Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis

Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis
4.1 (82.02%) 89 votes

A similar exponential increase in carotid artery plaque buildup was found for smokers and egg eaters.


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.

As I noted last year, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that the daily consumption of the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg appeared to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking 25,000 cigarettes—five cigarettes a day, for fifteen years. Following up on that research, a study in the journal Atherosclerosis found that just three eggs or more a week was associated with a significant increase in artery-clogging plaque buildup in people’s carotid arteries, going to their brain—a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death.  

In fact, they found a similar exponential increase in arterial plaque buildup for smokers and egg-eaters. Those that ate the most eggs had as much as two-thirds the risk of those that smoked the most—the equivalent of a pack-a-day habit for 40 years or more.

This did not go over easy with the egg industry. As revealed in a series of internal memos about this group of researchers, retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act, the American Egg Board discussed the “wisdom of making industry responses when the public knows there is a vested interest….”

So, the Executive Director of the Egg Board’s “Egg Nutrition Center,” proposed they contact “some of our ‘friends’ in the science community” to have an “objective, external source author the response.” “If you do so,” he wrote to one of their “friends” at Yale, “we’ll certainly compensate you….” But, the prominent Yale physician refused to “participate in an overtly antagonistic letter,” given his friendship with one of the co-authors of the review.

If you can’t find someone with credentials to counter the science, why not just make one up? How’s this for a bizarre twist? An email was circulated to discredit the researchers by a Dr. Dr.—MD/PHD—and, why not throw in an MBA while you’re at it, who claimed the prestigious “researchers” didn’t “know a thing about nutrition.”

Only when the principal investigator of the egg study replied to the allegations did we learn that the Dr. Dr. doesn’t exist. His email was hacked. The poor guy was like, “I was on vacation; I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and, apparently, the culprit was never found.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to malias, Samuel M. Livingston and Vectorportal 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.

As I noted last year, the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study found that the daily consumption of the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg appeared to cut a woman’s life short as much as smoking 25,000 cigarettes—five cigarettes a day, for fifteen years. Following up on that research, a study in the journal Atherosclerosis found that just three eggs or more a week was associated with a significant increase in artery-clogging plaque buildup in people’s carotid arteries, going to their brain—a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death.  

In fact, they found a similar exponential increase in arterial plaque buildup for smokers and egg-eaters. Those that ate the most eggs had as much as two-thirds the risk of those that smoked the most—the equivalent of a pack-a-day habit for 40 years or more.

This did not go over easy with the egg industry. As revealed in a series of internal memos about this group of researchers, retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act, the American Egg Board discussed the “wisdom of making industry responses when the public knows there is a vested interest….”

So, the Executive Director of the Egg Board’s “Egg Nutrition Center,” proposed they contact “some of our ‘friends’ in the science community” to have an “objective, external source author the response.” “If you do so,” he wrote to one of their “friends” at Yale, “we’ll certainly compensate you….” But, the prominent Yale physician refused to “participate in an overtly antagonistic letter,” given his friendship with one of the co-authors of the review.

If you can’t find someone with credentials to counter the science, why not just make one up? How’s this for a bizarre twist? An email was circulated to discredit the researchers by a Dr. Dr.—MD/PHD—and, why not throw in an MBA while you’re at it, who claimed the prestigious “researchers” didn’t “know a thing about nutrition.”

Only when the principal investigator of the egg study replied to the allegations did we learn that the Dr. Dr. doesn’t exist. His email was hacked. The poor guy was like, “I was on vacation; I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and, apparently, the culprit was never found.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to malias, Samuel M. Livingston and Vectorportal via flickr

Doctor's Note

This is the same prestigious research team that wrote the landmark review on which I based my videos Egg Cholesterol in the Diet, and Avoiding Cholesterol Is a No Brainer.

The 25,000 cigarette study is detailed in What Women Should Eat to Live Longer, and it’s the opener to my 2012 year-in-review video, Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, in which I explore the role diet can play in preventing, treating, and reversing our top 15 killers.

More on eggs in Carcinogenic Retrovirus Found in EggsEgg Industry Blind SpotTotal Recall; and Chicken, Eggs, and Inflammation.

Lots more Freedom of Information Act internal memo videos on their way—I’ve got stacks of boxes still to comb through!

For more context, read my associated blog posts: Eggs, Cigarettes, and AtherosclerosisWhy Are Eggs Linked to Cancer Progression?; and Egg Industry Caught Making False Claims.

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

147 responses to “Eggs vs. Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis

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        1. The study is a cohort study. Which means they simply looked at the previous studies “again” and then say something’s wrong with it. Or find a fault.
          Then they get other peers to accept it. Which obviously is for money from the egg industry.
          If there was something wrong with the original study they would have got it removed. There is nothing wrong so they do this kind of manipulation.

  1. Did they test with authentic free-ranged chicken eggs which are known to contain less cholesterol? My mother has been eating these all her life (many more than 3 per week) and is 83 with no cholesterol or heart problems.

    1. My grandfather RAISED chickens and eat eggs EVERY morning for breakfast and he was 93 when he died, had his hair, his teeth and lived pretty healthy life! It amazes me what these so called ‘experts’ are telling people to be ‘fact’ these days.

        1. Mother’s in China eat 10-20 eggs per day because they know how important they are to brain health and intestinal health throughout life!

        2. How the heck is that even possible? 20 a day? Was there ever a moment during his day when he didn’t have an egg in his mouth? Yuck!

        3. yeah ? my grandpa lives in a farm and eats 200 eggs a day and now he’s 115 yrs. old ! it wasn’t enough so, he eats 200 chickens a day too ! dig that ! but the BS !

      1. No offence meant to you, but how old would he have lived if he had not eaten all those eggs? perhaps 103? We simply don’t know is the answer…but looking at the evidence from statistics. the more you eat the higher your risk of heart disease diabetes and lower longevity from animal proteins & TOR.

        1. He probably would not have lived all that much longer without the eggs.

          First of all, he didn’t spend his life at a desk in a cubicle. They can study the heck out of biochemistry, but until they factor in that we were meant to be mobile creatures, they’ll never get it completely right.

          Second, cancer risk is a probability and some people will always win unless the odds are 100% against you.

        2. I eat 2 to 3 eggs a day religiously for the last 5 years. I was worried about all the talk of cholesterol in eggs and had my blood tested. My test results for cholesterol LDL was low but not under normal range and HDL was high but not over high range. I will have more testing done periodically because eggs are a large part of my diet. Im pretty sure avoiding all cholesterol and fats is not healthy, Your body has to have cholesterol to make every cell in your body. Obviously everything has to be ate in moderation. My diet consist of low sugar low carb moderate fat diet. My doctor said my blood test were excellent.

          1. So much wrong in your post. Actually half wrongs.
            Yes your body needs cholesterol to make every cell in our body.
            That is why our body makes it for us.
            Dietary cholesterol does not end up as blockages(fat does) Dietary Cholesterol is treated as fat by our body. So it breaks it down to fat(Cholesterol is fatty acids + sterol/Steroid)
            So your are consuming fat.
            The problems with animal products and fats its really hard to break down. Including the protein . Its very hard to break down. This causes free radicals in your body that damage your arteries and your body has to increase the cholesterol levels to repair it.
            Because as you said cholesterol is needed to build every tissue including damaged ones. It needs more.
            But if you continue eating eggs meat dairy your body will get damaged and your body will produce more cholesterol to repair the damage
            only problem is that you are not giving your body time to recover so it ends up blocking.

            So HDL and LDL is wrong concept. BTW its not even cholesterol its just lipo proteins that transport cholesterol.
            Just because LDL takes cholesterol to the affected site(which is the arteries and heart) It was termed bad.
            Its flawed logic.
            Because HDL was taking it away they say its good.
            No the levels will be the same if LDL is taking it to the repair site then HDL will take it way.
            But when you over load your body that is by eating meat dairy eggs. fish etc. Your body first responds to repair. That is why LDL is raised.
            Your body does not have resources for “clean up” that is HDL so HDL is low Its expending all its energy to repair the stuff you keep damaging with your diet as that is the emergency.
            But when you over do it. It just gets blocked.

            Its like you are careless while cutting vegetables in your kitchen. You cut your hand. So you go to the doctor and bandage it.
            after it heals you remove the bandage right. Lets assume this hypothetical situation for analogy purposes which btw is the case in most clinics. Doctors tend to apply dressing but to remove a bandage or a cast they let the nurses do the job which does not require much expertise.
            So you can say the doctor is LDL and the Nurse is HDL as its taking away the bandage.
            But if you continue being careless what happnes?
            you already have a bandage right? Its not healed so the doctor will not send you to the nurse(HDL) he will put another bandage.
            You again cut it without the previous wounds healed your doctor (LDL) will but another bandage since you have your previous bandages on. Your hand “GETS BLOCKED” yes you cant use your hand. Just like cholesterol blocks the arteries. And LDL is blamed.
            So would you blame your doctor because you cant use your hand?(LDL)
            Would you say Nurses are good they remove bandages and make my hand move.(HDL)
            Would you blame the bandage which is the cholesterol?

            What you would do is STOP Cutting yourself. Then the doctor will then stop bandaging you. He has to otherwise you will bleed to death. Then he will send you to the nurse.
            So cutting yourself being careless is your diet the eggs and meat dairy fish.
            Only that is too blame nothing else.

            And about everything in moderation. Its another industry propaganda to concinve you to eat unhealthy foods so in the long run you will suffer and they profit.(or you don’t stop eating their unhealthy food)
            the only think that happens in moderation is you are not able to link your disease with what you are eating as it takes some time to manifest.
            Its like the moderation of a punch is a slap.
            Now if you get punched really hard you might sustain injuries be down for days and even get internal damaged or even die if you get a good punch on the temple.
            But a slap is ok. You can get slapped the risk of you dying is almost nil(unless the undertaker slaps you or something like that). and you can always walk away on your two feet fully conscious from a “moderate” slap.

            Right But just imagine if you had toothache. How would a slap feel> now lets say you already hit your head and you are in a serious condition? how will a slap feel it might kill you?

            Now that is moderation and if you get slapped 20 times a day or even 100 times(That is the analogy of how much chemicals and toxins we consume in moderation through 100 different sources) you would suffer.

            Its simple if you are eating something unhealthy in moderation it just wont kill you.
            Lets put it this way if you eat a 20 % unhealthy diet of meat eggs dairy fish. You may not get a heart attack at 40 but maybe 60.
            But if you eat a 100% healthy diet that is the opposite of moderation since you are eating a 100% plant based whole food diet. You will not get any side effects.
            So this moderation is just bullshit. You cant eat a 120% vegan diet :-P. So you actually dont eat too healthy.

            1. Your response is just a bunch of what ifs… its like you had a reeses cup, just imagine how long you could’ve lived if you didnt have that reeses cup. I mean seriously… at least come up with a valid argument. You may not have a heart attach at 40 but you may at 60?? duh… i may not get hit by a car today, but i might next year. Water is good for you but also in moderation… too much water and you die. Fact, look it up. So moderation is key.

          2. Hello Brandon,

            I am a volunteer moderator for Nutritionfacts, helping Dr. Greger answer questions posted to the site. I’m also a WFPB dietitian nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’d love to share with you something my colleague on NutritionFacts, Dr. Anderson, wrote about atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries that happens over time. By the way, she is a Cardiologist, and is a fellow moderator on this site. Quoting her brilliance:

            “Hi! I’m Dr Anderson, a cardiologist and volunteer for Nutrition Facts. Let’s sort this out together: I’ll provide intro to atherosclerosis and show where no oil, whole food, plant based diets (WFPB) intervene on the atherosclerosis pathways. There are many biological pathways involved in this slowly progressive problem. Then I’ll encourage you to Google Scholar this thing to find more info and primary resources if needed. Images of the pathways will help you the most.

            The summary is that progressive vessel injury is caused by foods (and of course smoking) that lead to inflammatory changes. This injury, in combination with the presence of cholesterol, dead blood cells, and calcium leads to buildup of plaque. Processed, high fat, high sugar, high salt, and meat, dairy, chicken, eggs contribute to this via: raising LDL, causing dysfunction of HDL, worsening insulin resistance, raising inflammatory proteins including IL-1 and many others, damaging the endothelium (lining of vessels), which then reduces production of nitric oxide (NO). NO relaxes vessels and lack of NO stiffens them. The telomeres (caps on ends of chromosomes) are also injured by foods shown to increase inflammatory chemical (cytokines). This contributes to cell death and to buildup of cholesterol, calcium, dead macrophage cells, which then create the blockages in atherosclerosis.

            A whole, plant food dietary pattern: reduces inflammation via anti-inflammatory effects of the plants themselves, removes the insult of dietary cytokines and growth factors like IL-1, directly heals telomeres, both removes the insult to endothelium and directly increases NO for better endothelia function, improves monocyte function for clearing of atherosclerotic plaque, diverse the bacteria that In ways that are not yet fully understood further low inflammatory markers. Further, a WFPB dietary pattern lowers serum cholesterol by removing the substrates for its formation (trans fats, saturated fats, added sugars), improves muscle cell function leading to better insulin resistance and improved and several of diabetes, lowers blood pressure again through improving endothelial function.

            Here is a great slide on the various pathways leading to atherosclerosis.
   I found this as sharable on the web. Here’s a link to the whole presentation. The important aspects to your question are addressed in the parts on mechanisms of injury to the vessel.

            Please look at the slides as they show all of these complex mechanisms together. In summary, a WFPB dietary pattern works on nearly every single pathway involved in the process of atherosclerosis. The formation of further plaque is prevented, the substrate for maintaining plaque is removed, and the healthy cells and endothelium are able to remove existing plaque and reverse some or much of the existing damage and plaque.
            Best luck in your further research of this topic!

            So, your reference to eggs being okay to eat really flies in the face of the scientific evidence that inflammatory foods (animal proteins, including eggs) cause over time progressive vessel injury. OUCH. I’ll stick to my whole food plant based diet and leave off my plate foods that cause inflammation, especially eggs!

      2. That’s great 93 years of age, did he tell you himself that he ate Eggs every single day for over 60 years? just wondering please

      3. There are people who smoked all their life and lived to 110 etc. this doesn’t mean smoking is healthy, it means they are one of the few who can get away with it…

    2. My farher has been smoking most of his life and has a packet a day. He is now 89, and has nothing wrong with his heart yet. Doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

    3. That;s great how does she prepare her organic eggs i think boiling is way better than, frying them in pan with Greasey fat oils known to be bad for heart.

    1. That Huffington Post article is way more balanced, unbiased and well-reasoned than the above video. I would also point out that an argument along the lines of “the egg industry is trying to convince you eggs are healthy by dubious means” is irrelevant to the actual healthiness of eggs. Your body doesn’t care how good the egg industry people are; it cares how good eggs are. The majority of research now shows that dietary cholesterol intake is not as problematic as it was once thought to be; showing one study in isolation from the larger body of work is deceptive. Shame!

  2. The Wikipedia description of atherosclerosis reveals how complex the disease is. Mentioned is the fact that several mummies show it. Why would pre-modern people have it? Possibly because most mummies come from the upper class, with excessive life style habits. Also mentioned is the high rate of atherosclerosis in autopsied, young veterans.

    1. The important point you made here is lifestyle differences. You could probably get away with eating a bunch of eggs if you also did physical labor or walked all day. You could probably get away with more alcohol consumption if you ate a vegetable based diet etc. all these factors come into play to create an overall lifestyle picture. One food or one factor will probably not kill you on it’s own ( except smoking) but all together, plus a sedentary lifestyle most certainly will. Vegetable based diet, daily activity or exercise and not smoking or drinking seems to be the formula for success. It’s about the big picture. I wish these health studies would do more of that. Because this focus on one type of food, although important, gives the wrong impression, IMO.

      1. Pretty sure at one point the propaganda was so big on cigarettes being healthy even “DRS” endorsed it.

        Now when the literal scientific research and facts about eating dead animal flesh are out, available to the hands and eyes of all humans, still many want to hold onto the lie they have been living. Makes sense, it is hard to give up addictions/traditions which all animal flesh consumption are.

  3. I found over the years, that the source of the funding (I always check and ask) for surveys, studies, polls etc. is often times just as important (or even more important) as the results. HIgh cholesterol does not mean atherosclerosis; while atherosclerosis does mean high cholesterol. In any case, I’m cutting back on my egg consumption. :-))

  4. Dear Dr. Greger: See the first comment for this link:
    which brings us to a recent meta-analysis showing no link between egg
    consumption and heart disease or stroke. Are not the results of a meta-analysis more reliable than any one study alone, since they combine the data taken using different methodologies and across different samples?
    I look forward to your response. Thank you.

    1. Hi Bill,

      The linked study you provided didn’t quite give eggs a clean bill of health if you are diabetic:

      “Subgroup analysis suggested that consumption of up to one egg per day was associated with a significantly elevated risk of coronary heart disease in diabetic populations.”

      I also find the cloak-and-dagger damage control of the egg industry a bit disturbing. If their product is so healthful why would they resort to such machinations?

      1. Hello Mike,
        The egg industry’s behavior is indeed disturbing. However, I would prefer to be confident that when I pass along Dr. Greger’s summaries, I can count on them not being overstated. Otherwise, we both lose credibility.

        In court, when a party overstates their position, a second chance is rarely given.

        If a mistatement was made, it should be addressed, clarified, or explained away promptly.

        1. Hi Bill,

          I totally agree with what you’re saying about credibility.
          The study Dr. Greger referred to seems to deal solely with egg yolk in relation to carotid artery plaque. This study thus encompasses a fairly narrow focus. Dr. Spence (stroke expert and author of “How To Prevent Your Stroke”) and Dr. Jenkins (one of the inventors of the Glycemic Index) are, to my knowledge, very principled researchers. That their study doesn’t necessarily align with other studies out there doesn’t invalidate it, or Dr. Greger’s credibility in presenting it .
          The design of a study can have a lot to do with the results, which may explain why different researchers come up with disparate conclusions about the same thing.

          1. The fact that members of the egg industry discussed ways to protect the reputation of their product may seem distasteful to some but is perfectly natural behavior that we all engage in. Such behavior certainly does not prove that their product deserves a bad, or good, reputation. It just proves that they are humans looking to protect their way of earning a living.

            1. Since it’s a foregone conclusion that the egg industry will tout the healthfulness of its product, we should rightly question the credibility of their statements or any study in which they are involved. It’s distasteful – to put it mildly – when companies put profits over health or honesty, and no, we do not all engage in that behavior (nor should we).

    2. Meta-analysis is a useful tool but not necessarily better. When bringing together several studies you bring in all the limitations of those studies. The reason you are seeing so many of these studies is that they are inexpensive.

    3. Meta-analysis is a powerful statistical tool. You see more and more because they are easy to do and relatively inexpensive. The devil is in the details. When you combine studies you bring the limitations of each study into the new study. The researchers may exclude studies they should have included and included studies they shouldn’t have. Without knowing the details which are often hard to ferret out the results must be viewed with a grain of salt.

  5. There is nothing wrong with eggs per se, especially “real eggs” produced in humane conditions. Factory eggs are loaded with unnatural compounds from the feed and chemicals. Free range eggs are amazing food and should be a part of a well-balanced diet. Just stay away from all that junk food – that is the source of most health problems.

    1. I eat organic free range eggs every day also place tumeric spice over them with pepper. I am going to be 64 and my endocrinologist said all of my veins and arteries have no signs of being clogged. My cholesterol and other readings are all normal. If these people ate other items than eggs perhaps this study is tainted. Maybe it ain’t the eggs but all of the junk food and high fructose corn syrup that is really showing up.

      1. You are right on Sherri. Most of the sickness we see is a result of bad diet full of processed foods. Eat good natural food and live without illness. Interestingly, I eat free range eggs every day and I too sprinkle with turmeric and pepper. I am almost 71, haven’t seen a doctor in 10 years or more.

        1. Why do people who view this site still confuse anecdotal evidence with scientific studies ? Sure, eating non-processed food is healthier than eating processed food but that’s irrelevant to the points discussed in the video (with which it’s fair to disagree, but to do so credibly should involve presenting evidence of the same sort as that presented in the video). I’m sure you can find someone who’s grandmother smoked 4 packs a day and lived to be 150, insists that the higher rates of lung cancer found for smokers in various studies must really be due to asbestos, and recommends that people who want to enjoy a long healthy life of smoking simply stay away from old buildings.

          1. My sincere apologies, Karl. This is my first time at this site and I was unaware that it is strictly a forum to exchange data from scientific studies. Other posts led me to believe one could express personal opinions connected to the subject. I consider myself suitably chastised and will restrict my comments to those substantiated by appropriate studies.

            1. Dr Nitram that isn’t necessary. You can say whatever you want. I find the recipes and insights interesting.

              The videos are amazing aren’t they? If you look under sources cited you can read the actual research or at least an abstract.

          2. Karl, please remember that scientific studies, with all do respect, are still only marginally more meaningful than ‘anecdotal’ evidence. We have all heard of studies that claim one conclusion, only to be contradicted by studies that claim different conclusions. We are each left to chose which ‘anecdotal’ studies we prefer to side with.

  6. I found this same study mentioned in It measured artery thickness. I bet a lot of studies just do blood tests. These don’t always detect atherosclerosis. Some people have normal cholesterol levels and/or pass EKG’s and still have heart disease. You actually have to look at the arteries, and that is what the study did that Michael Greger cited.

    1. Your cult jargon is mildly amusing, but greatly obnoxious. Whoever came up with the weird terminology “chicken periods”, has some mental issues.

      1. Chicken eggs are the discarded remains resulting from an unfertilized egg. Which is precisely what menstrual blood is. Not sure how comparing the two makes anyone mentally unwell.

        1. Except menstrual blood is blood and nasty, while chicken eggs are eggs…that have shells and are dry. One is absolutely disgusting, the other is not. To compare both is hardly appropriate.

  7. Dr. G., I’m a fan and follower of your website and greatly appreciate the science-based evidence you present. I have referred many clients to–many of whom are not vegan or even vegetarian but who are wanting to make healthier food choices. I am hopeful that as they learn about the many benefits of plant-based diets, they’ll shift in that direction. The photo that accompanied today’s video (a cigarette butt smashed into an egg yolk) is, in my mind, gratuitous and may turn readers away from rather than towards your site. Realize that not all of your readers are vegans but some may become vegans if your approach is respectful. (Full disclosure: I’ve been a vegetarian for the past 30+ years. I eat 1-2 locally raised, humanely produced eggs per week.)

    1. I would assume that most or all of the cholesterol content is contained in the yolk while most of the protein content is in the white (clear) portion.

  8. why are the negative symptoms of eggs so shocking? this site has promoted nothing but a plant based diet (and maybe a few insects) based on studies. i am sure there are a lot healthier foods (esp. plant foods) than eggs. so accept the data, and keep the flow of new data coming. I doubt you will ever see a study declare that eating 1 egg a day will make you live 5 years longer. some of you need to relax. even though all at lot of research states that fish are bad and toxic, i still have it in moderation, simply because you will never avoid all the unhealthy things in life. what i appreciate about this site most is that it gives reason to people to adapt new ways of eating, try new foods, and improve their health.

    1. Considering that fish is the most polluted animal product, next to fish oil, one can eat, I find it hard to accept heavy metals and other carcinogenic pollutants in moderation.

      1. It’s also been shown that the health benefits of fish and fish oils FAR outweigh any minor negative pollutant you come across (assuming you get your fish from the best sources).

  9. Dr. Greger,

    Thank you very much for making us aware of this danger. These monsters in industry deserve to be put on a very short regulatory leash since they don’t respect our right to know what effects their product has on us. Their top officers should also be prosecuted for the medical costs (and deaths) they’ve forced onto us without our knowledge and permission.

  10. Another study needs to be done with free range (non corn/crap fed chickens) vs traditional caged crap fed chickens to see if the cholesterol content in eggs produced have any impact on plaque buildup. (Or has a study been done?)

    1. Egg cholesterol varies very little between organic vs conventional, and this is simply an excuse people try to use to eat these unhealthy foods. cholesterol is inherent of eggs, and even if there was variability between the 2, it would be insignificant simply because these are all of the same species.

      1. Eggs are quite healthy, they are packed with tons of nutrition. They are a nutritional powerhouse. Another thing is people’s concerns about organic free-range vs conventional is not unfounded. So many food products that are initially very healthy are made quite unhealthy due to the processes they go through today.

        1. Hello Jo,

          Please explore this site more and you will discover that eggs have a detrimental impact on health.
          Protein content does not make a food healthy.

          1. “Eggs are loaded with high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and various trace nutrients. A large egg contains (10): Only 77 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein with all 9 essential amino acids. Rich in iron, phosphorous, selenium and vitamins A, B12, B2 and B5 (among others).”

            “One large egg contains (1):

            Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 9% of the RDA.
            Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 15% of the RDA.
            Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
            Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 7% of the RDA.
            Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
            Eggs also contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body… including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, Vitamin E, Folate and many more.
            A large egg contains 77 calories, with 6 grams of quality protein, 5 grams of fat and trace amounts of carbohydrates.

            It’s very important to realize that almost all the nutrients are contained in the yolk, the white contains only protein.

            Bottom Line: Whole eggs are incredibly nutritious, containing a very large amount of nutrients compared to the calorie load. The nutrients are found in the yolks, while the whites are mostly protein.”

            Eggs are loaded with choline, an important nutrient for the brain. In a dietary survey in the U.S. from 2003-2004, over 90% of people ate less than the daily recommended amount of choline (14)!

            The best sources of choline in the diet are egg yolks and beef liver. One large egg contains 113 mg of Choline.

            “Choline is an essential nutrient that 90% of people in the U.S. aren’t getting enough of. Egg yolks are an excellent source of choline.

            Proteins are the main building blocks of the body and serve both structural and functional purposes.

            They consist of amino acids that are linked together, kind of like beads on a string, then folded into complex shapes.

            There are about 21 amino acids that the body uses to build its proteins.

            The body can not produce 9 of these amino acids, which are deemed as “essential” and must be gotten from the diet.

            The quality of a protein source is determined by its relative amounts of these essential amino acids. A protein source that contains all of them in the right ratios is a good source of protein.

            Eggs are among the best sources of protein in the diet. In fact, the biological value (a measure of protein quality) is often evaluated by comparing it to eggs, which are given the perfect score of 100.

            Bottom Line: Eggs are an excellent source of protein, with all the essential amino acids in the right ratios.

            “Eggs Are Loaded With Lutein and Zeaxanthin, Which Protect The Eyes

            Girl Holding an Egg

            There are two antioxidants in eggs that can have powerful protective effects on the eyes.

            They are called Lutein and Zeaxanthin, both found in the yolk.

            Lutein and Zeaxanthin tend to accumulate in the retina, the sensory part of the eye.

            These antioxidants significantly reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration and Cataracts, which are among the leading causes of vision impairment and blindness in the elderly (15, 16, 17).

            In one study, eating 1.3 egg yolks per day for 4.5 weeks increased blood levels of Zeaxanthin by 114-142% and Lutein by 28-50% (18).

            Bottom Line: Eggs are very high in the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which can drastically reduce the risk of Macular Degeneration and Cataracts.

            Eggs For Breakfast Can Help You Lose Body Fat

            Eggs in a Basket

            Eggs contain only trace amounts of carbohydrates, but plenty of protein and fat.

            They score very high on a scale called the Satiety Index, which is a measure of how much foods contribute to satiety (19).

            For this reason, it is not surprising to see studies where eating eggs for breakfast leads to fat loss.

            In one study, 30 overweight or obese women consumed either a breakfast of eggs or a breakfast of bagels. Both breakfasts had the same amount of calories.

            The women in the egg group felt more full and ate less calories for the rest of the day and for the next 36 hours (20).

            In another study that went on for 8 weeks, eating eggs for breakfast lead to significant weight improvements compared to the same amount of calories from bagels. The egg group (21):

            Lost 65% more body weight.
            Lost 16% more body fat.
            Had a 61% greater reduction in BMI.
            Had a 34% greater reduction in waist circumference (a good marker for the dangerous abdominal fat).

            Eggs Improve Your Cholesterol Profile and do NOT Raise Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease


            The main reason people have been warned about eggs is that they’re loaded with cholesterol.

            One large egg contains 212 mg of cholesterol, which is a LOT compared to most other foods.

            However, just because a food contains cholesterol doesn’t mean that it will raise the bad cholesterol in the blood.

            The liver actually produces cholesterol, every single day. If you eat cholesterol, then your liver produces less. If you don’t eat cholesterol, then your liver produces more of it.

            The thing is, many studies show that eggs actually improve your cholesterol profile.

            Eggs tend to raise HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and they tend to change the LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol to a large subtype which is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease (2, 3, 4).

            One study discovered that 3 whole eggs per day reduced insulin resistance, raised HDL and increased the size of LDL particles in men and women with metabolic syndrome (5).

            Multiple studies have examined the effects of egg consumption on the risk of cardiovascular disease and found no association between the two (6, 7, 8).

            However, some studies do show an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetic patients. This needs further research though and probably doesn’t apply on a low-carb diet, which can in many cases reverse type II diabetes (9, 10, 11).

            Bottom Line: Studies show that eggs actually improve the cholesterol profile. They raise HDL (the good) cholesterol and increase the size of LDL particles, which should lower the risk of heart disease.”

            I see more than just protein.

              1. Well one decade people say margarine is great and butter is bad. Next decade butter is bad margarine is bad. One decade eggs are bad, the next eggs are good, then back to bad. People don’t know jack, and I think people honestly have too much they don’t know because they make decisions based on such studies that are probably flawed and don’t get the whole picture.

                At the end of the day, people have lived off of eggs for a very long time and they are indeed full of minerals, proteins and vitamins. That much I do know. I also know they are filling and help me curb any urge to eat unhealthy junk later on. Someone’s right, and someone’s wrong and I’m done playing the guessing game. I will stop worrying and just eat what seems natural, and eggs seem natural enough to me.

                1. I have provided you with the necessary links to see that you are mistaken. If you choose to not view them and not know the risks of egg consumption that is your prerogative, but do know that you are doing yourself a huge disservice.

                  1. I find very many conflicting finds/studies that say quite the opposite. Who can I trust? Why should I trust these over a different study? Next year we’ll find something else we thought was healthy is now unhealthy, and we’ll find something that we thought was unhealthy is now healthy. This is a pattern I’ve seen over some decades.

                    1. The studies do not conflict if they are of a similar design. It is difficult for those who are not scientifically literate to disseminate and interpret various studies with differing conclusions. I encourage you to view the videos I referenced earlier as this is discussed, as this back and forth will lead no where if you do not understand my viewpoint, as I understand yours.

    1. No, there was a study done where rats were fed Egg Beaters and a control group was fed regular, shell eggs. The Egg Beater group died. I wouldn’t eat that crap, especially if I was a rat.

  11. These and so many other “research” articals are junk. Unless all the individuals in this study ate all the same thing and madew the same movement etc then there is no way to tell what they have ingested that caused the issues or their lack of movement. These are becoming tiresome-just like the report you found on the Gerson therapy. Why would I trust any MD with any study?

  12. The
    general argument about eggs being bad depends on the interpretation of
    two research papers (shown in the video).

    the first paper, the video’s author makes a claim comparing egg
    consumption to smoking 25,000 cigarettes over some number of years.
    However, this study had nothing to do with egg consumption at all – if
    you search the article, the word “egg” isn’t used even once. The
    cholesterol-intake measure used by these researchers was for ANY dietary
    source of cholesterol, and not eggs specifically.

    the second article, the way these researchers defined cigarette
    consumption and egg consumption was complex and not readily
    interpretable. Further, the graphs showed in the video require further
    explanation, and do not represent what most people will probably think.
    Basically, what these researchers found was that eating two eggs per
    week was nearly as bad as smoking a whole packet of cigarettes per week
    (which is very alarming!). However, it should be noted that the
    participants in this study were patients who’d been referred to a heart
    disease prevention clinic. In other words, they were a sample of people
    who were vulnerable to heart problems, and NOT a representative sample
    of the general population. Furthermore, the sample was overweight
    (average BMI = 27.4) and 13.3% were diabetic (higher than in the general
    population). An even more serious problem is that it’s very plausible
    that the people in this study who ate more eggs also ate greater amounts
    of other high-cholesterol foods like burgers, steak, etc. If this is
    true, then the supposed negative effects of eggs would be inflated by
    these confounding variables – perhaps dramatically so. Another way of
    putting this, is that the measure of egg intake might *actually* be
    measuring the intake of a whole bunch of other foods as well. Since the
    study did NOT measure the intake of any other kind of food except eggs,
    there is no way of exploring this issue within this study. Thus, no firm
    conclusions can be made from this study about how bad eggs are for you,
    nor can any firm comparisons be made against cigarette consumption.
    Even if you *could* make these conclusions, they would not necessarily
    be generalizable to the general population.

  13. Don’t cut back on eggs and dietary cholesterol:

    Fred A. Kummerow. Interaction between sphingomyelin and oxysterols contributes to atherosclerosis and sudden death. American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, 2013; 3 (1): 17-26

  14. You are sad. I would really like to know what you eat and how healthy you are? Judging by the picture not so much.put your brains to something useful.

  15. My family eats eggs every day, we grew up on them just like my dad and his whole family did, guess what here is a shocker for you the average age of death (Natural causes not accident or some other freak thing) 78 OMG Eggs are a killer

  16. It depends how you cook them, obviously eating shit loads of fried eggs won’t do you much good, but there’s nothing wrong with eating eggs, and as a talented athlete my S&C coach encourages it as a meal, if I have a six egg breakfast I don’t need to eat again until 7/8pm, get real people

  17. A Michigan State University analysis, reported a year later, analyzed the diets and blood-cholesterol data for more than 27,000 people—a representative cross-section of the U.S. population. It found that cholesterol was lower in people who ate more than four eggs per week than among people who eschewed eggs.

  18. hi doctor,

    does the “cholesterol increase” effect can be happened if I eat the free-ranch egg. coz i prepare 6 free-ranch eggs a week for emergency meal if I dont have much time to cook any healthy vegan’s food. =)

  19. I’m new to this site and I have to say, I’m impressed and a bit overwhelmed. I have an egg/cholesterol question, but please bear with me as I go into a bit of exposition about my story.

    I’m a physician (psychiatrist) which means I received virtually no formal nutrition education. I have been a strong proponent of exercise for some time after I realized that I had gained 50# and my BMI exceeded 30 at age 29 in residency. Over the years I brought my BMI to just below 24 primarily by exercising moderately to intensely for an hour 6 times a week. My diet had not been bad by American standards. I would have a modest meat serving a day or so, eat 4-5 serving s of fruits/vegetables most days, eat breads/pastas/rice/cereals fairly frequently, eat fish a couple times a week. I have been addicted to diet cola since age 15 seeing the transition from saccharine to NutraSweet.

    I finally decided 3 weeks ago to stop diet colas and switched to a cup of morning coffee. This (and concerns about my parents’ health) led me to realizing I was clueless about health and diet and sent me searching for continuing education. I ran into and subsequently Dr. Greger’s lectures. At first, I was a bit annoyed thinking he was just proselytizing vegan. I even gave a rating of “somewhat biased” on the CME feedback. I found this sit though and have just been wowed.

    I’ve changed my diet to include daily greens/beans/nuts/berries. I’ve added regular citrus, apples and prunes and an evening glass of green/white tea (tonight with a bit of honey, cinnamon, cloves and lemon…not bad!) I still tend to have a serving of cottage cheese during lunch and sardines a couple times a week and boiled eggs a couple times a week.

    Here is my question. Is an entirely vegan diet necessary for optimal health if my labs physical health seem to be good?

    I had my yearly physical right before making any dietary changes. My cholesterol levels were as follows:

    LDL 79
    HDL 95
    VLDL 18

    This has been consistent over the last 6 years at least. This is not because of “good genes” as obesity runs on both sides of the family and heart disease strongly on my fathers. I’m a bit reluctant to abandon eggs and fish altogether if my labs are looking good and I’m in good health. I am willing to try reducing animal product consumption to under 20% of caloric intake as a start. I have noticed a 3-4 pound weight loss over the week of dietary changes (which I assume is due to water or fecal loss.)

    Anyways, this is an overly long monologue, but I’m not convinced that eating free range organic eggs is poison. I guess cognitive dissonance dies slowly. I would welcome feedback from anyone. Thanks.

  20. Pasture eggs are totally different…and cholesterol is our main hormone producing substance and is an antioxidant…so this seems to be very misleading and a poorly facilitated study

  21. Does it come from the yolk or the entire egg. Ive noticed lots of vegetarian foods like veggie burgers have egg whites in them. Whats the deal?

  22. My grandmother smoked 60 ciggarettes a day, without a filter, and ate 20 raw eggs a day. She lived until she was 28. What are these so-called experts talking about!

  23. Even though I don’t eat eggs because of moral & ethical reasons, it looks to me like this study was done just eating egg yolks. I’m wondering what the research would have looked like eating whole, organic, pasture raised eggs. Or even any eggs for that matter. I normally think that eating whole food sources & not just a part of it is better (ie, eating a whole egg vs only egg yolks or egg whites).

  24. I would be interested to know if the elevated cholesterol of those who ate the “one egg a day” was in individuals who were meat eaters also. Would the higher cholesterol level of a single egg be as deleterious for a vegetarian, nearly vegan person as for those who regularly eat meat?

    1. As shown from the graphs presented by Dr. Greger the more eggs you eat the higher your risk. Whether you’re talking about risk of strokes or heart attacks or getting a food borne illness such as salmonella see… Unfortunately the decision to avoid certain foods often needs to be made well in advance of the problems they may or may not cause. My preference and my recommendations to my patients, in an effort to have them avoid chronic disease and disability, is to minimize risk as much as possible by not consuming eggs.

  25. It appears as if these phantom doctors (Dr. Doctor) are also loose in the meat and dairy industries.

    TERRI, MARY, JC, EGGFAN and others, there are ALWAYS EXCEPTIONS to any medical study; not many though, but that does not negate the information in the post and video.

    Life styles, physical make-up and genes play an extremely important part in our mental and physical well being. Don and I CAN! :-))

  26. Deborah Gant Producer & Host of Focus on Natural Health Education & Community Development Inc. on Channel 18 PEG-TV. We should work on discarding all flesh products and bi-products from our diets. There are various diseases in all flesh meats, including all dairy products such as eggs, cows or goat milk, cheese etc. Please feel free to contact me at 601)278-1868 for further information.

  27. Hmm, this study stinks!

    “So what are we looking at here?

    We’re looking at a study in which a trio of researchers (two of whom with extensive ties to the statin industry) quizzed a group of middle-aged and elderly stroke patients about their lifelong egg intake and smoking history, making sure to stress the importance of accuracy and honesty in their answers. Yes, you heard me right: they expected people to remember every last egg they ever ate. Still, everyone in the study was assumed to have supernatural memory, so I guess it evens out.

    Those who ate the most eggs were the oldest – almost 70 years old on
    average, compared to the relatively sprightly 55 year-old egg avoiders.
    It’s pretty well accepted that with age comes the progression of atherosclerosis,
    a process that takes, well, time to occur. Plaque doesn’t just snap
    into existence; it develops. All else being equal, the older you get,
    the more plaque you’ll have.

    Those who ate the most eggs also smoked the most and were the most
    diabetic. To their credit, the authors tried to control for those
    factors, plus several others. Although they tried to control for sex,
    blood lipids, blood pressure, smoking, body weight index, and presence
    of diabetes, the study’s authors didn’t – couldn’t – account for all
    potentially confounding variables. In their own words,
    “more research should be done to take in possible confounders such as
    exercise and waist circumference.” Hmm. “Possible” confounders, eh?”

    Read more:

  28. Anyone who seeks information on nutrition and health topics, opens a
    site on the internet and finds an expert who speaks .Just like in here.
    But there are many other sites on the internet in which, other doctors
    and experts speak often about the SAME topic but take the exact opposite
    position.On the one hand you have(for instance here) Dr.Gregger talking
    about eggs being very bad for your health and on the other hand you
    have another doctorexpertscientist ,assurring you that eggs are GREAT
    for you. They are both doctors,experts, and they both refer to STUDIES
    to support what they say. WHAT on EARTH should you believe?
    have 2 doctors,2 experts,1 topic and 2 contadictory positions.I don`t
    care who is who and obviously this is not a matter of preference “whom
    to believe“ ,as it is in the case of “which football team to
    support“ ,but the above simple fact may make it difficult to decide
    what to do. ( specifically about eggs,I`ve seen at least 3 doctors
    speaking in favor of eggs, on you tube .It`d be useful to listen to each
    other`s take on the arguements of the other. )
    Maybe we could play
    the game “fact or fiction“ or put the names of the contradicting
    experts on a graph .Kidding of course :D .
    I`d like to read any commentsanswers on how to handle this dilemma and information.Thanks.

  29. i don’t understand the comparison. how long do you have to be eating one single egg a day to compare it to 25000 cigarettes, 5 cigarettes a day for 15 years. do you eat 1 egg a day for your whole life or also for 15 years?

  30. I read on this page

    that atherosclerosis is caused by small LDL particle size rather than overall number or total cholesterol. And perhaps eating excessive carbohydrates in some individuals who are “carb sensitive” might make the LDL particle sizes smaller and cause inflammation in the body.
    Furthermore, these tests showing people who ate eggs had more atherosclerosis might also be because of the “other” foods they ate. If they ate whatever carbohydrates they wanted like bread and pasta, then they would have more problems than if they ate a low carb whole food diet.

    You can’t say something is bad unless you have the entire picture. This is why clinical studies and following patients and developing many success stories without the use of medication is much more powerful than any research study because the research study tries to look at one specific thing and determine the cause or culprit but does not realize that many things might make that culprit good or bad.

    Instead a research study that focuses on the “context” or kind of diet in an individual suited for that type of diet would be more effective. Plus give the patients whole foods that are organic and clean.

    Eggs + eating whatever carbs you want = a disaster waiting to happen
    Eggs pastured organic vegetarian fed + low carb vegetarian diet with lots of vegetables will give much different results.

    When I went on eggs last year for a month from being vegan I lost bodyfat and gained muscle mass without even trying.
    Since going back to a vegan lifestyle I have had a harder time getting as lean as I was when on the eggs and I get more bloated.

    1. Peter Attia is a quack. PlantPositive has some videos on him

      The idea that small LDL particles are the only bad ones and large LDL is benign is just something made up by people selling low carb diets as a way to excuse one of the biggest flaws of the diet, which is that it raises your LDL cholesterol and consequently your risk of developing heart disease. Because their diets can’t effectively lower LDL, they claim that your LDL when eating low carb is a special kind of LDL that isn’t bad. Here’s a paper that explains the small vs large confusion.

  31. can you please explain how a hazard ratio of 1.17 cf. 2.08 are the same thing? the 95% confidence intervals don’t over lap.

  32. Egg farmers, the egg counsel , anyone who makes money from the egg industry will lie and lie and lie to get people to eat eggs. They do not care that the eggs are killing the consumers and free range organic eggs are just as unhealthy as eggs from the sh!t hole mass produced egg factories. And just in case anyone gives a sh!t billions of baby chicks are ground alive so YOU can eat an egg !!! Google it !!!

  33. I never believed the anti-egg hoopla years ago when I learned that it was done by the Cereal Board….Money talks and the truth gets distorted to favor that money. I had relatives who loved their bacon and eggs and lived to their mid-nineties in good health before the anti-egg programs!

  34. The over consumption of just about anything is bad. Breath too much and you can cause asthma and possibly die, drink too much water and you can die. Don’t breath or drink and you will die.

  35. Eggs are something like coffee. Some studies and specialists are saying they are healthy and some of them are saying opposite. Obviously there is differents between organic and non organic produce.
    Human almost always forget that there is plenty of different people type and everyone is different.
    Smiking is very bad habit which is really hard to get rid off.
    I would sugest to reduce animal produce to minimum and maximaze grown produce(vegetables & fruits).

    1. Eddie: People react differently to smoking too. I hear all the time about so and so who smoked a pack a day for decades and lived to a happy 100 or whatever. However, as you know, for the overwhelming majority of human beings, smoking is bad for us. We know this because the overwhelming majority of the body of scientific evidence shows this to be true.
      The same is true for eggs and other animal products. Some people are different as you point out. However, these foods are bad for the vast majority of humans.
      So, why are you still hearing of studies and “specialists” saying the opposite? Note that there were over 100 studies that showed that smoking was healthy or neutral for health. That doesn’t change what the body of evidence says. Similarly, we went many many many years when the specialists kept telling us that smoking was healthy or OK despite what the body of scientific evidence said. We are in the same fix now with food. It may take some work, but we will get people educated eventually.
      As for the difference between organic and non organic eggs: you might want to learn more about *how* eggs are bad for us. These factors affect all eggs, whether organic or not. The following topic page on eggs might be a good place to start:

  36. Hi! I try to make short summaries on swedish on Instagram of what i find interesting here. I got many reactions on this that eggs are bad. And one asked about this article: . You say that the egg industry are not allowed to claim that eggs are safe or healthy, but this article from 2017 seems to claim otherwise. Is what the article says true? Can you please comment och explain if I misunderstood this. Thank you!

  37. Why do people have to be so protective of their food choices? I’m sure this website is a tool designed to help people with the decisions they make about food choices in order for you to NOT have an ignorant outlook on the food industry.
    Personally, I don’t eat eggs because of the negative impact they have on my health, but if you eat eggs, I couldn’t care less, go for it!
    Arguing about what you want other people to see in your food debate is childish.
    A good researcher presents information and let’s the other person decide.
    Which is what this website does, no need to get emotional about food.

  38. It is nice that all of these folks lived to a ripe old age while eating lots of eggs but we want to remember that one person is pretty much statistically insignificant. There are always outliers that go against the trends. What counts more is study of dozens, hundreds and better yet thousands. Making decisions off of only one data point also commits the logically fallacy of jumping to a hasty conclusion.

  39. Help me understand something. I’m new here (recent come to Jesus moment re, plaque in my body) — some other blogs devoted to evidence-based nutrition info argue that there is no proof that eating say, eggs (OR increasing LDL) increases the chances of future heart attacks/stroke (look at for example the skeptical cardiologist). Are they just looking at completely different studies or, is there some basic difference in understanding as to what is good/bad for one’s arteries? It’s confusing, to say the least. I wish I could find something in these alternative universe blogs that disqualifies them from being taken seriously but… some of them sound just as reasonable and logical as this one. Confused.

    1. Dr. Jon has provided a good question for you to consider, but I agree smooth-talking eff-promoting sources using pseudoscience can be convincing and create confusion. Check these out for clarification based on research, not marketing:

  40. The only way you, personally, can really see for yourself is to read the studies and analyze the data. You wouldn’t be confused. You’d laugh and be convinced NOT to eat ANY cholesterol, but I suggest you think of it like this: no one has ever shown REDUCED death rates eating cholesterol or INCREASED death rates eating plant based. So if the “cholesterol skeptics” are correct, well, you ate a few eggs but didn’t live any longer. If the “cholesterol skeptics” are wrong, then you’re dead. So why take the chance?

    Dr. Ben

  41. Probably not. They are animal protein which is associated with increased disease risk…and….eating eggs is highly associated with increased premature death….and….. egg whites are very high in the sulfur containing amino acids such as methionine which cancer cells thrive on.

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