Saturday, April 05, 2014

eggistential - are eggs healthy or not?

arguing over chickens and eggs. my post on egg replacements drew some fire somewhere else and i feel compelled to put it all down here. warning: it's going to be pasted pretty much "as is" (minus capital letters and some spelling corrections).

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x: i don't believe eggs to be unhealthy at all (see for example http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3499583/), but this is pretty cool

totalwaste: x - you can believe what you want, but there are answers to the question of whether or not eggs are healthy that aren't speculation. take a look at http://nutritionfacts.org/index.php?s=eggs , specifically http://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/ . huffington post is a news source.

the article you've linked to is not written off peer-reviewed research, however the author may be trained. "i guess a lot of it has to do with cholesterol." is an entirely unconvincing start, raises warning flags. i'll stick with hard evidence, thanks.


y: unrelated whether eggs are healthy for the human body, they are very unhealthy for the environment and inefficiently produced, and the more alternatives there are available, the better.

x: i just posted it because it is more approachable, it references several peer reviewed papers if you're interested, and there's more if you like (for example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10217054) . nutritionfacts.org strikes me as very biased towards a vegan life style. it does rely on research, but it is chosen carefully.

the bottom line is it appears that moderate consumption of eggs (about one per day) has a lot of dietary benefits and is most likely safe for most people. i strongly believe in balance and in avoiding the extremes in these matters, especially as the "facts" are debatable.


totalwaste: okay, let's be clear - you've linked to another paper focused on cholesterol and nothing else. there's a ton of research available which you haven't linked to. you say the "facts" are debatable, and i'm going to say that "facts" are NOT debatable, because otherwise they'd be OPINIONS. this is what science and peer-reviewed science is all about.

selection bias IS debatable, however.

let's say nutritionfacts.org does have a selection bias. considering that you're the one making that claim here - dr. greger is an authority, and i don't know what your medical credentials are - the onus is on you to demonstrate that bias. so how about you pick a single presentation of his, completely up to you, and link me to a peer-reviewed paper that disagrees with what he's saying? and by disagrees, i don't mean the opinions shared in the conclusion like the paper you shared before, because in that case what's being said is "the cholesterol content of a single egg per day isn't too bad" (fact) and then "so eating an egg a day is healthy" (not a fact).

i'll welcome any evidence that there's a selection bias and i'm always happy to learn new things or correct my own misunderstandings, so i look forward to seeing what you find.

also, regarding your attitude towards vegan "extremism": if there is a food that is good for you but has bad stuff too, and another food which has that same goodness without the bad stuff, is it biased to suggest, as a health professional, that we consume the other one? you're not being forced to change your lifestyle, you're being informed which food choices are healthier.


x: allow me to explain: by "facts" i meant peer reviewed research findings. sadly, in many cases such research findings are flawed or give the wrong idea as a result of lack of control for all accountable factors, poor analysis etc. peer review is no guarantee for the full credibility of the findings, though it is probably the best our scientific community has to offer today.

i think demonstrating selection bias is simpler in this case. i've seen several items on the site, but i don't recall ever coming across any evidence that contradicts the author's claims. could it be that such data simply doesn't exist? i don't think so. don't get me wrong, i do believe this site does a relatively good job in relying on facts, and delivering more reliable information to the public than most sources. i'm merely saying (admittedly, without the thorough investigation that i'm not interested in doing) that it shows only one side of the story. perhaps you have seen examples on the site to suggest otherwise. i'd be happy to learn about them, as balanced articles will increase the site's credibility in my eyes.

finally, personally i think avoiding something completely, not only in it's pure form (e.g. milk and cheese) but also as a minor ingredient in other products, is extreme and in many cases when the quantity no longer seems to matter, strikes me as almost religious. i think this also inspires an adverse response towards reducing consumption of plant based products in many people to whom complete avoidance is out of the question, which is unfortunate as it might be wise in light of the accumulating research data, at least as a cautionary step, regardless of how conclusive it is. at the end of the day, everyone can weigh the risks and the benefits and choose his own way, and i'm not trying to tell anyone what to choose. i only hope they choose rationally, based on balanced information, to the extent that such information exists.


zenstar: without wanting to get tied into this debate, while he has some good work there has been criticism about greger.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Greger
look at the criticism section.

at the end of the day we all assimilate the information we want and make our own decisions. i just suggest everyone gets as many sources as possible.


totalwaste: okay, that's great and all but two things:

1) if you're going to claim selection bias, then demonstrate it. if you have enough energy to make anti-establishment claims but not enough to back them up then you probably shouldn't be making those claims.

i looked at the reference that the wikipedia article cites, and the article is asking important questions and making fine distinctions, that's cool and part of a healthy scientific debate. but he's arguing about the data presentation, not the data itself. if you watch the videos you should pick up pretty quickly that while greger's definitely pushing a vegan agenda, he's not leaving out disclaimers or misrepresenting conclusions. and he tells you when to take the research with a grain of salt. and he doesn't take himself too seriously, so when you see a title like "uprooting the leading causes of death" know that he's being funny, not serious.

2) regarding the "religious" aspect of veganism: in case you've missed all of my early posts on the subject, i was particularly anti-vegan precisely because there's a lot of bullshit that's thrown around and because some vegans are really assholes about it. unfortunately, those zealots are the ones who are most vocal, but the fact is that being vegan doesn't require a religious adherence and avoiding trace elements of things like dairy in chocolate etc are about the movement's attempt to reduce consumption of animal products across the board, not about health.

i, personally, applaud those people and their adherence to their principles but i also accept that not everyone wants to be a part of the movement and that they have the right to choose. this thread began with a discussion about health and technology, not a discussion on politics and agendas and whether or not some vegans are idiots and put other people off. do what you like, eat an egg or two day, i really won't judge you for it. but don't say it's healthy when all evidence points to the contrary. and there's a LOT of evidence. and, as you said, peer-reviewed doesn't mean "perfect" but it's the best we've got to go on.


zenstar: adam... there is also a lot of evidence for the fact that they are good for you. this page has a nice summary with lots of links to the actual papers:
http://authoritynutrition.com/why-are-eggs-good-for-you/
and another page about it also linking to various reports:
http://www.livescience.com/39353-eggs-dont-deserve-bad-reputation.html

i think we can all agree the topic is still under various forms of debate and so making a direct claim either way is basically asking for someone to object... there are good and bad things about them (like almost everything).


x: totalwaste, i do tend to ignore most posts relating to veganism precisely for the reasons you've mentioned, those people you were talking about are exactly what i meant about taking it to the extreme and i'm glad to hear you're not among them and you have a more reasonable approach as to what it means to be vegan (however, i do not know how common such a definition is among vegans).

i think zenstar here summarized pretty well what i wanted to say originally, that is, the evidence is inconclusive (though i may have sounded more decisive than i really am on the subject).


totalwaste: thanks x.

to both of you.:
there's no debate as to whether eggs have benefits, nobody said they didn't. however, cholesterol and heart disease are the only things your articles (and the research they're based on) are talking about as risk and that's not what's so unhealthy about eggs.

http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-and-diabetes/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bacon-eggs-and-gestational-diabetes-during-pregnancy-2/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/total-recall/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-sources-of-pcb-chemical-pollutants/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eggs-choline-and-cancer/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/carcinogenic-retrovirus-found-in-eggs/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/heterocyclic-amines-in-eggs-cheese-and-creatine/
http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-poisoning-bacteria-cross-contamination/

and there are much better ways to keep your eyes safe: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dietary-prevention-of-age-related-macular-degeneration/

and there are real issues with the other side of the debate: http://nutritionfacts.org/2014/03/06/egg-industry-caught-making-false-claims/

just sayin'.

if you're interested, he cites his sources below each video. oh, and i've deliberately not linked to any of the videos about heart-health, there are plenty and they demonstrate how manipulative the egg industry propaganda is.

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