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The incredible edible egg

January 28, 2013

Right?  I don’t know.  I have doubted the benefits of the egg the past few years as I deepened my pursuit of health.  I never actually came across any research about the harmful effect of the egg…but in my quest to eliminate more animal products from my diet and focus on the benefits of a plant strong diet, I seemed to have pushed aside the egg.  

But wait, you are saying “what about cholesterol”…aren’t egg yolks full of artery clogging cholesterol?  Isn’t this why I’ve dulled down my omelets of late (when I indulge) with only egg whites?  

I’ve experienced one of those weeks where from three totally different searches, for three different clients, I came across several articles promoting the egg and how it has attained a bad rap for all the wrong reasons.  When this happened again this morning…I felt like I needed to share my findings in case others were under the same impression.

Here’s a quote from Penny Kris-Etherton PhD, R.D., distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University:

“For most of us the cholesterol we eat—in eggs or any other food—doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol; the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. The chief heart-disease culprits are trans fats, which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol.” 

I have to admit…that surprised me a bit.  Seen through that lens, eggs look more benign: a large egg contains 2 grams of saturated fat (10 percent of the Daily Value) and no trans fats. 

I did know, even though I had some egg confusion, that cholesterol plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of our bodies.  

Here are some further riveting cholesterol facts from the work of Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD and author of The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease.

Facts from his book:

  1. Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance that you need to be healthy. High cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease.
  2. People who have low blood cholesterol have the same rates of heart disease as people who have high blood cholesterol.
  3. The cholesterol found in your blood comes from two sources: cholesterol in food that you eat and cholesterol that your liver makes from other nutrients.
    The amount of cholesterol that your liver produces varies according to how much cholesterol you eat. If you eat a lot of cholesterol, your liver produces less. If you don’t eat much cholesterol, your liver produces more. This is why a low cholesterol diet does not typically decrease a person’s blood cholesterol by more than a few percent.
  4. Drugs that solely lower your cholesterol do not decrease your risk of dying from heart disease, nor do they increase your lifespan. These drugs pose dangers to your health and may decrease your lifespan.
  5. The newer cholesterol-lowering drugs – called statins – do reduce your risk of heart disease, but through mechanisms that are not related to lower blood cholesterol. And alarmingly, statins like lipitor mevacor, zocor, pravachol, and lescol are known to stimulate cancer in rodents.

 If you want to go a bit deeper on the science behind cholesterol and look at LDL/HDL facts, check out this blog post by Dr. Ben Kim on “What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Cholesterol”.

Okay, so back to the incredible edible egg.  Yes, I am going to add eggs back into my diet.    I feel bad about banishing them without the real facts.  They are a great source of healthy fats and protein.  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m whipping up a 3 egg omelet every morning, but in moderation, I think eggs are a great way to keep our diets well rounded.  Have I mentioned how important healthy fats are in our diet?  Another time…stay tuned.

As always, if you have any questions about cholesterol, or anything related to your desire to seek a healthier life, please call me.




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