Loving the BITE: Eggs Are Good

Here we go again.  A few weeks ago, you may have read headlines that seemed to confirm it once and for all: Eggs yolks are worse for your heart than cigarettes.  That seems pretty bad.  Especially for a cyclist striving for health and great performance on the bike.  With a headline like this, there must be a slam-dunk, solid study, right?  Surely, only with substantial evidence would one make such a statement.  Newspapers, evening news, and online sources are all claiming it.  Not so fast.  Welcome to Nutrition Research.

I’ve read the report and I’ve read the study, and I still love eggs, including the yolks.  I still recommend them.  I think they are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals for cyclists who want to consume them.  Within a whole-food diet, I do not believe they are a risky food…in fact, I think they are beneficial.  Am I turning a blind-eye?  No, I’m simply using both of my good ones to read and understand this study, along with the myriad of studies that show no correlation of eggs (and egg yolks) with heart disease or mortality.  This week, we’ll talk eggs and the ins and outs of this particular study.

Recipe of the Week: Curried Egg Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled (see bonus recipe) – Cage-free, vegetarian fed, high omega-3
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives, green onions, or shallots
  • 1/4 cup minced celery
  • Dash of cayenne, more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Roughly chop peeled, hard-boiled eggs and place in medium bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed.
  3. Serve in sandwiches, in lettuce leaves, or by itself.

Along with a whole-food carbohydrate source, eggs, and this egg salad, make for an excellent recovery option to promote muscle retention and growth after stressing muscles in training.

Comments:

If these headlines are true, and eggs are so bad, why in the world would I recommend them?  After all, I do write these posts with both your wellness and cycling goals in mind.  With this in mind, the take-home message of this week’s Loving the Bite is simple: Look beyond the headlines – always.  Whether you decide to keep eggs in your diet or not, here’s what you should know about this most current study (and what you should always look for in other studies):

  1. This study is NOT one that can establish cause and effect.  Typically, people assume a study is set up with 2 or more groups.  One gets eggs, one doesn’t.  In this case, maybe a 3rd group gets cigarettes, and a 4th gets cigarettes AND eggs (you can see why a study like that would not be ethical). Results for stroke risk are noted (in this study, researchers measured carotid-wall thickness, an indicator of heart-disease risk) before and after the  study.   The egg group’s risk increases significantly more than the others.  Headlines are written.

 Unfortunately, this was not the case (and seldom is).  Instead, elderly people who had survived strokes were asked about specific eating and smoking habits over their lifetimes.  Then, it was determined that survivors who reported more egg had the greatest heart disease risk and carotid-wall thickness.  All this, based on memory.   Humans, at any age, are horrible at this sort of thing and generally under and over report intake when remembering what they ate even a month ago.

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