Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Seven or more eggs a week raises risk of death

This is the title of a Reuters story as reported on Yahoo! News today. The lead paragraph says:
“Middle-aged men who ate seven or more eggs a week had a higher risk of earlier death, U.S. researchers reported on Wednesday.”
This sounds pretty definitive, doesn’t it? More evidence that we all better stop eating eggs. Those things are deadly! According to Dr. Luc Djousse and Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School:
“Whereas egg consumption of up to six eggs a week was not associated with the risk of all-cause mortality, consumption of (seven or more) eggs a week was associated with a 23 percent greater risk of death”.
Oh, so six eggs a week seems to be OK, but seven and put your affairs in order.

Since the lipid hypothesis of heart disease has taken hold as gospel, we have been hearing about the high cholesterol in eggs. To show how well established this theory has taken hold in the conventional wisdom, the story states:
“Eggs are rich in cholesterol, which in high amounts can clog arteries and raise the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
No room for any opposing opinions there. This is why we are all encouraged to eat egg-white omelets and use Egg-Beaters®. And why do eggs have so much cholesterol anyway? There is a lot of cholesterol in eggs because there is a lot of cholesterol in chickens, just like there is a lot of cholesterol in humans. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to be monkeying around with drugs that foul up our bodies natural mechanisms to make cholesterol.

It has been my somewhat-educated opinion that the lipid hypothesis is flat-out wrong anyway. The studies supporting the link between high cholesterol and heart disease are weak, at best. I refer you to my page on cholesterol, if you are interested in more on this.

But lets get back to the news of the study. So far we have learned that eating seven eggs a week will greatly increase your likelihood of an early demise. Also we have been reminded that eggs are high in cholesterol and we all know how dangerous that is.

The researchers studied over 21,000 male physicians taking part in a much larger study since 1981. During the study period:
“1,550 of the men had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes, and more than 5,000 died.”
Then in paragraph 14 of the 17-paragraph story we are told:
"Egg consumption was not associated with (heart attack) or stroke," the researchers wrote.
What! Wasn’t eggs, cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes the whole story! Apparently the facts didn’t fit the story, but I do give them some credit for telling us the truth at all. After the story has now blown up as we read it, the last paragraph tells us some very important details:
“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.”
So there you have it. Older, fatter, drinking, smoking couch potatoes die sooner. Maybe that should have been the title of the story, but then I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a story.


At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I'm on the safe level. I only eat around 3 eggs per week. Thanks for the useful info.

At 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh wow that was hilarious.
just goes to show you,,,,take everything you read with a grain of sea salt, lol.


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