DR. MOHLER: Let’s talk about an eggscellent food
My dad was an “egg man.” Early in his career, I rode with him on the back roads of Nebraska, picking up a case of eggs here, a couple cases there from small-scale chicken farmers. Then, we were off to the grocery stores to peddle them. My dad taught me and firmly believed that eggs were the perfect food.
Fast forward 20 years: Medical school preached a different lesson — eggs are evil; 200 mg of cholesterol per egg; not more than three a week; heart attacks, strokes.
For the last 50 years, this latter perception has reigned, although in retrospect, it was based on very little science. To lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association still recommends eating less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. However, there is now increasing evidence that eggs are not nearly as bad as they were cracked up to be.
WHAT WE KNOW NOW
Dietary cholesterol has almost no effect on blood cholesterol. It is the saturated and trans fats that are the culprits.
A recently published analysis of 17 studies (almost half a million people) looked at the long-term relationship (10-20 years) between egg consumption and heart attacks and strokes. Bottom line: There is no relationship for the vast majority of patients.
Most people do not need to avoid eggs. For most of us, eating an egg a day on average or more is not only safe, but healthful.
Eggs are an eggstraordinary source of protein and provide vitamins A, D and some B vitamins as well as iron and zinc.
You don’t have to shell out a lot of money for a dozen eggs.
Sixty-five years later, happily my dad and eggs have been eggsonerated.
Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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