For years dietitians, government health authorities and a whole array of other more or less perplexed individuals have been vilifying eggs, shouting on top of soap boxes how you should limit egg intake (usual recommendation: to 1 whole egg/day) unless your aim is to commit nutritional suicide by catapulting your cholesterol levels, clogging up your arteries and finally dropping dead after years of agony as a direct result of horrendous egg overconsumption, making everybody under the sun confused as hell and scared shitless in the process.
In fact, I can still acutely remember how eggs were bullied in my household as I was growing up, too.
When I asked my mom “why can’t I eat more than one egg today?” with an 11-year-old’s infinite curiosity, she merely replied with “because it’s bad for your cholesterol”, most probably without even being aware of any scientific evidence behind her reasoning, thus ending that particular discussion abruptly and letting hearsay prevail.
Fortunately, as we grow older and (hopefully) engage in the habit of questioning “conventional wisdom”, we discover that our parents are not the magically intellectual creatures with super powers we once in our little minds had them pegged as.
Sure, they did a good job for about three minutes it took to conceive you, then gave birth to you, provided you with food, shelter and clothing when you couldn’t take care of yourself and (hopefully again) gave you a beating to remember for the ages if you were acting outta line, if only to remind you that nobody likes a bratty kid.
Nevertheless, our parents do have their flaws as well. And more often than not they’ll absorb and pass on false nutrition information just like everybody else, because they “read about it in a paper”, “heard it from a colleague” or the most fatal one – “everybody knows that it’s true”.
Why am I so convinced a child in the 21st century is by and large being led astray by his parents in his early upbringing when it comes to developing and teaching a sound nutritional or life philosophy to the young’uns?
If my friends and relatives with kids are any representative of the larger populace, announcing the next generation is best prepared for a lifetime of suck, seeing their naive hopes and dreams of greatness become crushed as they keep on stuffing their faces with junk, watching crappy reality TV and remaining occupied with finding fault in other people, circumstances, “bad economy” or Charlie Sheen while withering away in the dark, lonely confines of mediocrity is like saying this chick is only remotely attractive…
I doubt any parent would voluntarily expose their progeny to vast amounts of chips, cookies, candy and various similar garbage foods if they could see into the future and watch as their now grown-up descendants fight obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure or any other health condition brought about by ill-informed decisions tracable back to their childhood, while simultaneously dissing healthy proper foods like eggs.
But that’s another topic for another day.
If you made it through my mini-rant this far, you must have gathered I’m not too keen on taking anything at face value. There’s loads of bullshit flying around and the deeper you dig, the stinkier it gets.
“Eggs are approximately 9.5% shell, 63% albumen (egg white), and 27.5% yolk.” (1)
If you listened to mainstream dietary advice and got rid of the yolk, you’d be throwing away over a third of a whole egg everytime you ate one. I don’t know about you, but in my eyes spending my hard-earned cash on food and then slinging a big chunk of it straight into the trash is a huge waste – both financially and environmentally.
In case you commute to work in a Gulfstream IV and openly hate Greenpeace like hardcore feminists despise their husbands, you probably won’t give a rat’s ass about any of that. Though you might wanna consider the following:
“Eggs are a high-quality source of protein, fat, and various micronutrients.”
“Egg yolks possess a surprisingly diverse range of protective biological functions, including the potential to prevent vision degeneration.”
Ok, so on all accounts eggs seem pretty awesome. But they’re bad for your cholesterol. At least that’s what everybody says, right?
Eggs and “nasty” cholesterol: How the whole shebang started
In my endeavor to unearth the specific origin of the egg and bad cholesterol myth, I was unable to pinpoint the primary study or research indicating the causality between consuming whole eggs and heart disease. This, however, is what I discovered:
“The misconception surrounding the effects of dietary cholesterol on health originates from the early part of the 20th century, when experimental models for coronary atherosclerosis were developed by feeding cholesterol or cholesterol-rich foods such as butter to animals, particularly the rabbit or rat; it is important to note that many of these regimens were therefore also high in SFA [saturated fatty acids].” (2)
Such studies led to the somewhat simplistic conclusion that because cholesterol was the key component of the classic atherosclerotic lesion, dietary cholesterol must be central to the aetiology of the disorder in both animals and humans (see Mann 2001).
Extrapolation from these animal models to humans is notably unreliable because of the unphysiological quantities of fat fed to animals adapted to low fat, high carbohydrate diets and marked variations in lipoprotein physiology, response to diet and susceptibility to coronary disease between different animal species (McNamara 2001; Lee & Griffin 2006).“
As a sidenote, isn’t it quite remarkable though, that studies exposing this myth have been around for at least a decade yet the mainstream has not picked up on them?
“The misunderstanding of the relationship between dietary and blood cholesterol originated in part from the erroneous belief that the cholesterol we eat converts directly into blood cholesterol, but also from the strong dietary messages about egg restriction that emanated primarily from the United States (US) in the 1970s.”
Adding to the long list of various true gems the Yanks are to be thanked for: fast food, nuclear weapons, Atkins diet, KY Jelly, space tourism and now banning egg yolks. (7) God bless America!
At this point we’ve already derived that egg yolks are being bad-mouthed as a food to either minimize or avoid altogether due to their cholesterol content.
But what exactly is cholesterol?
“Cholesterol is a component of all animal (including human) cell membranes, a critical requirement of infant growth, and a precursor to a range of hormones in the body.”
Most notably, cholesterol is the precursor to testosterone.
As a reminder, testosterone has been scientifically proven to improve mental and physical energy, increase muscle size and strength and enhance libido and erectile function. (3)
In other words, more testosterone in your system leads to a stronger mind and body. Which in turn helps transform you from a shy, weak, chubby WoW fanatic into a village-pillaging, invader-vanquishing, unleash-all-hell-on-thy-enemy warrior who – contrary to the modern man – does not celebrate victory in battle by watching re-runs of Friends with a Miller Lite in his hand since he’s too busy spreading his genes with ridiculously hot broads in a raunchy free-for-all bacchanalia smorgasbord, ancient Roman style.
“Extensive research has not clearly established a link between egg consumption and risk for coronary heart disease.” (4)
Eggscusez-moi, what’s the takeaway?
If you’ve been reading this article paying at least an inkling of attention, you’ll have realized by now eggs are not the villain they are made to be in the mainstream media.
Here are a few additional highlights I found of the more positive effects related to eating whole eggs:
“Aside from their well-known high protein quality, eggs have a surprisingly wide range of beneficial biological effects. Both the white and the yolk have anti-microbial, anti-adhesive (thus anti-infective), protease-inhibitory (thus anti-cancer), anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.”
“In fact, the slew of nutrients in an egg yolk is so comprehensive that a few a day would offer better insurance than a multi-vitamin. Most importantly, the yolk contains most of the nutrients in an egg.” (6)
“Although increases in dietary cholesterol can produce small increases in blood cholesterol, the link between increased blood cholesterol and cardiovascular risk is far from clearly established. It’s an outdated hypothesis that does not have a consistent base of evidence.”
If plenty of evidence to the contrary exists, then why do dietitians and other “authorities” still claim that yolks are bad for you? It’s time to bust this myth and finish those talking heads off for good.
“[D]ietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption should not be generalized to include all individuals. We need to acknowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in their regular diet.”
In my eyes, research by Griffin et al. published in The European Journal of Nutrition wraps this topic up neatly: “There is no convincing evidence to link an increased intake of dietary cholesterol or eggs with coronary heart disease through raised blood cholesterol. Indeed, eggs make a nutritional contribution to a healthy, calorie-restricted diet. We have shown that when two eggs a day are eaten by people who are actively losing weight on a calorie-restricted diet, blood cholesterol can still be reduced.” (5)
Don’t bully the yolk. Go ahead and eat it!
(1) Aragon, Alan: Research Review (online) – June 2008 p. 2-6
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