Eggs Are For Easter
Eggs are the richest unprocessed food commonly consumed. Rational
thinking people might partake of this delicacy on a special occasion, such as after the annual Easter egg hunt.
Reasonable behavior is undermined by the efforts of the American Egg
Board whose mission is to make every day Easter for everybody, and the
Board has a $14 million annual budget to accomplish this job. According
to their web site (www.enc-online.org):
“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
Eggs Provide Ideal Nutrition (for Pre-hatched Chicks)
The purpose of a hen’s egg is to provide all the materials necessary
to develop the one cell – created by the joining of a cock’s sperm with
a hen’s ovum – 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.
The components of a cooked egg, even a hard-boiled egg, are absorbed
through our intestines. As a result, 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.
Eggs as “Ideal Protein”
Eggs are promoted as the ideal source of protein for people – often referred to as a “perfect
protein.” Eggs are high in protein, but the kinds of proteins in hen’s
eggs are not ideal for people. When volunteer subjects were fed
different foods to determine the ability of humans to utilize various
protein mixtures, investigators found that our bodies can utilize the
proteins in a mixture of eggs and potatoes 36 percent more efficiently
than those from eggs alone.1 If the protein make-up of eggs were
ideal, then you couldn’t improve upon it by adding potatoes, could you?
Vegetable sources provide for all the protein needs of people – much
safer and more ideal than from hen’s eggs. (See the December 2003
McDougall Newsletter for more on protein.)
Too Much of a “Good Thing” – Protein
(The Problem with Egg Whites)
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 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
Here are six examples of how excess sulfur-containing amino acids in
your diet can adversely affect your health:
1) 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.2
2) 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.3
3) 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
4) 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
5) Restriction of methionine in the diet has been shown to prolong
the life of experimental animals.12-13
6) Halitosis, body odor, and noxious flatus – akin to the smell of
rotten eggs – are direct results of the sulfur-containing amino acids we
eat.14-15 The foul odors of sulfur gases should be a clear message that
something is terribly wrong and deserves our immediate attention.
“Eggs Not Harmful to Health” – Says the Egg Industry
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. Traditionally, in scientific studies on humans,
eggs have been used as the source to demonstrate the adverse effects of
cholesterol on our health and our heart arteries.
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.16,17 Poor-quality studies,
often funded by the egg industry, add to the false information they use
to vindicate their products.18
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%.19
Too Much of a “Bad Thing” – Cholesterol
(The Problem with Egg Yolks)
The real life effects of eggs were recently investigated in a large
population of nearly 6,000 vegetarians and 5,000 non-vegetarians over a
period of 13 years. Within this group of nearly 11,000 people, those
eating eggs more than 6 times a week had a 2.47 times greater risk of
dying of heart disease than those eating less than one egg a week.20
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.18 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.21
Untainted research from high-quality studies shows 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.22 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.18 For young adult men, indulgence in two of these “Easter bunny
treats” daily means 30% more coronary heart disease over their
Jeremiah Stamler, MD, the Chairman of the Department of Preventive
Medicine of the Feinberg School of Medicine (Northwestern University),
wrote in 1999 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “It
is a reasonable inference that the sizable decline in per capita egg
consumption in the United States in recent decades, and hence in per
capita total cholesterol intake, has been one important component of the
improved dietary patterns leading to a fall in mean serum cholesterol
concentration in the adult population from ~ 6.08 mmol/L (235 mg/dL) in
the 1950s to ~ 5.30 mmol/L (205 mg/dL) in the 1990s, and to the
concomitant sustained marked reductions in mortality rates from CHD, all
cardiovascular diseases, and all causes.”18 Between 1970 and 1995 annual
consumption decreased from 310 to 235 eggs per person.
And Too Much of Some Other “Bad Things”
Eggs are filled with too much protein, cholesterol, calories, fat,
bacteria, and environmental chemical contamination to be consumed with
any frequency, with any expectation of health. Egg protein is a common
source of allergy in infants, children and adults, producing problems
from hives to asthma. Eggs are high in fat which promotes obesity and
type-2 diabetes. Fats and cholesterol in eggs promote the formation of
cholesterol gallstones and gallbladder attacks. Egg-borne infections
caused by the salmonella bacteria can give rise to cramps, diarrhea,
nausea, vomiting, chills, fever and/or headache – food poisoning called
salmonellosis.23-24 Eggs are a main contributor to human exposure to
dioxin and other environmental chemicals that are known to cause birth
defects, neurologic damage, and cancer.25 Many nutritional qualities of
eggs are similar to the nutritional qualities of cow’s milk, cheese,
chicken, beef, and fish – foods known to cause major health problems
when consumed in typical amounts of people living in western societies.
The Egg Industry Is Out of Control
Twenty-five years ago, based on the concerns of the American Heart
Association, the Federal Trade Commission carried out legal action –
upheld by the US Supreme Court – to compel the egg industry to desist
from false and misleading advertising claiming that eggs had no harmful
effects on health.18 These days, with a $12 million annual budget for
product promotion, matters are even worse than before with the egg
industry now making unrestrained claims like: 26,27
“…there's no need to avoid eggs on a heart-health diet.”
“Even cholesterol-lowering diets allow moderate amounts of whole
“An Egg a Day May Keep Heart Disease Away”
“…eat your eggs, they’re good for you.”
Unfortunately, we live in a “lawless wild west” when it comes to
consumer protection from the big food businesses. Therefore, only you
can defend yourself and your family from such profit-driven bogus claims
and the harms that come to those who fail to understand this lesson:
Eggs are a delicacy, prudently reserved for Easter.
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