By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , /

“Does Cholesterol Size Matter?” Professor Fernandez has received
nearly a half million dollars from the egg industry and
writes papers like this. She admits eggs can raise LDL, bad cholesterol,
but argues that HDL, so-called good cholesterol, also rises maintaining
the ratio of bad to good. This is the study she cites
to support that assertion. But instead of cherry-picking
this one study that she performed with Egg Board money,
involving 42 people, if you look at a meta-analysis,
if you look at the balance of evidence, the rise in bad with increasing
cholesterol intakes is much more than
the rise in good. Their meta-analysis of 17
different studies showed that dietary cholesterol increases
the total to HDL-cholesterol ratio, suggesting that the favorable
rise in HDL fails to compensate for the adverse rise in
total and LDL-cholesterol and, therefore, the increased
intake of dietary cholesterol may indeed raise the risk
of coronary heart disease. The Egg Board responded by saying
the increased heart disease risk associated with eating eggs needs to be put
in perspective relative to other risk factors, arguing that it’s worse to be
overweight than it is to eat eggs, to which the
researchers replied: Be that as it may, it’s easier
to cut back on egg intake than it is to permanently
lose weight. Fine, eggs increase LDL,
but it’s large LDL, this concept that large fluffy LDL
are not as bad as small dense LDL. And indeed large LDL only raises
heart disease risk 44%, instead of 63%
for the small LDL. Light large buoyant LDL still significantly
increases our risk of dying from our #1 killer. This was for women,
the same was found for men. Large LDL only increases risk of
heart attack or death 31% instead of 44%. Bottomline, as the latest review
on the subject concluded, LDL cholesterol has
been clearly established as a causal agent in atherosclerosis,
regardless of size. Yet, check out how the egg board
researcher worded it. The formation of larger LDL from
eggs is considered protective against heart attack,
relative to small LDL. That’s like saying getting stabbed with a knife
is protective… relative to getting shot! Health practitioners should bear in mind,
she wrote, that restricting dietary cholesterol puts a burden on egg intake and
leads to the avoidance of a food that contains dietary components
like carotenoids and choline. Now she wrote this in 2012
before the landmark2013 study showing that choline from eggs
appears to increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death.
So she can be excused for that, but what about the carotenoids in eggs,
like lutein and zeaxanthin, so important for protecting vision and
reducing cholesterol oxidation. As I explored previously, the amounts of
these phytonutrients in eggs are miniscule. One spoonful of spinach contains
as much as nine eggs. And then compared the predictable
effects on eye health: organic free-range eggs
versus corn and spinach. But what about the effects of
eggs on cholesterol oxidation? We’ve known for decades that
LDL cholesterol is bad, but oxidized LDL
is even worse. So, her logic goes, since eggs have
trace amounts of these antioxidants, the implication is that eggs
PREVENT cholesterol oxidation. But the science shows
the exact opposite! Consumption of eggs INCREASES the susceptibility
of LDL cholesterol to oxidation. They found that not only does
eating eggs raise LDL levels, but also increases
LDL oxidizability, in addition to the oxidizability
of our entire bloodstream. Was this also just published,
so she wouldn’t have known differently? No, it was published
18 years ago, yet she still tries to insinuate
that eggs would reduce oxidation. She acknowledges receiving funding
from the American Egg Board and then claims she has
no conflicts of interest.

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