Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve enjoyed eating eggs as a regular part of your daily breakfast. And like so many other people, the conflicting headlines about one of our favorite protein options may have led you to give up – or consider giving up – on the humble ambassador of the most important meal of the day.
Unfortunately, the media often keeps people confused in order to score more viewers and readers. And it can become hard to tell what information to trust.
A recent article in a major international newspaper claims that eating more than a couple eggs per day increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by a huge 69% and carries an elevated risk for diabetes, amongst other warnings of excess cholesterol and saturated fat intake.
The claims were sensational enough to get me to take a closer look. Turns out, they were based on an observational review study published back in 2013 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Examining the study that the article was based upon, I discovered two problems pretty quickly.
The first is that observational review studies only demonstrate associations and don’t necessarily prove causation or delve into useful recommendations. In this particular case, there is no information about what the people were eating besides two eggs (with breakfast, or for the rest of the day), their amount of weekly exercise or their general health. There is no scientific proof in the study that eating 2 or more eggs a day actually contributes to cardiovascular disease – and the reader needs to be careful before jumping to any conclusions. Indeed, these types of observational review studies don’t hold much weight in the medical world.
However, that brings us to the second problem. Enterprising journalists often cite these types of studies as sources and build entire misleading articles around misinterpreted information. In fact, the study actually concludes that the “analysis suggests that egg consumption is not associated with the risk of Cardio Vascular Disease.” Contrary to damning eggs as a breakfast food, the study highlights the substantial benefits of egg consumption, including their positive impact on improving HDL, total cholesterol, fasting blood sugars and insulin, weight loss in diabetic patients, cardioprotective effects, and their ability to fight inflammation.
None of those great things made for as interesting a story as the idea that eggs can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease by a staggering 69%. So once again, you don’t get the real story.
Unfortunately, that’s too often the case.
However, don’t despair – there is something you can do. By sticking with reliable resources and reaching out to communities of medical professionals, trainers, nutritionists and like-minded people, you’ll be able to weed out the sensationalist claims and get trustworthy and reliable information.
Healthier Talk is one of those places. My Facebook page is another. You’ll find regularly posted articles from integrative doctors and natural health practitioners on both – and you’re always welcome to post a comment below or ask me a question on Facebook.
In the meantime, don’t turn your back on the egg. It’s not only something that’s been a time-honored tradition at your breakfast table – it’s loaded with healthy benefits too.
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CSCS
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