You’ve heard for years that smoking is dangerous…maybe the worst thing you can do. And quitting is the single best thing you can do for your health.
But according to a new study, cutting out eggs would be equally as good. The new trial finds that regular egg consumption is nearly as bad as smoking. Both “habits” increase the thickness of your carotid arteries.
Well…in theory. Even the authors of the study admit that their work produces a “hypothesis,” not a result.
But as trivial as that is, you’ve probably heard about this study. It got a LOT of media play. It’s the kind of quirky headline editors love. It’s surprising. It’s amusing. And it runs contrary to logic. Oh brother — does it! It misses logic by a mile.
Not only that, but eating egg yolks might actually protect you from some of the damage that smoking does.
The antioxidant factor
How many egg yolks do you eat each week? And how long have you been eating eggs? Now, do you think the answers to those two questions would accurately predict your egg intake over your lifetime?
That’s one of the big problems with this study. Egg consumption is only estimated and averaged based on people remembering a lifetime of breakfasts. With a ridiculous methodology like that, we can’t rely on any of the results.
You may have also heard that the study authors have drug company ties. Some believe that drug companies promoted this study to crank up cholesterol fears. That way, they’ll sell more cholesterol-lowering drugs.
To be honest, I’m not reading too much into that detail. I wouldn’t put it past drug companies to push such a silly little study just to get some scare headlines. But there’s something much more important going on here. And it’s deeply frustrating.
It’s the blatant misinformation. It’s misinformation that could actually harm your health. And that’s beyond irritating.
The Atlantic magazine is one of the very few mainstream media outlets that saw this study for the huge turkey it is.
The author, Kristin Wartman, says what I’ve been saying for years. Cholesterol intake from egg yolk does no harm. She notes that well over half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. And about half of all heart disease patients have normal LDL levels.
Oddly, even the lead author of the egg yolk study isn’t concerned about the very slight bump in cholesterol that eggs may cause. He tells Wartman about his real concern. He says that a high cholesterol meal increases oxidative stress.
Well, his worries are over!
Just a couple of months ago I told you about new research from Canada. That study revealed that digestive enzymes convert egg proteins into peptides. And those peptides have a powerful antioxidant activity.
So you can rest easy about the oxidative stress. The egg is equipped to take care of that.
Meanwhile, eggs — yolks and all — are loaded with nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamins D and E, and a host of B vitamins. And then round that out with ample minerals: calcium, potassium, and iron.
Now let’s go back to the original question… Eggs or smoking. Which should you give up?
It’s a ridiculous question from a ridiculous study.
“Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque” Atherosclerosis, Published online ahead of print 8/10/12, atherosclerosis-journal.com
“Sunny-Side Up: In Defense of Eggs” Kristin Wartman, The Atlantic, 8/27/12, theatlantic.com