Friday, April 11, 2008

Apparently, consuming one lousy egg a day will kill you...

Well it seems the latest study to make the news every where is this one that demonises egg consumption, but whats new...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.

Men with diabetes who ate any eggs at all raised their risk of death during a 20-year period studied, according to the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death

Surely, you would think there would be an awful lot of low carbers dropping dead by now?

After reading that, I went and tracked down the study (only abstract was available) as well as an editorial, in hopes to find out more about it but alas, I didn't find much:

Egg consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease and mortality: the Physicians' Health Study

Egg consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease and mortality: the story gets more complex

A couple of quotes that I think are important:

Egg consumption was not associated with (heart attack) or stroke

Men who ate the most eggs also were older, fatter, ate more vegetables but less breakfast cereal, and were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke and less likely to exercise -- all factors that can affect the risk of heart attack and death.

Now, I don't know how eating less breakfast cereal is a factor that can negatively affect the risk of heart attack and death... lets ignore that one...

When I read the editorial, I get the impression there really isn't a great deal of data - other then they just happen to have been eating more eggs...

I wonder about these older and fatter men who just so happened to eat more eggs, did they also happen to be more likely to be taking a cocktail of drugs such as blood pressure medications, statins etc? and what about the rest of their diet?

What puzzles me the most is the advice from the editorial:

So, if you are a male physician and are going to eat ≥1 egg/d, why not eat the whites only?

Despite that they found no association between eggs and myocardial infarction or stroke?

Despite from what I can tell, from his statements that the study didn't provide information on LDL and other markers?

Despite his statement questioning the consistency of an association between cholesterol and CVD risk...

He draws the conclusion that it must be the cholesterol in egg yolks and that physicians whom want to eat at least one egg a day should just eat egg whites instead?

Personally I find it a bit hard to believe that one egg a day could be bad. Of course, with all the crap they do to hens these days such as the crap they feed them, the antibiotics, hormones and the fact that most are caged can't be good for the eggs they lay!

If eggs are a problem, thats where I would personally be pointing my finger...

But with that all said, let me leave you with these two studies published back in Ferbruary that I recently found when working on my low carb research page:

Dietary Cholesterol from Eggs Increases Plasma HDL Cholesterol in Overweight Men Consuming a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet

Carbohydrate-restricted diets (CRD) significantly decrease body weight and independently improve plasma triglycerides (TG) and HDL cholesterol (HDL-C). Increasing intake of dietary cholesterol from eggs in the context of a low-fat diet maintains the LDL cholesterol (LDL-C)/HDL-C for both hyper- and hypo-responders to dietary cholesterol.

In this study, 28 overweight/obese male subjects (BMI = 25–37 kg/m2) aged 40–70 y were recruited to evaluate the contribution of dietary cholesterol from eggs in a CRD. Subjects were counseled to consume a CRD (10–15% energy from carbohydrate) and they were randomly allocated to the EGG group [intake of 3 eggs per day (640 mg/d additional dietary cholesterol)] or SUB group [equivalent amount of egg substitute (0 dietary cholesterol) per day]. Energy intake decreased in both groups from 10,243 ± 4040 to 7968 ± 2401 kJ (P < 0.05) compared with baseline. All subjects irrespective of their assigned group had reduced body weight and waist circumference (P < 0.0001). Similarly, the plasma TG concentration was reduced from 1.34 ± 0.66 to 0.83 ± 0.30 mmol/L after 12 wk (P < 0.001) in all subjects. The plasma LDL-C concentration, as well as the LDL-C:HDL-C ratio, did not change during the intervention. In contrast, plasma HDL-C concentration increased in the EGG group from 1.23 ± 0.39 to 1.47 ± 0.38 mmol/L (P < 0.01), whereas HDL-C did not change in the SUB group. Plasma glucose concentrations in fasting subjects did not change.

Eighteen subjects were classified as having the metabolic syndrome (MetS) at the beginning of the study, whereas 3 subjects had that classification at the end. These results suggest that including eggs in a CRD results in increased HDL-C while decreasing the risk factors associated with MetS.

Abstract: Mutungi et al: Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases plasma HDL cholesterol in overweight men consuming a carbohydrate-restricted diet. J Nutr 2008, 138(2):272-276.


Eggs modulate the inflammatory response to carbohydrate restricted diets in overweight men


Carbohydrate restricted diets (CRD) consistently lower glucose and insulin levels and improve atherogenic dyslipidemia [decreasing triglycerides and increasing HDL cholesterol (HDL-C)]. We have previously shown that male subjects following a CRD experienced significant increases in HDL-C only if they were consuming a higher intake of cholesterol provided by eggs compared to those individuals who were taking lower concentrations of dietary cholesterol. Here, as a follow up of our previous study, we examined the effects of eggs (a source of both dietary cholesterol and lutein) on adiponectin, a marker of insulin sensitivity, and on inflammatory markers in the context of a CRD.


Twenty eight overweight men [body mass index (BMI) 26–37 kg/m2] aged 40–70 y consumed an ad libitum CRD (% energy from CHO:fat:protein = 17:57:26) for 12 wk. Subjects were matched by age and BMI and randomly assigned to consume eggs (EGG, n = 15) (640 mg additional cholesterol/day provided by eggs) or placebo (SUB, n = 13) (no additional dietary cholesterol). Fasting blood samples were drawn before and after the intervention to assess plasma lipids, insulin, adiponectin and markers of inflammation including C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-8 (IL-8), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1(VCAM-1).


Body weight, percent total body fat and trunk fat were reduced for all subjects after 12 wk (P < 0.0001). Increases in adiponectin were also observed (P < 0.01). Subjects in the EGG group had a 21% increase in this adipokine compared to a 7% increase in the SUB group (P < 0.05). Plasma CRP was significantly decreased only in the EGG group (P < 0.05). MCP-1 levels were decreased for the SUB group (P < 0.001), but unchanged in the EGG group. VCAM-1, ICAM-1, TNF-α, and IL-8 were not modified by CRD or eggs.


A CRD with daily intake of eggs decreased plasma CRP and increased plasma adiponectin compared to a CRD without eggs. These findings indicate that eggs make a significant contribution to the anti-inflammatory effects of CRD, possibly due to the presence of cholesterol, which increases HDL-C and to the antioxidant lutein which modulates certain inflammatory responses.

Full Text: Ratliff et al, Eggs modulate the inflammatory response to carbohydrate restricted diets in overweight men. Nutr Metab. 2008 Feb 20;5:6.


Carol Bardelli said...

It's gotten to where I disregard most studies the media touts. For one, the media angles the info to their own beliefs or theories. Second, food and diet related research is poorly controlled. An example is all the studies indicting dietary fat when they don't bother to take into account most of that fat was a minor dietary component compared to the loads of refined carbs that it piggy backed. That's like blaming oxygen for lung cancer and overlooking cigarettes.

Great piece Sherry.

Yucky said...

I agree. And besides, you've got to consider who is FUNDING any study. Find out who's funding it, and you can pretty much guess where the "results" will slant. Take the egg study -- was it funded by the manufacturers of breakfast cereals? or maybe the manufacturers of the infamous frankenfood known as "Egg Beaters"?

Since this whole Kimkins thing, I've become incredibly cynical, to the point I can't even enjoy reading "articles" any more -- especially "articles" written by "experts" or "testimonials" written by "success stories" -- but basically anything, in any magazine or book or website, about health, weightloss, nutrition, and socks.

Sherrie said...

Exactly Carol :)

Yucky I found low carb made me very cynical. Before low carb I was very naive, even though I'd feel brushed off by my doctor I would ASSUME it must be my fault.

There was one time I was 18 and really sick with glandular fever and my doctor wouldn't believe me, until I came back there a few days or so later, with a urine sample as my liver had become inflamed and I was yellow!

I remember having to walk across a big school oval just to get to my doctor with the urine sample, it was so hard because I was so fatigued and dizzy!

But I am even more cynical when it comes to drugs, I feel that is very corrupt and not just drugs like statins and diabetes medications but even more so drugs for depression and mental illness. These drugs have some pretty serious side effects such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, you name it, plus some can easily cause death if you take too much or get dehydrated. The most ironic thing, is some of them can cause/provoke suicide.

Granted there are people that these have helped BUT most doctors don't have a healthy respect for these drugs like they should and just hand them out like candy without asking why. There's so much ignorance about these its not funny.

What really makes me mad though is they never want to know WHY.

Diabetes? here, have some insulin...

Cholesterol? no problem, statins!

Hormonal problems? birth control pill!

Depression? Ah lets forget that theres MANY things that may cause depression such as hypothyroidism (which oddly enough is very common after having a baby!)or vitamin and fatty acid deficiencies, heck even simply fructose malabsorption (very common in IBS) can cause high levels of anxiety. Heck you should see Garry when he has caffeine, he does not tolerate it at all!

No, we will chuck you straight onto some anti-Ds and if they don't work and you keep thinking of suicide we will give you one that will give you the strength to actually do it and we won't warn you of that or keep an eye on you...

LOL now I am ranting!

I always wind up ranting in my comments instead of my blog posts hehe :D

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