You surely don’t need to be a research scientist to see the flaws in the utterly ridiculous study whose findings that recently made the news. Researchers in Canada surveyed over 1200 middle aged men and women in a vascular prevention clinic where they were referred after suffering a stroke or “mini-stroke.” The study participants were asked to recall their egg yolk consumption over their lifetime. In their study, the folks that ate the most eggs were also the people who smoked the most and had the highest degree of atherosclerotic plaque.
Right from the beginning there are two big problems: dietary recall is notoriously inaccurate AND the food eaten with eggs, the quality of the eggs, and the method of preparation all vary widely and all affect the impact of the eggs on a person’s health.
Mark Sisson on his website - Mark’s Daily Apple - catalogues numerous problems with the study as well as numerous studies exonerating eggs and their cholesterol- and fat-rich yolks. He cites two important confounding variables that were not taken into account, namely degree of exercise and waist size, two strong predictors of atherosclerotic disease. Remember, these are people who are already smoking and eating eggs, in defiance of “Doctor’s Orders”, so one might be quite curious whether they were responsible exercisers or not. He also points out what surprisingly none of the news media have picked up: two of the studies three authors are recipients of hefty payments from the statin promoting industry.
But, hey, I have personal experience that suggests to me what the real problem is. Not long after I read Gary Taubes’ book, Why We Get Fat, I cut out almost all grains from my diet. I corresponded with Taubes personally to learn about the “insulin-free window” that follows exercise. After a session of vigorous exercise - which in my case is rowing with the Women’s Racing Team on the nearby lake - you have a time window of the same duration in which you can eat carbs without stimulating insulin. I clung to that message for one reason: I couldn’t bear the thought of eating wonderful eggs without toast to sop up the yolk remaining on the plate.
Potatoes, toast (with jam), and pancakes are all wonderful with eggs because you get to eat the yolk. The same foods are all terrible with eggs because they load you with carbohydrates and insulin (unless you’ve been out exercising) that set you up to gain midsection weight from the excess of calories presented in that particular composition and to suffer from greater levels of inflammation in general. For the last 50 years conventional thinking has failed to confirm a link between dietary fat or cholesterol and heart disease. The emerging wisdom pins the blame more likely on excess carbohydrates as the culprit. A breakfast with eggs at the center, surrounded by potatoes, toast, and jam is definitely a problem: high fat in the presence of high carbs make a deadly combination. I would wager that for every egg yolk consumed in this study, there was a hazardous dose of carbohydrates that was the true source of the problem.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST: I must admit that I raise my own free-ranging chickens for their eggs and benefit from their sale to a few friends such that I am able to eat my pampered, pastured, organic grain-fed, soy and corn-free, chickens’ eggs for something like the price of store-bought eggs.