Debunking Egg Industry Myths

Debunking Egg Industry Myths
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The latest meta-analysis of studies on egg consumption and heart disease risk found that even less than a single egg a day is associated with increased risk of both cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In my video, Eggs vs. Cholesterol in Atherosclerosis, [sic — I meant Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis. I’ll add to my re-record stack! — MG], I profiled a study showing that smoking more than a pack a day for ten years was bad for your arteries, and combining egg-eating and smoking was even worse. “Thus the effect of egg[s]…and smoking appear[s] to be additive.” But, “egg yolks alone” in non-smokers was associated with artery-clogging plaque buildup—nearly two-thirds as bad as smoking.

This certainly ruffled some feathers. Yes, eggs are by far the #1 source of cholesterol in the American diet, but letters to the editor, like this one, protested that “dietary cholesterol may have very little impact on [blood] cholesterol” levels—citing this study, published in 1971, performed on eight people.

But, if you look at dozens of studies all put together, covering hundreds of study subjects, we find that “[blood] cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol.” Here’s an extreme example, just to illustrate: a year in the life of a study subject on and off eggs. First, they take him off eggs, putting him on a cholesterol-free diet, and his cholesterol plummets within just three weeks. Then, they give him lots of eggs, and he’s back in trouble—and stays there, until they take the eggs away, and put him back on the cholesterol-free diet, and so on and so forth, turning his high blood cholesterol on and off, like a light switch made out of eggs.

Of course, the only reason we care about our cholesterol levels, or how much plaque is building up inside our arteries, is because we want to avoid the consequences—like a heart attack. So, do eggs increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, or not?

Here’s the latest meta-analysis—the latest compilation of all the best studies on egg consumption and risk of heart disease going back to 1930. When you put ’em all together, what do we find? Overall, those that ate the most eggs had a 19% increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a 68% increased risk of diabetes, and then, once you get diabetes, an 85% increased risk of heart disease. And, it didn’t take much—less than a single egg a day was associated with a significantly increased risk of heart disease. Just over half an egg a day may increase heart disease risk between 6% and 40%, and the risk of diabetes 29%.

They conclude that their findings support the American Heart Association dietary guidelines, which advise restricted egg consumption in adults for preventing cardiometabolic diseases—like diabetes, our seventh leading cause of death, and heart disease, killer #1.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to wilkeshe via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

In my video, Eggs vs. Cholesterol in Atherosclerosis, [sic — I meant Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis. I’ll add to my re-record stack! — MG], I profiled a study showing that smoking more than a pack a day for ten years was bad for your arteries, and combining egg-eating and smoking was even worse. “Thus the effect of egg[s]…and smoking appear[s] to be additive.” But, “egg yolks alone” in non-smokers was associated with artery-clogging plaque buildup—nearly two-thirds as bad as smoking.

This certainly ruffled some feathers. Yes, eggs are by far the #1 source of cholesterol in the American diet, but letters to the editor, like this one, protested that “dietary cholesterol may have very little impact on [blood] cholesterol” levels—citing this study, published in 1971, performed on eight people.

But, if you look at dozens of studies all put together, covering hundreds of study subjects, we find that “[blood] cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol.” Here’s an extreme example, just to illustrate: a year in the life of a study subject on and off eggs. First, they take him off eggs, putting him on a cholesterol-free diet, and his cholesterol plummets within just three weeks. Then, they give him lots of eggs, and he’s back in trouble—and stays there, until they take the eggs away, and put him back on the cholesterol-free diet, and so on and so forth, turning his high blood cholesterol on and off, like a light switch made out of eggs.

Of course, the only reason we care about our cholesterol levels, or how much plaque is building up inside our arteries, is because we want to avoid the consequences—like a heart attack. So, do eggs increase our risk of cardiovascular disease, or not?

Here’s the latest meta-analysis—the latest compilation of all the best studies on egg consumption and risk of heart disease going back to 1930. When you put ’em all together, what do we find? Overall, those that ate the most eggs had a 19% increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a 68% increased risk of diabetes, and then, once you get diabetes, an 85% increased risk of heart disease. And, it didn’t take much—less than a single egg a day was associated with a significantly increased risk of heart disease. Just over half an egg a day may increase heart disease risk between 6% and 40%, and the risk of diabetes 29%.

They conclude that their findings support the American Heart Association dietary guidelines, which advise restricted egg consumption in adults for preventing cardiometabolic diseases—like diabetes, our seventh leading cause of death, and heart disease, killer #1.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to wilkeshe via flickr

Doctor's Note

Here’s the link to the smoking video: Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis.

For more on the diabetes connection, see Eggs & Diabetes and Bacon, Eggs, & Gestational Diabetes during Pregnancy.

More on eggs, and the egg industry in general:

There’s more to heart disease than just cholesterol buildup. In Eggs & Arterial Function, I explore what effect egg consumption has on endothelial function—the ability of our arteries to relax normally.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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