In every single Food for Life nutrition education and cooking class that I have ever taught, the question, “What’s the Big Deal with Eggs and Health?” always comes up. It’s a loaded question that requires separation of actual facts from industry-funded fiction.
Let’s take a minute to talk about the nutritional value of eggs. Eye-opening 3-minute video from NutritionFacts.org is included below.
I love the quote from Dr. Neal Barnard with Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “There are only two problems with eggs– the yolk and the white.”
The Yolk is loaded with cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, and nearly 70% of an egg’s calories are from fat—a big portion of which is saturated.
Egg White is pure animal protein. Animal protein has a number of negative effects on the body including causing inflammation, putting a burden on liver and kidneys, raising IGF-1 hormone levels, as well as causing a rise in cholesterol levels.
“Adding a concentrated source of animal protein to the diet can increase the risk for kidney disease, kidney stones, and some types of cancer.” —Susan Levin, MS, RD
Cholesterol in Fast Food Burgers and Eggs
- Big Mac 65mg
- Big Mac with cheese 80mg
- Burger King Whopper Sandwich 90mg
- Burger King Whopper with cheese 115mg
- One medium-sized egg 187-213mg
Studies suggest that there is a dose-response positive association between egg consumption and the risk of Cardiovascular Disease and diabetes.”– Egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes: a meta-analysis. NCBI PubMed
A widespread misconception has been developing among the Canadian public and among physicians. It is increasingly believed that consumption of dietary cholesterol and egg yolks is harmless.”–Dietary cholesterol and egg yolks: not for patients at risk of vascular disease. NCBI PubMed
Since one egg has the same amount of cholesterol as a Big Mac, it is unnecessary—even detrimental to your health—to consume eggs or egg products. One egg has more cholesterol than your body needs.
In fact, any added dietary cholesterol is unnecessary because our bodies already produce more than the amount we require. An excess of cholesterol leads to heart disease, so it’s no surprise that a 2010 study in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology found that those who consume the most eggs have a 19 percent increased risk for cardiovascular problems.”– Physicians Committee
Money-Driven Myths Fueled and Funded by the Egg Industry
Many of us remember back in 2014 when the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) suddenly removed limits on dietary cholesterol, based on a study that had just been released.
The new study titled Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality analyzed nine papers that included more than 600,000 people and concluded that consuming butter is not linked to a higher risk for heart disease and might be slightly protective against type 2 diabetes.
Media outlets grabbed onto this information that claimed saturated fat wasn’t bad for us after all and blasted it out to the public. TIME magazine’s front cover touted, “Eat Butter!”
After following the money-trail concerning this study that went against long-standing recommendations, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found that several of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) members came from institutions that were funded by the egg industry and relied on egg-industry-funded research findings when it removed limits on dietary cholesterol.
Physicians Committee filed a lawsuit which alleged that in allowing this to happen, the USDA and HHS violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which mandates that the advisory committee “will not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or any special interest.”
According to previously unreleased documents obtained by the Physicians Committee under the Freedom of Information Act, the American Egg Board had directly nominated one individual who was then placed on the DGAC.
A second member was actively receiving egg-industry research grants according to industry documents, and two others worked at a university that had requested and received more than $100,000 from the American Egg Board for research aimed at challenging the cholesterol limits.
The DGAC then skipped its usual procedure of reviewing scientific studies and recommended that the cholesterol limit be dropped without an appropriate review of relevant research.
Breaking with the Food and Drug Administration and the Institute of Medicine, both of which hold that cholesterol in eggs and other foods increases blood cholesterol levels, the DGAC reported in February 2015 that cholesterol is no longer “a nutrient of concern for overconsumption” and that “available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.”–PCRM
No wonder the public is confused! Even the medical community has a hard time sifting through facts and fiction. Industries make it more difficult by muddying the waters. This short 3-minute clip helps debunk some of the myths.
*All sources linked above in each research paper title or in author’s name.
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