Eggs: Bad as Cigarettes?
The media had a field day with a Canadian study suggesting eggs are nearly as bad for you as smoking cigarettes. Although I recently posted on the health benefits of eggs, I had to respond to this latest report.
How is it the world’s longest-lived people eat the most eggs? Despite eating more eggs than Americans, the French and Japanese have less heart attacks and live longer than we do.
Our great fear, of course, (and the villain in the study) is the cholesterol, found in egg yolks. Although we’ve been slow to catch on, research repeatedly confirms artery plaque has less to do with cholesterol and egg yolks, and much more to do with inflammation, a process fueled by excess omega-6 fat, a lack of omega-3 fat, sugar, stress and dearth of antioxidants.
What do we know about the commercial eggs of today? Hens kept in cages and deprived of weeds, bugs and sunlight produce eggs with more inflammatory omega-6 fats, less artery protective omega-3’s, less vitamins A, E and D, and, if it matters, more cholesterol than hens roaming on pastures. Pastured hens produce visibly darker egg yolks, a sign of more health-protective antioxidants.
“Cage-free” or “free-range” eggs in grocery stores are not the same as truly free-ranging hens, like those in my back yard. Chickens (named that for a reason) don’t like to venture outside unless they feel very safe, and even then usually need a nudge. A door in the side of an industrial chicken cage is unlikely to get used much, but it’s enough to call the chickens “free range.”
If you love eggs, and your arteries, consider raising a few hens of your own. They are easy to care for, provide hours of entertainment and, if you let them on your lawn, will give you a life-extending food. If feathered pets aren’t for you, consider a local farmer.