Tuesday, January 8, 2019

On Eggs

Recommendations on eggs seem to go from one extreme to the other, or "yo-yo egg advice."

In the 1950s and 1960s, eggs were considered healthy. Adele Davis, a popular health food guru in those days, had a chapter in her book Let's Cook it Right titled "Serve Eggs and Cheese Daily."  She went on to note that in addition to their protein content, eggs contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, which she discussed.

Then came the low-fat fad, in which any kind of fat was considered poisonous. Egg yolks, which contain a lot of fat as well as a lot of cholesterol, were banned from many tables, and Egg Beaters were used to make egg white omelets and other low-fat egg dishes.

Then the tide turned, and we were told one or two eggs a week, or even one a day (gasp), were OK unless we were diabetic, in which case we should stick to those tasteless egg white omelets. But then the experts changed their minds again and said eggs were OK even for people with diabetes.

And Harvard's Walter Willet said, “There was never any data that showed that people who ate more eggs had higher risk of heart attacks.”

Now comes a study from Finland that says that egg metabolites in blood are related to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Note that risk factors in the blood are not the same as actual mortality rates in egg eaters. But they're consistent with the idea that eggs aren't poison, and a previous study had linked egg eating with a lower risk of type 2. This new study was designed to help figure out how the egg consumption affected diabetes risk.

Have we yo-yo'd back to the 1950s and 1960s in terms of egg advice? I suspect we have.

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