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People’s Pharmacy

Are eggs truly bad for the heart?

Cholesterol-rich eggs were assumed to increase heart disease risk. But research tells a different story — except for those with diabetes.

April 12, 2010|Joe Graedon, Teresa Graedon | The People's Pharmacy
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

I gave up eating eggs years ago due to high cholesterol. I have only been eating egg substitutes. I recently heard that eating eggs doesn't really raise cholesterol. If this is true, I would love to go back to eating real eggs again.

For decades, dietary dogma has kept many people from eating eggs. Because egg yolks are rich in cholesterol, some scientists assumed that eating whole eggs would raise blood cholesterol and increase the risk for heart disease. This assumption was accepted without evidence.

When investigators looked at the data, they found that eating up to one egg daily had little impact on stroke or heart disease risk (Journal of the American Medical Assn., Apr. 21, 1999). There is even an experiment showing that egg consumption is linked to higher levels of good HDL cholesterol and markers of improved retinal health in the eye (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2009).

People vary in their response to eggs, so it is important to monitor blood lipid levels. Those with diabetes should exercise particular caution, since studies suggest eggs do raise their risk for heart disease.

I am a retired professor, so what I did for a living for 40 years was talk. It's a paradox, because I suffered from stuttering, particularly the "block" type you get when you have to give a speech. I discovered a "cure" for it. I took B-complex vitamins each morning and sailed unimpeded through the day. At lecture time, I took a bit more and floated through my presentation fearlessly.

Thanks for sharing your unique approach. The only research we could find dates back to 1951, so it has not been well-studied. Nonetheless, B-complex vitamins are inexpensive and low risk. It's unlikely everyone will benefit, but it could be worth a try.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com

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