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The Truth About Egg Yolks

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

For decades, eggs have been demonized by the doctors, nutritionists, and the government as the quintessential unhealthy food. Why? Because eggs filled with that dietary horror of horrors known as cholesterol. Together with saturated fat, which eggs are also rich in, cholesterol was blamed from everything from obesity to increased risks of heart attacks, strokes, and more. Any food that contained one of these substances was placed on the nutritional no-go list. Since eggs were so rich in both, they were singled out as a good to avoid with such fervor that it’s amazing global warming wasn’t somehow attributed to the consumption of eggs, and egg yolks in particular.

The truth is that eggs are arguably the most perfect food in nature, and one of the most nutritious food items you can eat. In this article we’ll explore how all this misinformation about eggs came about, the health benefits of eating eggs, and how to know you’re picking the right eggs to get the most nutritional value.

 

How did eggs get such a bad reputation?

The origins of the “cholesterol and fat = disease” mindset can be traced back to the early 20th century, when a German scientist named Rudolph Virchow developed his “Cholesterol Theory,” in which he theorized that fat consumption via diet was the source of clogged arteries and led to an increased risk of coronary disease. The idea exploded in popularity with the publication of Dr. Ancel Keyes’ “Seven Countries Study” in the 1970’s which furthered this argument.

The Seven Countries Study paper was a watershed moment in American nutritional knowledge. Dr. Keyes cited data detailing the link between dietary cholesterol and increased coronary disease. This, along with several similar studies performed in previous years, convinced the overwhelming majority of the medical establishment that food rich in cholesterol and saturated fat were the worst thing a person could eat. Thus the anti-egg campaign began.

The problem is that Dr. Keyes committed some sins of omission of which not many people are aware. Studies exploring a possible link between dietary fat and clogged arteries had actually been conducted in 22 countries, but only seven showed a correlation between fat consumption and arterial obstruction. The studies in other countries either showed no clear connection or actually a decrease in cholesterol levels! Of course, those studies didn’t make the cut to be included in the “Seven Countries” paper.

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