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Unscrambling the latest research about health and eggs

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An egg study was published in the scientific journal Atherosclerosis by Canadian researchers from Western University. The Egg Nutrition Center team, including third-party experts, reviewed the study and concluded that the research was poorly conducted and that there was a significant amount of researcher bias involved.

The majority of research conducted over the last 40 years has proven eggs to be one of the most healthy and nutritious foods available today.

Below are some great points from health professionals who have taken a closer look at this study and discussed it in the media:

• “This is very poor quality research that should not influence patient’s dietary choices,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in an email. “It is extremely important to understand the differences between ‘association’ and ‘causation’.” -ABC News

• “It’s long been recognized that eggs are a great low-calorie source of protein, and their soft texture is especially good for older adults who may have trouble eating. This study amounts to little more than data dredging, and Americans should know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding eggs to a balanced diet.” -Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, American Council on Science and Health

• “First it’s not exact data. It’s an estimate based on asking people to recall what they’ve eaten. And there’s a whole lot we don’t know about the people who ate more eggs, like what else were they eating, and how did they prepare those eggs, info that may very well be responsible for the artery impact… “So if you’re an egg fan, and especially if you’ve recently added whole eggs back into your diet, don’t let this study derail you.” –Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, Shape.com

• “The most glaring to me is that total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL and LDL do not vary significantly across the egg yolk years columns. Apparently what the authors have shown (which is consistent with previous data) is that eating lots of eggs does not increase total cholesterol or bad cholesterol (LDL) nor does it decrease good cholesterol (HDL). In my mind this leaves the authors completely without a mechanism to explain a causal relationship between egg consumption and carotid plaque. This strongly suggests the association is not causal but is incidental or spurious – unless an alternate mechanism can be proposed and supported by evidence.” -Steven Novella, MD, ScienceBasedMedicine.com

• “As for blaming the egg, this study is rotten. It got a lot of headlines, but didn’t prove a lot.” –Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Denver

• “I have five reasons for thinking their conclusion is almost certainly wrong, and the implications rather badly scrambled. Those five reasons are: association, predisposition, intervention, aggregation, and adaptation.” –Dr. David Katz, Director, Yale Prevention Research Center

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