Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Stop Hatin' On Healthy Eggs, Sally Squires

If you are even a casual reader of health journalism these days, then I'm sure you've run across the regular columns from The Washington Post health and nutrition columnist named Sally Squires. Her regular "Lean Plate Club" feature includes lots of news and commentary on the latest developments in the world of diet and living healthy. Unfortunately, Squires comes at it from the conventional low-fat, low-calorie, low-cholesterol, everything-in-moderation yadda yadda yadda approach that has dominated our culture for decades now.

And I've had my run-ins with her too: she dismissed weight loss bloggers like me as mere "amateurs", I chided her and other so-called "experts" for giving weight loss advice when they themselves are overweight, and I even praised her for her column about having a wide-open weight loss effort. You take the good with the bad, I suppose, but Sally Squires is back again with some decidedly BAD dietary advice regarding eggs.

Whether you're livin' la vida low-carb or not, egg consumption is a VERY healthy way to start your day with a power-packed meal or anytime as a snack idea. I love my eggs and probably eat 2-3 dozen by myself every single week. Yep, yolk and all, Ms. Squires! Why? Because they are indeed (say it with me now!) H-E-A-L-T-H-Y!!!

Studies have clearly shown eggs fill you up much better than their high-carb counterparts, they provide ample satiety so you are not apt to snack between meals, and most recently we learned that regular egg consumption acts as an anti-inflammatory food despite all the negative stereotypes against this nutritional powerhouse food. I even dedicated a YouTube video to the subject of eggs because it is too important for people to get bogged down by the ignorance being spouted off by people like Sally Squires.

First, let's address the "artery-clogging cholesterol" comment. Ummm, where's your proof that dietary cholesterol has any impact on your lipid profile or in your arterial walls? Noted researcher on low-carbohydrate diets Dr. Stephen Phinney (who I hope to interview for my podcast show when I meet him at a symposium on saturated fat in Phoenix, Arizona next month) once conducted a test on himself eating a total of 17 eggs in one day to see what impact it would have on his cholesterol levels. Guess what? His cholesterol went up by only one point. So, this myth that eating cholesterol will raise your cholesterol is as archaic and WRONG as eating fat will make you fat. Again, I ask, where is the proof?

Then Squires quotes a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health named Dr. Lawrence Appel who claims the "unhealthy saturated fat" that accompanies egg consumption from all the bacon and sausage they eat with them is what concerns him the most because it will in his opinion significantly raise LDL cholesterol levels. And he made one of the most asinine statements I've ever heard about why you shouldn't eat these delicious low-carb breakfast foods.

"And many of these foods are cooked in trans fat, which also hikes LDL levels," Appel exclaimed.

HUH?! What trans fat is used to cook eggs, bacon and sausage, Dr. Appel? If you're referring to margarine--a low-fat concoction that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole--then obviously you know nothing about people who are livin' la vida low-carb. We cook our eggs in butter, macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, and other wonderfully healthy saturated fats. There's no trans fat in my cooking oils. And you don't need a lick of oil when you cook bacon and sausage because they've got plenty of amazing fats in them already to get brown and crispy for a wonderful complement to eggs.

Ironically, Dr. Appel already understands this dynamic about eating less carbs and more fat for better heart health because of this study he published in the December 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Is he now disagreeing with what the science showed him quite clearly just a little more than two years ago? Come on, Dr. Appel, you know better than to allow your own personal zealotry to get in the way of being an objective observer.

This quote from Dr. Appel certainly took the cake.

"But what I am concerned about is that some people will think that the exception is the rule," he stated. "So they will eat an omelet on the weekend and then grab a breakfast sandwich on the run on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We don't want people to reverse the strides that have been made."

Let me tell you, sir, it's not the eggs that will "reverse the strides" these people are making in their health. It's the SANDWICH part of that breakfast sandwich with all those carbohydrates in them that makes it worse for your body--NOT the eggs or the cholesterol and fat that's in them. If you cut out the bread and eat the eggs and meat for breakfast, then you've got just about the perfect meal. Check out my daily menus and you'll see that eggs are a major part what I eat and proudly so. They are AMAZINGLY good for you!

The final paragraph in Squires' column was a bit appalling, too.

"To make sense of all this, here's the bottom line: If you're healthy and you like eggs, eat them in moderation," she recommended. "If you've got high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes, skip the yolks or limit your intake to no more than one per day."

In a word, Ms. Squires, NO THANKS (okay, that's two words!). I am VERY healthy precisely because I do eat eggs--yolk and all!--regularly as part of my reduced-carbohydrate nutritional approach. As long as you are limiting your carb intake, eggs can be a yummy way to get lots of hunger-satisfying protein and fat into your body to help burn body fat and build muscle. I wouldn't think of ever giving up my eggs as long as they are providing me an inexpensive way to stay healthy. And that's exactly what they are doing!

There was a chat about this Sally Squires column that was quite revealing about why she believes what she does about eggs being harmful to health, especially for Type 2 diabetics. Check out this question and answer exchange:

Eggs and Type 2 Diabetes: I can understand the cholesterol issue with eggs and heart disease, but why is there an issue with eggs and Type 2 Diabetes?

Sally Squires: Because diabetes significantly raises the risk of heart disease. In fact, some experts have told me that we should consider diabetes "early heart disease." It has just that much effect on blood vessels and the heart. So the National Cholesterol Education Program--part of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, advises that people with type 2 diabetes need to take many of the same steps in prevention as those who already have high blood cholesterol or other signs of heart disease.

The good news: We know from the Diabetes Prevention Program that weight loss, exercise and eating right can significantly reduce risk of developing diabetes. And we know from other research that people who already have type 2 diabetes can takes steps to control it and sometimes even reverse it.

Okay, Ms. Squires, if diabetes raises heart disease risk, then why not treat the diabetes first with the best proven method for controlling it--LOW-CARB! If you want to help diabetes ward off heart disease from happening to them, then logic tells you to cut down on their carbs along with a regular exercise routine to bring about those reductions in blood sugar, insulin levels, and weight. Why do we have to make this so difficult for people to understand? Just tell 'em the truth about livin' la vida low-carb and watch the results happen right before our very eyes.

Maybe that's what the Sally Squires of this world are afraid of!

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Blogger Roy and Hazel said...

I totally agree.

We had a real backlash against eggs in the UK several years ago because of comments made by a government minister. And doubts still exist in many people's minds today about how healthy eggs really are.

But I say: listen to your own body. I am on my 24th day of induction on a low carb approach. I started by cooking a couple of boiled eggs, then fried eggs with bacon, then scambled eggs with smoked salmon pieces. I next tried omelettes with cheese, and other different fillings. After a bit of scouting around for recipes, cooked a frittata with peppers and chicken which I eat cold on the way to work (really delicious). I'm currently trying out different versions of egg muffins which you can have with lots of fillings, my current favourite is with feta cheese and red onion.

Needlesstosay, I love eggs and feel great!!!

3/26/2008 7:43 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

these people are weird.
eating those good organic free range eggs is really healthy!
and they are SO versatile.

3/27/2008 12:30 AM  
Blogger Chainey said...

Hi there

I was cruising your archives and I found a collection of interviews here, but the ones I tried the podcasts for were "no longer available". Are they archived anywhere else?


3/27/2008 3:48 AM  
Blogger jhazen said...

I am VERY healthy precisely because I do eat eggs--yolk and all!

Hi Jimmy-

I'm a fairly new reader/listener, and have been low-carbing for about 3 weeks now. I'd love it if you could talk sometime about high-fat vs. high-protein low-carbing. I read somewhere about a guy basically having egg *yolk* omelettes, and discarding the egg whites. Seems like you'd go through eggs really fast doing that!




3/27/2008 5:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With so many scientists on each side of the egg/saturated fat question it's not helpful to me when one person quotes studies that support their view and someone on the other side quotes the studies that support their view, as I'm not smart enough to evaluate all the research on both sides. Quoting the research on either side makes it sound like the issue is settled, but I don't think it is quite yet. It could be that eggs cause heart disease in some people and not in others, but I'm not ready to even bet on that.

3/27/2008 9:22 AM  
Blogger renegadediabetic said...

I'm type 2 and I eat at least 2 eggs a day. I'm much healthier than I was when eating cereal and other grain-based products for breakfast.

3/27/2008 10:14 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Peter, THANKS for your comments! All I can do is present the latest evidence from the research lab and let it speak for itself. For me, eggs have been a key element in my success.

3/27/2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

CONGRATULATIONS jhazen! Welcome to the healthy low-carb lifestyle and I am confident you are well on your way to becoming the success you DESERVE to be.

Regarding your question about a high-fat or a high-protein version of livin' la vida low-carb, that's totally up to the individual. My body NEEDS more fat to serve as fuel when I reduce my carbohydrate intake. That's why my fat intake is about 65-70% daily. It's what works for me based on the principles I learned from Dr. Robert C. Atkins.

As for just eating the egg yolks, it's a great way to get a super-concentrated version of the best part of the egg. But I like the whole egg myself. :D

THANK YOU for your comments and DON'T GIVE UP on that low-carb life you have begun to gloriously live!

3/27/2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Chainey, I'm not sure what you're asking. But that link you provided is for all my blog interviews, but I do not have transcripts for most of my podcast interviews. Here's the archives of my podcast so you can listen to the past interviews. :) THANKS for reading and listening!

3/27/2008 11:47 AM  
Blogger Tuulia said...

Hi Jimmy and thank you for this wonderful blog! I love your posts and podcasts (great listening when packing!), and I don't think I'd be able to do low-carb if there weren't blogs like yours to convince as low-carb people as well as the ignorant public that it really works.

As far as eggs go, I eat them everyday. I like mine boiled, and I can eat 5 a day. They taste great, they keep the hunger away, they don't make me crave for snacks like bagels used to do and they are such an easy way to start your day, I wouldn't even think of not eating eggs.

I don't know why eggs are the villain and the whole-grain snacks are still the good guys, when it should be the other way around. Look at the amount of eggs people ate before, we should be extint as species if the whole "eggs are bad" hype was actually true.

Sorry for the rant, and thanks again for a wonderful post!

3/27/2008 3:23 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Be nice if Sally Squires would do some research before she opens her mouth. Got this today from Dr. Mirkins e-zine letter:

Dear Dr. Mirkin: My cholesterol is too high; should I avoid eggs?

For more than 50 years eggs have been called
unhealthful because they are among the foods that contain the
highest levels of cholesterol. However, in recent years eggs have
been rehabilitated. This month, a team of researchers at Mahidol
University in Bangkok showed that adding an egg a day to the
diets of healthy people in Thailand raised the good HDL
cholesterol that prevents heart attacks. It did not affect the
bad LDL cholesterol or triglycerides (Journal of the Medical
Association of Thailand, March 2008).
Adding as many as three eggs per day to your diet will not
raise cholesterol. More than 80 percent of the cholesterol in your
body is manufactured by your liver, and less than 20 percent
comes from the food you eat. When you eat more cholesterol,
your liver makes less. When you eat less cholesterol, your liver
makes more. However, if you add eggs you must subtract
another equal source of calories, because increasing caloric
intake will raise cholesterol. So this is not an invitation to
eat an unlimited amount of eggs. The study supports other research
showing that eggs in moderation are not harmful, and that up to
one egg a day may have specific health benefits.


3/27/2008 3:30 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for those sweet comments Tuulia. :)

3/27/2008 3:34 PM  
Blogger Tom Bunnell (TB)--TB said...

Here is a link to an ongoing and 'classic' (case study) being conducted by Native American Doctor, Dr. Jay Wortman, regarding all of these issues on a daily continuous basis. -- His is a priceless contribution in this debate.

His 'tip of the iceberg' narrative, along with his forthcoming books and documentaries(Big Fat Lie, etc etc) are substantiating what we are all learning and finding to be the actual truth in all this, rather than the 'big fat lie'.

I like to call it 'The Big Fat, Accidental Lie'.

3/27/2008 6:32 PM  
Anonymous Lyndsey L said...

If you want picture-perfect eggs, fry them in either lard or coconut oil. They are delicious this way, and pretty!

I would not be low-carbing if it were not for the eggs!

4/02/2008 4:02 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I LOVE mine in butter. :)

4/02/2008 4:39 PM  

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