You couldn’t really miss all the headlines this past week about a new study that found eating eggs raises heart disease risk.
Now — as you know — I don’t ever rely on the soundbites spewed by the mainstream press. So, I immediately studied the original research.
As I suspected, there are some major problems with the study’s design — and its results. In fact, the study should have never been published in the first place.
And that really stinks — like rotten eggs — because most people, including dieticians and doctors, won’t ever recognize the serious flaws in this research. And they may stop eating eggs all together — without knowing about their many health benefits. (That being said, I encourage you to share this news with your friends and family.)
In just a moment, I’ll tell you what you need to know about the disastrous study and all the attendant publicity. But first, let’s back up and unscramble the real facts from fiction when it comes to the simple egg…
Eggs have always been healthy — for those who know about biology
During the second Reagan Administration in Washington, D.C., I often had breakfast with the Surgeon General of the United States — Dr. C. Everett Koop. Before working for the President, Dr. Koop had been a world-famous surgeon and one of my professors at the University of Pennsylvania.
Typically at our breakfasts, Dr. Koop would have two or three eggs and a glass of whole milk. It was also the same breakfast choice as the Secretary of Health, who was also a physician, and the Undersecretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), who was a pharmacist.
All three of these men actively served in the Reagan Administration in their 70s. And they all lived well into their 90s. They firmly believed their breakfast of eggs and whole milk gave them the energy and stamina they needed to thrive. In fact, I recently had a delicious brunch with the former Undersecretary of HHS here in Florida. And he ordered his usual — a rich egg dish with a glass of whole milk, together with other delicacies.
When did the cracks start to show?
The idea that eggs and other cholesterol-containing foods are unhealthy started to gain mainstream momentum in the late 1970s, after Alfred W. Alberts at Merck came up with lovastatin — a new drug to lower cholesterol. Upon its creation, a new narrative about lowering cholesterol to prevent heart disease was written — but it’s a work of fiction.
Tragically, the statisticians who run the diet show at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) knew with certainty by the mid-1980s that there’s no connection between eating foods with cholesterol (like eggs) and the amount of cholesterol in the blood.
I know they knew, because the Harvard scientists who established the lack of a link between these foods and blood cholesterol came to NIH in 1985 to present their findings.
I was there, and so were they.
But they chose to ignore the science.
As a result, cholesterol remained under fire for decades because big pharma wanted you to think you needed to control it. Even though many studies from around the world continued to link lower blood cholesterol with higher overall death rates.
Well, it seems we’re experiencing another “eggs-existential” crisis. But will it be just another “flash in the pan?” Or will it end up scrambling nutritional recommendations once again?
Research methods influence results
In this new, flawed study I mentioned at the beginning of this Dispatch, the researchers concluded that people who eat three or four eggs a day have a higher risk of heart disease and early death.
But these wild conclusions are totally without merit.
For one, researchers used a sloppy technique from the dark ages — and simply asked people how many eggs they ate on a self-reported food questionnaire.
So they’re asking people to try and remember exactly what they’ve eaten over a period of time.
Most people can hardly remember what they had for lunch the day before yesterday!
It’s beyond me why any “researcher” would still rely on such an imprecise method…and then try to make such a big deal out of it.
As you can imagine, this method is notoriously inaccurate — due to the participants either not remembering — or not wanting to divulge — everything they’ve eaten.
Plus, we have a far better, more accurate, scientific method for measuring egg consumption!
In fact, as I reported in February, researchers with the University of Eastern Finland just completed an impressive, well-designed study on egg consumption.
And they didn’t take the lackadaisical route of administering an unreliable food questionnaire to determine egg consumption. Instead, they used an advanced, scientific approach called “metabolomics,” which measures specific biomolecules in the blood.
It’s important to note that these biomolecules specifically get into the blood only by eating eggs. So, it’s more like measuring a real “food blood level.” And studies that use this approach are much more accurate and precise.
The Finnish researchers then looked at which participants developed Type II diabetes over the 19-year follow-up period.
Specifically, they found that participants who ate one or more eggs a day had more healthy lipids (blood fats) that are associated with lower Type II diabetes risk. On the other hand, participants who consumed fewer eggs had higher levels of several biomolecules associated with a higher Type II diabetes risk, including the amino acid tyrosine.
This finding makes perfect sense, as eggs contain many bioactive constituents that help manage blood sugar and metabolism. And diabetes is a real risk factor for heart disease, unlike cholesterol or eggs.
The second major flaw in this study has to do with its results…
Study turns up laughably small “increase” in heart disease “risk”
Even if you can accept this study’s flawed methodology, its results are laughably ridiculous.
The study concluded that eating three to four eggs every day might raise your risk of heart disease by all of…
…wait for it…
First of all, a sloppy food questionnaire study simply CANNOT be that precise in pinpointing risk in any meaningful way — certainly not down to a tiny, purported three percent increase in disease risk.
Typically, in major, well-designed studies, statisticians look for “risk factors” that double, triple, or quadruple your risk of chronic diseases. And that magnitude of a real effect can withstand some imperfections with sloppy methods.
But this new study showcased sloppy methods and a miniscule risk, all reported by a young, inexperiened post-doctoral fellow (just coming out of his own shell).
Instead, we should concentrate on studying real risk factors for heart disease that actually do double, triple, or quadruple risk. (And believe me, there are a lot of them out there.)
In the end, this kind of careless, cracked study sadly gets attention in the mainstream press because it feeds big pharma’s myths about cholesterol and eggs, while ignoring the real evidence that goes against their narrative. And, quite frankly, that’s all you need to know.
Plus, these “findings” don’t change a thing about the real science on eggs, cholesterol, and heart disease — on which I’ll continue to report in my Daily Dispatch and Insiders’ Cures newsletter.
To learn more about how diet, supplementation, and other lifestyle habits can really protect your heart, refer to my online learning tool, the Heart Attack Prevention and Repair Protocol. Click here to learn more, or sign up today.
“Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality.” JAMA. 2019;321(11):1081-1095. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.1572