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Unscrambling the Truth About Eggs
Are eggs really that "incredible" or are the industry's marketing strategies "incredible?" You might be surprised to learn how big industries use clever marketing strategies to boost the sale of their products. One technique that Dr. John McDougall talks about is called "unique positioning," which involves highlighting a particular nutrient which is plentiful in the product. For example, when calcium is mentioned, we think of milk and cheese. Omega-3 fatty acids is synonymous with eating fish, iron with beef, and eggs are well known as the "best source of high quality protein." "Focusing on the abundance of an individual nutrient," Dr. McDougall says, "diverts the consumer's, and often times the professional dietitian's, attention away from the harmful impact on the human body of consuming all kinds of animal foods." Highlighting one particular nutrient while downplaying the risks has proven to be a very effective and profitable marketing tactic. "Because these highly sensationalized nutrients are always plentiful in basic plant foods, illnesses from deficiencies of these nutrients are essentially unknown, as long as there is enough food to eat. Thus, there are no real nutritional advantages to choosing red meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products with an especially high density of one particular nutrient. Ironically, milk and cheese are iron deficient, and red meat, poultry, and eggs (unless you eat the shells) contain almost no calcium." Dr. McDougall goes on to say that in his 42+ years of treating patients, he has never seen one that has become ill from eating a whole plant-food diet. He does however, witness daily patients who suffer ill effects from eating animal-derived foods.
"According to their website" Dr. McDougall says, "The American Egg Board's mission is 'to allow egg producers to fund and carry out proactive programs to increase markets for eggs, egg products and spent fowl products through promotion, research and education.' As the egg industry's promotion arm, the American Egg Board's foremost challenge is to convince the American public that the egg is still one of nature's most nearly perfect foods. Their efforts are working: U.S egg production during 2003 was 73.93 billion table eggs – this means, on average, 235 eggs a year for every single man, woman and child in the country."
Keep in mind that The "American Egg Board (AEB) is the U.S. egg producer's link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg." Their mission is "to increase demand for egg and egg products on behalf of U.S. egg producers." In 2010, The AEB announced its expenditures. The board had committed to spending "41% of its $20M income to advertising, 10% to agricultural education, 9% to nutrition, 7% to marketing communications and 6% to supporting activities of state organizations." The board had also funded "$1.5M in nutrition research projects on weight loss, choline requirements, the benefits of lutein for ocular function, and the relationship between egg consumption and blood lipid levels in consumers."
Nutritional Profile of Eggs
Eggs have always been advertised as being an excellent source of protein, vitamins and other nutrients which are essential for good health. Eggs do supply protein, vitamins and minerals; however, let's examine evidence from other sources not profiting from the egg industry.
Claim: According to Foodsafety.gov and the American Egg Board, "Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious and economical foods." "For only 70 calories each, eggs are rich in nutrients. They contain, in varying amounts, almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans as well as several other beneficial food components. Egg protein is the standard by which other protein sources are measured. A large egg contains over six grams of protein. A large egg has 4.5 grams of fat, only 7% of the daily value. Only one-third (1.5) grams is saturated fat and 2 grams are mono-unsaturated fat."
The table below displays the nutritional profile for two large whole eggs, which is the typical portion size. You'll notice that eggs do contain a few nutrients which are slightly higher than some plant foods, noted with an (*) in the table below. Although the American Egg Board states that "...one large egg provides 13 vitamins and minerals, including the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin" note that the nutrient content in collard greens and lentils exceeds that of eggs in 14 of the 22 categories, especially Vitamin A, Fiber, Vitamin C, Calcium, Lutein-Zeaxanthin and Vitamin K. Lentils are also higher in protein. Furthermore, eggs do not contain any vitamin C or fiber, which are found only in plant foods. A diet high in fiber is crucial in maintaining a healthy immune system and preventing illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypoglycemia, hormonal imbalances, and GI disorders. Lastly, pasteurized eggs "may have slightly lower amounts of heat-sensitive vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, and folic acid."
|2 Raw Eggs||1 Cup Cooked Collard Greens||1 Cup Cooked Lentils|
|Vitamin A (RAE):||160||722||0*|
|Vitamin A (IU):||540||14440||16*|
|Vitamin D (D2+D3):||2.0||0*||0*|
|Lutein + Zeaxanthin||503||11,774||0*|
Not only do whole plant foods provide sufficient essential nutrients, Dr. McDougall notes that they "contain powerful substances called phytochemicals, which scientists are now discovering protect us from cancer, heart disease, and an array of other serious illnesses. Plants are also the primary source of all minerals in our diet. Minerals are derived from the earth and make their way into the food supply via plants. The only reason animal foods contain any minerals at all is because the animals eat plants, or they eat animals that eat plants." The few nutrients which are higher in eggs, like Vitamin D and B-12 can easily be obtained from fortified foods, B-12 supplements, or sunshine. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that's produced when our skin is exposed to the ultraviolet rays from sunshine. Low levels can be an indication of low sunshine exposure. Dr. Michael Greger talks about vitamin D here . Dr. McDougall addresses vitamin D here and here . Many animal-based diet advocates point to the fact that plant-based diets are deficient in vitamin B-12. For this reason, they contend that plant-based diets are not natural or sustainable. Dr. McDougall responds by saying, "Although vitamin B12 is found in animal foods, it is not synthesized by plants or animals. Only bacteria make biologically active vitamin B12—animal tissues store bacteria-synthesized B12, which can then be passed along the food chain by animals eating another animal's tissues." More on Vitamin B12 can be found here.
Fact: Eggs Contain Few Antioxidants When Compared to Plant Foods
Now let's take a closer look at the significant levels of antioxidants that eggs are marketed to have. A quick search on the internet reveals dozens of websites touting the benefits of the antioxidants found in eggs. If you dig a little deeper though, you will find that the highest levels of antioxidants are found in whole plant foods and that "Eggs are almost devoid of antioxidants." (Nutrition Journal). Interestingly, the antioxidant content in Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies cereal is 1.56 while a whole egg is 0.02. A published study that measured the total antioxidant content of over 3,100 foods states: "When classifying the samples into the three main classes the difference in antioxidant content between plant- and animal-based foods become apparent. The results here uncover that the antioxidant content of foods varies several thousand-fold and that antioxidant rich foods originate from the plant kingdom, while meat, fish and other foods from the animal kingdom are low in antioxidants. Comparing the mean value of the 'Meat and meat products' category with plant based categories, fruits, nuts, chocolate and berries have from 5 to 33 times higher mean antioxidant content than the mean of meat products. Diets comprised mainly of animal-based foods are thus low in antioxidant content while diets based mainly on a variety of plant-based foods are antioxidant rich, due to the thousands of bioactive antioxidant phytochemicals found in plants which are conserved in many foods and beverages." Notice that cake frosting (page 32) and doughnuts (page 34) are higher in antioxidants than dairy or eggs (page 38). Dr. Greger's video regarding this comprehensive study illustrates how the maximum antioxidant content in animal foods is 100, while plant foods goes up to 289,000. Another video that compares antioxidant content can be seen here. On average, plant foods contain 64 times more antioxidant power than animal foods.
Selenium is another essential mineral that functions as an antioxidant. Although eggs are promoted as being an "excellent source" for their selenium content, one large egg contains a mere 15.4 mcg compared to approximately 95 mcg in one Brazil nut. In fact, Brazil nuts are an effective way to improve selenium status.
USDA scientists analyzed antioxidant concentration in more than 100 different foods. The findings were published in the June 9, 2004, issue of The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The top 50 foods scoring the highest in antioxidant content can be seen here. Notice that eggs (or in fact, any animal product) do not even make the list. Another method of rating antioxidant levels is by using the "Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity" (ORAC) system. The ORAC values of the highest rating foods can be seen in the USDA Database of Selected Foods. If you scroll all the way through the report, you'll notice once again that there's not a single animal product listed. The report states: "Diets rich in fruits and vegetables are considered to be an excellent source of antioxidants. Some minerals and vitamins have a role as dietary antioxidants. These include vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium." (All of which are plentiful in plant foods.) This report clearly demonstrates that whole plant foods offer superior protection against disease, not animal products. Remember, the two reports mentioned above were both analyzed and published by the USDA.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids contained in many foods that play an important role in protecting our vision. These nutrients reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in those who are 65 years and older.
Claim: "Lutein and Zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in egg yolks, help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness." "A large egg yolk contains 252 mcg of lutein and zeaxanthin. Research has shown that, due to the egg yolk's fat content, the yolk's lutein and zeaxanthin may be more easily absorbed by the body than the lutein and zeaxanthin from other sources."
Dr. Michael Greger explains that eggs are marketed as being rich sources of these two carotenoids. He says, "The egg industry loves to boast that eggs have these two compounds, that appear so protective against cataracts and macular degeneration. What the industry does is feed hens yellow corn, alfalfa, even marigold petals, anything to boost the egg content up to 166 mcg per large egg." Eggs can have up to 250 mcg per egg, but one serving of collard green has over 18,500, a single serving of mustard greens contains over 14,500 and a serving of kale nearly 24,000 mcg. One spoonful of spinach has as much as 9 eggs. To protection our vision, the recommendation is to get 10,000 mcg a day. To achieve this, one would need to eat either 1/3 cup spinach or 40 eggs every day. The top ten sources of these two nutrients are all found in green vegetables. Dr. Greger's video demonstrating how "Eggs don't even make the top 100 food sources" can be seen here. Watch how far down the list eggs are. According to the USDA, eggs come in right behind Captain Crunch With Crunchberries. "There are more phytonutrients in crunchberries than there are in eggs." The highest concentration of Lutein and Zeaxanthin can also be seen here . After seeing these figures, the 166-252 mcg found eggs doesn't even come close to the concentration in green vegetables.
There are false and misleading advertising laws that prevent the egg industry from claiming that eggs are a good source of lutein (due to the insignificant amount) in an ad or on egg cartons, however they can make this statement on a website or TV. The USDA reminds the egg industry that they "Can't say it helps people with macular degeneration."
Claim: The egg industry heavily promotes the fact that egg yolks are an excellent source of choline (which supports healthy brain function) and that one egg provides 250 milligrams, which is nearly half of the recommended daily intake.
Fact: Choline Recommendations Are Not Clear - High levels Are Linked to Illness
The USDA Agriculture Marketing Service suggested to the egg industry that they "boast about the choline content in eggs" (one of the only two nutrients eggs are actually rich in, besides cholesterol.) As a result, they developed "advertorials" for nutrition journals which advertised eggs being an "urgent problem and eggs the solution." They also sent letters to doctors, conjuring up an "epidemic of choline deficiency" - insisting that "inadequate intake of choline has tremendous public health implications." Dr. Greger insists that "Most people get about twice what they need and, in fact, too much choline may be the real problem."
Dustin Rudolph Pharm.D., addresses this claim by saying, "Choline is an essential nutrient for many different metabolic functions including cell membrane functions, normal muscle functioning, and liver health. Eggs provide some of the highest amounts of choline of any food in the diet. However, the amount of choline humans actually need has not been well studied. The Institute of Medicine didn't even have enough scientific evidence to create a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for choline when it set out to provide the general public guidelines for the prevention of a dietary choline deficiency. Instead, they opted for creating an Adequate Intake (AI) level, which is basically their best educated guess based on the scant science available. The AI for men is 550 mg/day of choline and for women 425 mg/day. However, no study has ever nailed down an absolute minimum amount for avoiding a deficiency, and one study actually showed as little as 138 mg/day may be enough for some males to prevent a deficiency. Furthermore, most studies testing a choline deficiency in humans found that symptoms didn't present themselves until choline intake was less than 50 mg/day. What's even more concerning is that recent data over the past few years has been increasingly showing that too much choline can lead to heart disease, cancer, and death."
- "A landmark study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that choline in eggs, poultry, dairy and fish produces the same toxic TMAO as carnitine in red meat." Increased TAMO levels are associated with an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and death.
- Studies have shown that choline consumption not only plays a role in promoting and spreading cancer, it also significantly increases the risk of dying from it. A recent study reported that those who consumed the most eggs had a 70% increased risk of lethal prostate cancer. They concluded: "Of the 47,896 men in our study population, choline intake was associated with an increased risk of lethal prostate cancer." Another recent study found that men who consumed 2.5 or more eggs per week had an 81 percent increased risk of lethal prostate cancer. Their conclusion was the same: "Consumption of eggs may increase risk of developing a lethal form of prostate cancer among healthy men."
- "New research published this year has shown that a byproduct of choline, a component that is particularly high in eggs, increases one's risk for a heart attack, stroke, and death."
- "Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that dietary choline, found predominantly in eggs, milk, liver, red meat, poultry, and fish.... may contribute to plaque build-up in peoples' arteries. This may set us up for heart disease, stroke, death, and cardiac surgery. Choline may be one of the reasons people following the Atkins diet are at increased risk of heart disease whereas a plant-based diet like Ornish's can instead reverse our number one killer. This new research adds choline to the list of dietary culprits with the potential to increase the risk of heart disease, making eggs a double whammy—the most concentrated common source of both choline and cholesterol."
- "Animal foods, such as meat, poultry, cheese, milk, and eggs are well recognized as the primary cause of obesity, heart disease, and common cancers in people following the Western diet. Choline, a chemical found in high concentration in animal foods, has profound effects on gene expression and is considered to be an important factor in our modern day diseases."
- "The U.S. government has created a database for the choline content of different foods here. Two hard-boiled eggs (approximately 100 grams) provides 230 mg of choline. Two thirds of a cup of uncooked, unprocessed soybeans (approximately 100 grams) delivers 120 mg of choline. Using the Nutritiondata.com database 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 119 mg of choline. Unprocessed soybeans and quinoa (a whole grain) are two health-promoting plant foods that are viable alternatives to eggs (along with many other plant-based foods) for dietary choline sources. These plant foods have also not been shown in multiple studies to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer like eggs have."
- In 2010, Dr. Erin Richard and colleagues at Harvard conducted a study involving 1294 men with early stage prostate cancer. They followed them several years to find out if their diets were associated with a reappearance of cancer, such as spreading to the bone. "Compared to men who hardly ate any eggs, men who ate even less than a single egg a day had a significant 2-fold increased risk of prostate cancer progression." Researchers suggested that "A plausible mechanism that may explain the association between eggs and prostate cancer progression is high dietary choline."
- "Egg consumption is a determinant of how much choline you have in your blood, and higher blood choline has been associated with a greater risk of getting prostate cancer in the first place. So the choline in eggs may both increase one's risk of getting it, then having it spread and also having it kill you. Choline is so concentrated in cancer cells that doctors can follow choline uptake to track the spread of cancer throughout the body. It's ironic that the choline content of eggs is something the egg industry actually boasts about. And the industry is aware of the cancer data."
The Purpose of the Egg
According to Dr. John McDougall, "The purpose of a hen's egg is to provide all the materials necessary to develop the one cell into a complete chick with feathers, beak, legs, and tail. This miraculous growth and development is supported by a 1½ ounce package of ingredients – the hen's egg – jam-packed with proteins, fats, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals. As a result, the hen's egg has been called 'one of nature's most nutritious creations.' Indeed, an egg is the richest of all foods, and far too much of 'good thing' for people. This highly-concentrated food provides too much cholesterol, fat and protein for our body to process safely. The penalties are diseases of overnutrition – heart disease, obesity, and type-2 diabetes to name only a few consequences from malnutrition due to the Western diet."
Claim: "The egg is a complete protein food because egg protein has all nine of the essential amino acids (as well as all nine of the non-essential amino acids). Based on the essential amino acids it provides, egg protein is second only to mother's milk for human nutrition. A large egg contains 6.29 grams of high-quality protein, about 12.6% of the Daily Reference Value (DRV) for protein. Adequate dietary protein intake must include all the essential amino acids your body needs daily. These amino acids [in eggs] are present in a pattern that matches very closely the pattern the human body needs, so the egg is often the measuring stick by which other protein foods are measured."
Fact: Contrary to what we may have read or heard on the news, consuming eggs can contribute to developing risk factors for serious health problems. Dr. McDougall says that misinformation regarding human protein needs has led to disastrous outcomes.
"The primary importance of protein in our foods is to serve as a source of building blocks called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids which build all the proteins in nature. We can make some of these, they do not have to be in our foods and therefore referred to as non-essential amino acids. Others we cannot synthesize and must be obtained from our foods, these are referred to as essential amino acids. Plants make all 20 amino acids. The body has highly efficient systems for reutilizing and conserving amino acids, and as a result, the need for protein (and amino acids) in our diet is very small. Dr. McDougall explains in detail how stomach acid and intestinal enzymes digest protein into individual amino acids here and his 3-minute video can be seen here.
"People worry more about protein in their diet than any other nutrient. All plants contain all of the amino acids in proper balance for ideal human growth. In other words, it is impossible to make up a diet deficient in protein or individual amino acids from any unrefined starches (rice, potatoes) and vegetables. You must get over this common myth. The only real problems with protein come from eating too much, usually the result of a diet high in animal foods."
In 1942, Dr. William Rose began studying the amino acid requirements for humans. His research concluded in 1952, resulting in sixteen papers in The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dr. Rose's amino acid requirements are listed under the "minimum requirements" column here. From this chart, it is clear that vegetable foods contain more than enough of all the amino acids essential for humans. The amino acid content in plant foods can also be seen on the USDA National Nutrient Database . Type in and select a food item, then click on "full report."
Many years ago, it was once thought that vegetarians had to combine certain foods in order to make a "complete protein." This is an old dietary myth that has been disproved long ago. When we eat a well-planned, whole-food, plant-based diet, we don't need to worry about combining foods in order to receive all of the necessary amino acids. More information regarding this myth can be seen here and here.
Dustin Rudolph Pharm.D. explains that "One cup of cooked quinoa provides 8.14 grams of protein." [More than an egg.] Eggs are praised for being the perfect source of protein. As far as the human body is concerned the 'perfect' source of protein would contain all 9 essential amino acids. Quinoa would also then be considered the perfect source of protein as it contains all 9 essential amino acids."
Fact: Current Protein Recommendations Are Based on Faulty Observations
Dr. McDougall points out: "People commonly believe - the more protein consumed the better. This faulty thinking dates back to the late 1800s, and was established without any real scientific research. Further confusion about our protein needs came from studies of the nutritional needs of animals." For example a study conducted in 1913 reported that "rats grew better on animal, than on vegetable, sources of protein." Consequently, animal products were classified as superior protein sources while plant proteins were labeled as inferior sources. "Seems no one considered that rats are not people. One obvious difference in their nutritional needs is rat milk is 11 times more concentrated in protein than is human breast milk. The extra protein supports this animal's rapid growth to adult size in 5 months; while humans take 17 years to fully mature." Dr. Joel Fuhrman adds: "Most people do not have a comprehensive knowledge of the world's nutritional literature and research and are not in a position to evaluate fraudulent claims." For more information regarding how our nutritional recommendations were established, see our article Current Protein Recommendations Flawed which explains this topic in greater detail.
Fact: Human Protein Needs Are Actually Low - Plants Supply Abundant Protein
Contrary to popular beliefs, human protein requirements are actually quite low. Dr. McDougall demonstrates this by saying, "Our greatest time of growth, which is the time of our greatest need for protein - is during our first 2 years of life - when we double in size. At this vigorous developmental stage, our ideal food is human milk, which is 5% protein. Breast milk is the 'gold standard' for nutrition – during your time of greatest need for all nutrients, including protein. Five to 6.3 percent of the calories in human breast milk are from protein. This is the maximum concentration of protein we will ever need in our food supply. Knowing this value tells us that at no other time in our life will we ever require more protein. Consider the protein content of the foods we consume after weaning – these are even higher in protein – rice is 8%, potatoes are 10%, corn is 11% and oatmeal is 15% protein. Thus, protein deficiency is impossible when calorie needs are met by eating unprocessed starches and vegetables."
Since 1974 the World Health Organization has recommended that "adults consume a diet with 5% of the calories from protein – this would mean 38 grams of protein for a man burning 3000 calories a day and 29 grams for a woman using 2300 calories a day. These minimum requirements provide for a large margin of safety. This quantity of protein is almost impossible to avoid if enough whole plant food is consumed to meet daily calorie needs. For example, rice alone would provide 71 grams of highly useable protein and white potatoes would provide 64 grams of protein for a working man. For a pregnant woman the WHO recommends 6% of the calories come from protein – again an amount of protein easily provided by a diet based on starches, vegetables, and fruits." Without question, plant foods supply more than enough protein. This is very evident when we consider the diets of some of the world's largest animals. The elephant, rhinoceros, giraffe, buffalo, and cow utilize plant foods to grow and maintain their enormous size.
Fact: Extra Protein Promotes Illness
Dr. McDougall emphasizes that "A little protein is good, but more is not better. Protein consumed beyond our needs is a health hazard as devastating as excess dietary fat and cholesterol. Unfortunately, almost everyone on the typical Western diet is overburdened with protein to the point of physical collapse. The public has almost no awareness of problems of protein overload, but scientists have known about the damaging effects of excess protein for more than a century."
"A whole egg is 32% protein and the white of an egg is essentially 100% protein. Infants, growing children, and adults need, at most, 5% of their calories from protein. Therefore, eggs and egg products are 6 to 20 times more concentrated in protein than what we need. Excess protein places burdens on our body, and especially on organs of metabolism, the liver and kidneys. Animal proteins, and particularly those from egg whites, are high in the troublesome, sulfur-containing amino acids, such as methionine. Amino acids, as the name implies, are acids; the sulfur-containing amino acids are the strongest acids of all, because they break down into powerful sulfuric acid. Excess dietary acid is the primary cause of bone loss leading to osteoporosis and kidney stone formation. Excess sulfur-containing amino acids in your diet can adversely affect your health." A few examples are listed below:
- "The sulfur-containing amino acid methionine is metabolized into homocysteine. This substance is a risk factor associated with heart attacks, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, venous thrombosis, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and depression."
- "Sulfur feeds cancerous tumors. Cancer cell metabolism is dependent upon methionine being present in the diet; whereas normal cells can grow on a methionine-free diet (feeding off other sulfur-containing amino acids)."
- "Sulfur from sulfur-containing amino acids is known to be toxic to the tissues of the intestine, and to have deleterious effects on the human colon, even at low levels – possibly causing ulcerative colitis."
- "Meat and eggs have a lot of sulphur-containing amino acids, (2-5 times more than grains and beans) that are metabolized into sulphuric acid, which the body buffers with calcium."
Fact: Protein Deficiency is Impossible When Sufficient Calories Are Being Consumed
"Protein deficiency is really a food deficiency" Dr. McDougall convincingly argues. He reinforces his position by saying: "How many cases of the so-called 'protein deficiency state,' kwashiorkor, have you seen? I have never seen a case, even though I have known thousands of people on a plant-food based diet. Sixty percent of people alive today and most of the people who have lived in the past have obtained their protein from plant foods. They have lived successfully; avoiding all the diseases common in our society. Even today plant sources provide 65% of the world supply of the protein we eat. The picture one often sees of 'protein deficient' children in famine areas of Asia or Africa is actually one of starvation and is more accurately described as 'calorie deficiency.' When these children come under medical supervision, they are nourished back to health with their local diets of corn, wheat, rice, and/or beans."
- "All twenty amino acids, including the 10 essential ones, needed for good health are abundant in plants. In real life there is no such thing as protein deficiency, yet the meat and dairy industries generate tons of profit with these universally accepted lies."
- Protein stores are generally protected during starvation. Starving people die from loss of fat, not protein.
- Instilling fear of becoming protein deficient has not only led to an epidemic of chronic disease, it has crippled our nation's economy. In developed countries, it is nearly impossible to be protein deficient as long as sufficient calories are being consumed. "More than a half-century of creative marketing by the meat, dairy, egg, and fish industries has produced fears surrounding nonexistent deficiencies."
- "Animal foods burden us with three times more protein, fifteen times more fat, greater than 100 times more cholesterol, four times more methionine, and at least ten times more dietary acid. The toxic effects of these poisons are interactive. For example, excesses of protein, methionine, and dietary acids work together to destroy the bones. Excesses of dietary fat and cholesterol combine their deleterious effects to damage the arteries (atherosclerosis) and promote cancer."
- For additional information regarding protein, see: But I Must Have Animal Protein! - Which has More Protein? Steak or Kale? and Dr. Carney's Pinterest board on Protein
Examples of Illnesses Associated With Egg Consumption
Eggs Promote Type 2 Diabetes
Facts: Studies show an association between egg consumption and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, those who have diabetes have a significantly higher rate of all-cause mortality.
- "Eating eggs increases our risk of getting diabetes . Compared to those eating less than an egg a week, men eating just one a day appear to raise their risk of developing type 2 diabetes 58%, and women, 77% more risk."
- "A review of fourteen studies published earlier this year in the journal Atherosclerosis showed that people who consumed the most eggs increased their risk for diabetes by 68 percent, compared with those who ate the fewest."
- "In a 2008 publication for the Physicians' Health Study I, which included more than 21,000 participants, researchers found that those who consumed seven or more eggs per week had an almost 25 percent increased risk of death compared to those with the lowest egg consumption. The risk of death for participants with diabetes who ate seven or more eggs per week was twice as high as for those who consumed the least amount of eggs."
- "Egg consumption also increases the risk of gestational diabetes, according to two 2011 studies referenced in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Women who consumed the most eggs had a 77 percent increased risk of diabetes in one study and a 165 percent increased risk in the other, compared with those who consumed the fewest."
- An article published in the 2009 Diabetes Care journal as well as a study published in the 2012 Public Health Nutrition journal found an association between egg consumption and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. As egg consumption increased, so did the incidence of type 2 diabetes. The study published in Diabetes Care Journal followed 1,921 men for an average of 20.0 years and 2,112 women for 11.7 years.
- "Eating just a single egg a week appeared to increase the odds of diabetes by 76%. Two eggs a week appeared to double the odds, and just a single egg a day tripled the odds. Three times greater risk of type 2 diabetes, one of the leading causes of death and amputations, blindness, and kidney failure. In 2009, Harvard found that a single egg a day or more was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Once we then have diabetes, eggs may hasten our death . Eating one egg a day or more appears to shorten anyone's lifespan but may double the all-cause mortality for those with diabetes."
- "Large prospective studies such as The Nurses' Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and Physicians' Health Study reported that diabetics who ate more than one egg/day doubled their cardiovascular disease or death risk compared to diabetics who ate less than one egg per week. Another study of diabetics reported that those who ate one egg/day or more had a 5-fold increase in risk of death from cardiovascular disease."
- "Frequent egg intake was associated with a 68% increased risk of type II diabetes, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Overall findings from 12 prospective cohort studies with 265,675 participants and 14,497 cases of type II diabetes and gestational diabetes strongly implies that egg and cholesterol intake are significant risk factors in the development of diabetes . In addition to the findings from cohort studies, 4 cross-sectional studies found that egg or cholesterol intake was associated with between a nearly two-fold and greater than four-fold increased risk of developing type II diabetes and gestational diabetes. Also consistent with these findings, in the Adventist Health Study 2 it was observed that vegans had a lower risk of developing type II diabetes compared to lacto-ovo vegetarians, and especially non-vegetarians."
- "Among male physicians with diabetes, any egg consumption is associated with a greater risk of all-cause mortality , and there was suggestive evidence for a greater risk of MI [heart attack] and stroke. An additional study found that in diabetics, an increment of one egg per day was associated with a greater than three-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality."
- More in-depth information on eggs and diabetes can be seen here.
Salmonella Food poisoning
Salmonella is a type of bacteria that commonly causes foodborne illness, or food poisoning. This bacteria can "silently infect the ovaries of healthy appearing hens and contaminate the inside of eggs before the shells are formed." Even though eggs appear to be normal, salmonella can be found on the inside as well as the outside of eggs. "Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. The elderly, infants, pregnant women, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness. This bacteria may also produce reactive arthritis, or Reiter's Syndromein some patients." "Anyone who has had salmonellosis may pass along the bacteria for several weeks after recovering."
Claim: "The chance of an egg becoming infected with SE is very low. If it is present in the egg, producers can control the growth through refrigeration and kill it with processes like pasteurization. The majority of salmonellosis outbreaks have been attributed to foods other than eggs -- nuts, vegetables, chickens, beef and fish -- and through cross contamination of utensils and other foods used during preparation. Of the outbreaks involving eggs, most have occurred in food service operations and have been the result of inadequate refrigeration and insufficient cooking." "Salmonella is killed by cooking and pasteurization."
- "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that 142,000 illnesses each year are caused by consuming eggs contaminated with Salmonella."
- "Eggs have been the most common food source linked to SE (Salmonella stereotype Enteritidis) infections. According to estimates from the 1990s, about one in 20,999 eggs is contaminated with SE. With approximately 65 billion eggs produced per year in the U.S. and 30% sent for pasteurization, an estimated 2.2 million individual eggs remain contaminated with SE. One contaminated egg can contaminate an entire batch of pooled eggs. Everyone who eats eggs from that batch is at risk for illness."
Claim: "Bacteria, if they are present at all, are most likely to be in the white and will be unable to grow, mostly due to lack of nutrients."
- Salmonella bacteria can grow well in egg white. It can also be present in the yolk. "Most bacteria is usually in the yolk. The yolk contains nutrients bacteria need to grow. Bacteria have also been found to grow in the white, however not as often as in the yolk. This is why the Egg Safety Center and FDA advise not to eat raw or under cooked egg yolks and whites or products containing raw or under cooked eggs."
- Information regarding salmonella outbreaks and investigations are here, and here. Advice to customers to reduce the risk of salmonella from eggs can be seen here.
- In 2010, a half billion eggs were recalled. Dr. Michael Greger's video points out that Salmonella can not only contaminate kitchen utensils and hands, it can survive all types of cooking methods.
- "Salmonella infected eggs cause a food-borne epidemic every year in the U.S. - sickening more than 100,000 Americans annually."
The egg industry states: The majority of reported salmonellosis outbreaks involving eggs or egg-containing foods have occurred in food service kitchens and were the result of inadequate refrigeration, and improper handling and insufficient cooking . Salmonellosis outbreaks are most often associated with animal foods, including chicken, eggs, pork and cheese, but have also been reported related to cantaloupe, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, orange juice and cereal, among other foods. Human carriers play a big role in transmitting some types of salmonellosis. Salmonella bacteria can easily spread from one food to another too." Notice how the egg industry not only faults human error as the source of most outbreaks, it directs attention away from salmonella in eggs to other foods such as tomatoes and alfalfa sprouts. The bacteria does not originate in these foods like eggs, these foods become contaminated by cow manure from a neighboring field, manure fertilizer, or rainwater runoff from livestock pastures.
Eggs Promote Cardiovascular Disease
Claims: Egg consumption is not associated with elevated cholesterol, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. "Studies demonstrate that healthy adults can enjoy an egg a day without increasing their risk for heart disease, particularly if individuals opt for low cholesterol foods throughout the day." "A wealth of research has shown that eggs do not have a significant impact on blood cholesterol levels, so it's not necessary to avoid egg yolks and you can use egg whites freely." More claims regarding the benefits of eggs can be seen here and here .
Facts: "Several studies not influenced by the egg industry have found that cholesterol intake does increase the total number of LDL particles in healthy people." Studies conducted by the egg industry use individuals that are obese, have high cholesterol, and are insulin resistant. These individuals are purposely selected for these studies because their cholesterol levels are already elevated and won't be affected with the addition of a few eggs. They are also "prepped" with high-fat meals. (See below.)
"A significant amount of the $14 million collected each year by the American Egg Board is allocated for research projects examining the effects of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol levels in order to prove that eating eggs will not raise your risk of dying of heart disease. This is quite an endeavor when you consider eggs are the most concentrated source of cholesterol in the human diet – 8 times more cholesterol than beef. Dozens of papers published in scientific journals and funded by 'The Egg Nutrition Center' and/or the 'American Egg Board' downplay the hazards of eating eggs. So how do they demonstrate that eating loads of these cholesterol-filled delicacies has little effect on blood cholesterol? The trick is to saturate the subjects with cholesterol from other sources, like beef, chicken and/or fish and then add eggs to the person's diet. Once a person has consumed 400 to 800 mg of cholesterol in a day, adding more (like with an egg) causes little rise because the bowel cannot absorb much more cholesterol. Poor-quality studies, often funded by the egg industry, add to the false information they use to vindicate their products. The actual impact of egg-feeding is seen when people who eat little cholesterol are fed eggs. When 17 lactovegetarian college students (consuming 97 mg of cholesterol daily) were fed one extra-large egg daily for three weeks their "bad" LDL-cholesterol increased by 12%."
"Several controlled experiments have found that overweight compared to lean people, and insulin resistant compared to insulin sensitive people are less responsive to dietary cholesterol. This likely explains why researchers who have financial or personal connections with the egg industry have specifically selected overweight and insulin resistant participants with a modestly high baseline dietary cholesterol intake for controlled trials, as it can be pre-empted that this subgroup of the population will show little response when egg intake is increased."
"Adding dietary cholesterol to a diet that is low in cholesterol can significantly raise serum cholesterol in humans. An addition of 200 mg cholesterol per day to a cholesterol-free diet has been shown to raise serum cholesterol by as much as 20%. This may be largely explained by the strong evidence that dietary cholesterol down-regulates the LDL receptor. A ceiling effect at which adding additional dietary cholesterol to a diet already rich in cholesterol has little appreciable effect on serum cholesterol. Therefore, the fact that numerous studies carried out on populations with a relatively high baseline cholesterol intake failed to find a significant association between cholesterol intake and serum cholesterol does not negate the evidence that lowering intake to near zero will significantly lower serum cholesterol."
- "Cardiology experts warn that eating even a single egg a day may exceed the safe upper limit for cholesterol intake." In 2010, the egg industry suffered a devastating review published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology by three credible experts (1) Dr. David Spence, the Director of the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Center, (2) David Jenkins, who invented the glycemic index, and (3) Dr. Davignon, the Director of the Hyperlipidemia and Atherosclerosis at the Institute for Clinical Research. Dr. Spence spoke out publically against eggs to set the record straight regarding recent media reports. These reports "reflect the remarkable effectiveness of the sustained propaganda campaign of the egg producer's lobby to downplay the risk of cholesterol." "The fundamental flaw of the studies the egg industry uses to muddy the waters on the issue is that they tend to only measure fasting cholesterol levels, which just reflects what's happening to your arteries for the last few hours of the night, not after you've eaten breakfast. Not only do eggs make your bad cholesterol go up, but for hours after you eat , 'dietary cholesterol increases the susceptibility of LDL to oxidize, vascular inflammation, oxidative stress, and postprandial hyperlipemia and potentiates the harmful effects of saturated fat, impairs endothelial function, and increases cardiovascular events, meaning heart attacks. Dietary cholesterol may only increase our fasting cholesterol levels 10%, but it may increase the susceptibility of our LDL to oxidize by 37-39%, and that's what triggers much of the arterial inflammation."
- The following is Dr. Spence's review which was published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology: "A widespread misconception has been developing among the Canadian public and among physicians. It is increasingly believed that consumption of dietary cholesterol and egg yolks is harmless. There are good reasons for long- standing recommendations that dietary cholesterol should be limited to less than 200 mg/day; a single large egg yolk contains approximately 275 mg of cholesterol (more than a day's worth of cholesterol). Although some studies showed no harm from consumption of eggs in healthy people, this outcome may have been due to lack of power to detect clinically relevant increases in a low-risk population. Moreover, the same studies showed that among participants who became diabetic during observation, consumption of one egg a day doubled their risk compared with less than one egg a week. Diet is not just about fasting cholesterol; it is mainly about the postprandial effects of cholesterol, saturated fats, oxidative stress and inflammation. A misplaced focus on fasting lipids obscures three key issues. Dietary cholesterol increases the susceptibility of low-density lipoprotein to oxidation, increases postprandial lipemia and potentiates the adverse effects of dietary saturated fat. Dietary cholesterol, including egg yolks, is harmful to the arteries . Patients at risk of cardiovascular disease should limit their intake of cholesterol. Stopping the consumption of egg yolks after a stroke or myocardial infarction would be like quitting smoking after a diagnosis of lung cancer: a necessary action, but late. The evidence presented in the current review suggests that the widespread perception among the public and health care professionals that dietary cholesterol is benign is misplaced, and that improved education is needed to correct this misconception."
- "The best way to prevent a massive heart attack, to prevent atherosclerosis is to start at step number one, blocking the buildup of cholesterol, which is a direct result of having too much LDL cholesterol in our bloodstream, which is a direct result of eating three things: #1, saturated fat: found mostly in meat, dairy, eggs, #2 trans-fat, found mostly in processed junk and animal products, and #3, the consumption of cholesterol itself from—meat, dairy, and, especially eggs."
- "The Institute of Medicine did not set upper limits for trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol because any intake level above zero increased bad cholesterol."
- "Large prospective studies such as The Nurses' Health Study, Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and Physicians' Health Study reported that diabetics who ate more than one egg/day doubled their cardiovascular disease or death risk compared to diabetics who ate less than one egg per week. Another study of diabetics reported that those who ate one egg/day or more had a 5-fold increase in risk of death from cardiovascular disease."
- "A 2008 study published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association followed 14,153 for 13.3 years. They concluded that a greater dietary intake of eggs (1 egg/day) was associated with a 23% increased risk of incident heart failure (death or hospitalization). The 2008 Harvard Physicians' Health Study published in the journal Circulation found an increased risk of heart failure and egg consumption. This study followed 21,275 physicians for a period of 20.4 years. A review in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition of this same study also found an increased risk of stroke with higher egg consumption."
- "A study in the journal Atherosclerosis found that just 3 eggs or more a week was associated with a significant increase in artery-clogging plaque buildup in people's carotid arteries going to their brain, a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death. In fact you see a similar exponential increase in arterial plaque buildup for smokers and egg-eaters. Those that ate the most eggs had as much as two-thirds the risk of those that smoked the most, the equivalent of a pack-a-day habit for 40 years or more."
- "The Harvard Nurse's Health Study, involving more than 100,000 women, was started in 1976 and is now the most definitive long-term study ever on older women's health. Since the study started, thousands of participants died. And now, thanks to all that hard work, 35 years later they published the risk factors for mortality. Consuming the amount of cholesterol found in just a single egg a day appears to cut a woman's life short as much as smoking 5 cigarettes a day, for 15 years.
- "In 2008, the Harvard Physician's Health Study, which followed about 20,000 physicians for 20 years, found that those eating just a single egg a day or more had significantly higher total mortality risk meaning eating just one egg a day was significantly associated with living, on average, a shorter life. Later that year, that same single serving of egg was significantly associated with death and hospitalization from heart failure." Eating oatmeal every morning however, may extend your life based on a new study of 40,000 women.
- "Several studies not influenced by the egg industry have found that cholesterol intake does increase the total number of LDL particles in healthy people."
- What about the new type of eggs containing omega-3 fatty acids? They are still loaded with cholesterol. Dr. Spence, notes, "The answer is not to feed flax seed to the chickens, but rather to put it on the cereal and leave the chicken out of the meal! The only people who should eat eggs regularly are those dying of a terminal illness, because at that point who cares, you're going to drop dead anyway." "The egg industry's nutritionist disagreed, to which Dr. Spence replied, 'Who would you want to believe—the dietitian who works for the Egg Farmers of Canada or a doctor who has spent 30 years trying to prevent strokes. I don't have any interest in this at all, but they certainly do. They are selling eggs; I am selling stroke prevention .' Since the Harvard Physicians Study results were published, egg consumption has been linked to heart failure, along with dairy, as well as diabetes in both men and women. A single egg a day or more."
- "A fifty-year study of nearly 2000 middle-aged men, the Western Electric Study, found a dietary reduction in cholesterol intake of 430 mg/dL (same as 2 eggs) was associated with a 43% reduction in long-term risk of coronary heart disease, a 25% reduction of risk of death from all causes, and 3 years longer life expectancy. In addition to heart disease, a higher cholesterol intake is also associated with more risk for strokes, blood clots, high blood pressure, and cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, lung, and brain . Cholesterol is the most damaging to our arteries when it is present in an oxidized form (as free radicals). Eggs and egg-derived products are the main source of oxidized cholesterol in our diet."
- "Studies show that adding one egg to the daily diet of the average "healthy" person, already eating 200 mg of cholesterol from other sources, will increase their serum cholesterol by about 4%, which translates into a 8% increase in their risk of heart disease. Two eggs daily will mean a 6% increase in cholesterol (12 mg/dL) and 12% more heart disease over the next 5 to 10 years. For young adult men, indulgence in two of these "Easter bunny treats" daily means 30% more coronary heart disease over their lifetime."
- Studies conducted on monkeys (whose diets consist of 40% of calories from egg yolks) develop severe atherosclerotic plaque. When eggs are removed from the diet, significant cholesterol reduction and reversal of atherosclerosis can be seen.
- "In a recently published study, Spence and colleagues observed that egg yolk consumption was associated with carotid plaque in high-risk patients. These findings should not come as a surprise considering the evidence accumulated from thousands of animal experiments over the last 100 years, which have demonstrated that the feeding of cholesterol and saturated fat accelerates the development of atherosclerosis in virtually every vertebrate that has been sufficiently challenged. These lines of evidence have been neglected by the egg industry and promoters of cholesterol laden diets (Paleo, Primal and low-carb) who have attempted to discredit this study without considering the relevant evidence."
- See Dr. Greger's video regarding eggs "Debunking Egg Industry Myths."
- Additional in-depth information regarding the association between eggs and heart disease can be seen here and here.
- This video addresses in detail the myths associated with eggs and cholesterol.
Eggs Contain Industrial Toxins - Dioxins
Facts: Eggs Contain Industrial Toxic Waste Compounds
"Every five years, our government measures the amount of dioxins in our food supply. Dioxins are toxic waste pollutants spewed out into the atmosphere that accumulate in the fatty tissues of humans, and food animals consumed by humans. The most significant exposure to dioxin-like compounds is thought to be dietary intake of animal and fish products." Using data from the EPA published last year, fish ranked the highest in these toxins, eggs came in second highest , and cheese came in third. This may explain why a recent study found that "just a half an egg a day or more was associated with about twice the odds of getting mouth cancer, throat cancer, esophageal cancer, and voice box cancer. Three times the odds of getting colon cancer, about twice the odds of rectal cancer and lung cancer, three times the odds of getting breast cancer—just eating a half an egg a day or more. And about twice the odds of prostate cancer, bladder cancer and all cancers combined."
Animal Protein Promotes Cancer
Facts: Egg Consumption is Associated With Higher Rates of Cancer - This Could be Due to Animal Protein
- "In a 1992 analysis of dietary habits, people who consumed just 1.5 eggs per week had nearly five times the risk for colon cancer , compared with those who consumed hardly any (fewer than 11 per year), according to the International Journal of Cancer. The World Health Organization analyzed data from 34 countries in 2003 and found that eating eggs is associated with death from colon and rectal cancers. And a 2011 study funded by the National Institutes of Health showed that eating eggs is linked to developing prostate cancer. By consuming 2.5 eggs per week, men increased their risk for a deadly form of prostate cancer by 81 percent, compared with men who consumed less than half an egg per week. Finally, even moderate egg consumption tripled the risk of developing bladder cancer, according to a 2005 study published in International Urology and Nephrology."
- "A 2009 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention found an increased risk in several cancers with higher egg consumption. The following increased risks of cancer were found in those consuming 3.5 eggs or more per week compared with those consuming no eggs in their diet: Oral cavity/pharynx cancer = 102% (> 2-fold increase), Head and neck cancer = 67%, Colon cancer = 221% (> 3-fold increase), Breast cancer = 186% (nearly 3-fold increase), Prostate cancer = 89%, Bladder cancer = 123% (> 2-fold increase), All cancers combined = 71%."
- The China Study, briefly explains in this Forks Over Knives clip that animal protein promotes cancer by "turning on" cancer genes and acting as "fertilizer," which fuels cancer progression. A detailed explanation of this process can be seen in the Forks Over Knives documentary . For additional information, see our blog Animal Protein "Turns On" Cancer Genes.
- "A new analysis of data from forty-four studies focused on gastrointestinal cancers (esophagus, stomach, colon, and rectal cancers), and found that eggs are strongly linked to these cancers as well. The collective analysis of forty-four studies, separated over 400,000 participants into groups who consumed less than 3, 3-5, or greater than 5 eggs per week. As egg consumption increased, so did the risk of gastrointestinal cancers . Compared to no egg consumption, there were 13, 14 and 19 percent increases in risk for the less than 3, 3-5 and more than 5 eggs per week groups. When looking at the specific cancer sites, the authors noted that the strongest correlation was present for colon cancer. For colon cancer specifically, the less than 3 and 3-5 eggs per week groups had similar increases in risk—about 15 percent—and the group eating more than 5 eggs per week had a 42 percent increase in risk."
- "Eggs are very rich in cholesterol and choline, each of which may have cancer-promoting properties. Higher blood cholesterol and choline are both linked to increased risk of prostate cancer. Cholesterol is enriched in tumor cells and cholesterol influences cell proliferation and migration, processes that are vital to cancer development . Choline is also enriched in tumor cells and has been implicated in colorectal cancers. Similar to carnitine from red meat, choline from eggs is metabolized by gut bacteria into a pro-inflammatory compound that may contribute to chronic diseases, cancer included. Plus, egg whites are a highly concentrated source of animal protein, which carries its own risks by elevating circulating insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a hormone associated with cancer promotion.
Animal Products Promote Inflammation
Scientists have now discovered that bacterial toxins found in our bloodstream following a meal of animal products is what causes an inflammatory response and occurs within hours after eating. These toxins result from high levels of bacteria found in animal products. For example, fresh hamburger can contain approximately a hundred million bacteria per quarter pounder. Although cooking kills the bacteria, the toxins are still present. Fascinating new research shows that bacterial endotoxins can survive cooking, stomach acid, and enzyme digestion. "After a meal of animal products, people suffer from endotoxemia, their bloodstream becomes awash with bacterial toxins, known as endotoxins. A single meal of meats, eggs, and dairy can cause a spike of inflammation within hours that can stiffen one's arteries ." Normal blood flow can be significantly reduced up to 50% lasting for up to 5-6 hours. Repeating this cycle with more animal products continues the progression of this inflammatory process. "This can set us up for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers one meal at a time." Click on the above links to watch this three-part video response by Dr. Michael Greger, as he explains this process in greater detail.
Dr. Greger presents additional evidence linking animal products with inflammation in his video on arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is an omega 6 fatty acid which is involved in our body's inflammatory response. Our bodies naturally produce all the arachidonic acid needed, so we don't require any from another source. This video shows how chicken and eggs are the top sources of arachidonic acid in the diet. Consuming animal products increases our levels, which can then set off an inflammatory response. This would explain why eliminating animal products in the diet offers relief for those that suffer from inflammatory conditions like arthritis .
The Egg Industry's Marketing Practices are "Incredible"
Facts:Approximately 20 years ago, the American Heart Association, along with several consumer groups, and the Federal Trade Commission, executed successful legal action which urged the egg industry to stop misleading and false advertising that eggs "had no harmful effects on health." This was upheld by the Supreme Court. This anti-cholesterol assault resulted in a reduction of egg consumption, causing severe economic loss to the egg industry. In response, the egg industry created the National Commission on Egg Nutrition to compensate from economic stress. Their ads declared that "There is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever that eating eggs in any way increases the risk of heart attack." Their ads contained seven claims, which the US Court of Appeals found "patently false, misleading, and deceptive."Since 1977, Dr. Michael Greger explains that "The American Egg Board has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to convince people that eating eggs are not going to kill them, and it's working. Research shows that the advertising has been effective in decreasing consumers' concerns over eggs and cholesterol heart health." Dr. Greger says that they are currently targeting their egg campaign to mothers. As part of their marketing campaign, The American Egg Board pays scientists $1500 to answer questions like "What studies can help disassociate eggs from cardiovascular health?" In order to keep the general public confused and misinformed, the egg industry resorts to many unethical measures (including bribery) highlighted in the videos in this section. Please take the time to watch these.
"The American Egg Board is a promotional marketing board appointed by the U.S. government whose mission is to 'increase demand for egg and egg products on behalf of U.S. egg producers.' If an individual egg company wants to run an ad campaign, they can say whatever they want, but if an egg corporation wants to dip into the 10 million dollars the American Egg Board sets aside for advertising, because the board is overseen by the federal government, corporations are not allowed to lie with those funds. This leads to quite revealing exchanges between egg corporations that want to use that money and the USDA on what egg companies can and cannot say about eggs." Dr. Greger's video explains how the USDA "warned the egg industry that saying eggs are nutritious or safe" may "violate rules against false and misleading advertising ." Listen carefully as Dr. Greger exposes the truth behind the industry's clever marketing tactics. Due to laws regarding false and misleading advertising, the UDSA emphasizes that eggs can't be advertised as being healthy or nutritious. For example, eggs can't be advertised as being a "diet" food, low in calories, saturated fat, or cholesterol. They also can't advertise eggs being a rich source of protein, omega 3s or a source of iron, folate, or even that they are good for you . By law, the egg industry "needs to steer clear of words like healthy or nutritious." "Egg corporations aren't even allowed to say things like 'Eggs are an important part of a well-balanced, healthy diet' on an egg carton because it would be considered misleading, according to the USDA's National Egg Supervisor since eggs contain significant amounts of fat and cholesterol, and therefore can contribute to the leading killer in the United States, heart disease. Not only is the industry barred from saying eggs are healthy, they can't even refer to eggs as safe, 'all references to safety must be removed.' because more than a hundred thousand americans are Salmonella poisoned every year from eggs. The American Egg Board's own research showed that the sunny-side up cooking method should be considered unsafe." Eggs cannot be advertised as safe, or healthful. "All 'references to healthfulness must be deleted' as well." Remember that the United States Department of Agriculture made these statements! Be sure to check out Dr. Greger's article: "Egg Industry Caught Making False Claims"
Dr. McDougall says the "Egg industry is out of control." The egg industry's $12 million annual budget promotes the sale of eggs using claims like: "An Egg a Day May Keep Heart Disease Away" or "...there's no need to avoid eggs on a heart-healthy diet." "Unfortunately, we live in a 'lawless wild west' when it comes to consumer protection from the big food businesses."
Dustin Rudolph Pharm.D., sums it up nicely by saying: "Eggs are often promoted as a health food through a confusion of misleading information highlighting the few nutrients and vitamins contained within them shown to be important to human health. Unfortunately, these claims are overstated while important scientific data on the health risks associated with egg consumption go unspoken, especially in terms of long term health. The cholesterol and fat content is usually downplayed as a source of concern when it comes to egg's overall effect on health by these same proponents. I believe it's important to look at the actual evidence when contemplating whether or not to eat eggs before making your decision. Relying on hearsay is of little benefit when it comes to your individual health. Foods that truly promote health should never show up in numerous scientific studies reporting an increased risk of developing potential debilitating diseases in those who consume them. It is this fact that should prompt anyone eating any food item (including eggs) to take a step back and evaluate whether or not the benefits/risks are worth it. Is there another way to accomplish what you want from a nutritional standpoint while improving your health instead of rolling the dice when it comes to certain foods? One has to decide whether the above health risks (cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes) are worth consuming eggs for the one or two individual nutrients found in higher amounts in eggs. The choice is always yours in the end. Ultimately, you are in charge of your health. What you eat today will surely affect you tomorrow. Make the most of your choices."
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