August 2018 on Harvard web site that says: “Eggs might help your heart, not harm it”:

    Two recent studies have found that eggs do not raise the risk of heart disease, and in fact may even protect against it.

    The first study, published online May 7, 2018, by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at how egg consumption affected 128 people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes; both conditions put people at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. For three months, half of the participants ate 12 eggs a week, while the other half ate two eggs or fewer per week. Everyone also followed the same weight-loss diet that avoided saturated fats like butter and included healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like avocado and olive oils.

    At the six-month follow-up, both groups saw no significant difference in their cardiovascular risk factors, such as high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The average weight loss between the groups was also the same.

    In the other study, published online May 21, 2018, by Heart, researchers examined the eating habits of 416,000 people, average age 50, who were free from heart disease and diabetes, and then kept track of their health for nine years. The researchers found that the study subjects who routinely ate eggs had a lower risk of death from stroke and heart disease compared with those who did not eat eggs.

    Specifically, those who ate an average of one egg per day had a 28% lower risk of death from stroke and an 18% lower risk of death from heart disease. The researchers suggested that one explanation might be the fact that eggs contain heart-healthy nutrients, such as folate and omega-3 fatty acids.

    How can you explain this?

    Looking forward to your answer,

    1. Hey Alin- You’re right to point out that there is conflicted published data on harm vs help of egg consumption. The prospective cohort you discuss, a Chinese study, make a funny choice in stopping report of harm/benefit at consumption of less than one egg per day. For associations in cohorts, the strongest way of supporting an association either way is to analyze by quintile or quartile consumption: how do lowest intake compare to highest intake. Stopping at less than one egg a day was odd. Surely they had data from people who ate one egg daily, or more.

      The interventional study you quote did not seem to find worsened risk factors with egg consumption.

      Other studies, like the Nurse’s and Physician’s Health studies, show that low egg consumption may not be bad, although wasn’t protective, of heart disease risk factors. Higher consumption was associated with worse cardiovascular endpoints, though.

      One factor Dr Greger and others have discussed is that not all egg feeding studies get published. There has long been publish bias, seemingly via the influence of the Egg Board for US studies, favoring publishing data that boosts egg popularity and of suppressing data that shows adverse associations.

      We do know that egg consumption increases TMAO, an artery-harming substance, in those who eat an omnivorous diet, but not in those who otherwise eat plant based.

      In summary, there is conflicting information on egg consumption and its risk factor or more hard outcome effects, and evidence of suppression of data showing adverse effects. To answer the question of egg health benefits vs harms, a large, randomized feeding study without corporate funding, over 10 years would be best. This is never easily done, sadly!

      Thanks for your comments! Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  13. Hello everyone! I hope you’re enjoying day.

    During a recent discussion at work, the topic of eggs came up, specifically quail eggs. Someone mentioned how quail eggs are free of samenella and produ e higher health benefits than regular eggs. Please see the attached article for additional details. Does anyone have an insight into the truthfulness of these claims?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This