Eggs Yolks and Bad Science

You have got to love bad science. And the media.

A couple of years ago, I finally stopped fearing the whole egg. For years I ate nothing but egg whites. My breakfast of champions 10 years ago was 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup of water, and four egg whites in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Boom. Healthy as an ox. I’ve advised clients to give up their yolks, Or at the very least, do one yolk and whites if they couldn’t do so.


It took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that I can actually eat the whole egg. Wait? It’s healthy for me? The cholesterol in eggs do not cause high cholesterol and plaque buildup? Today, I enjoy fried eggs with no feelings of guilt.

I now advise clients that they can enjoy the delicious whole egg. Some told me that their palates were so used to eating the whites, and they were so stuck in thinking they were forbidden that they’d never go back.

I did though. And I stand by my decision. Egg yolk lovers unite!


This study stating that we should go back to fearing the yolk  has many holes and discrepancies.It also has many people fearing the whole egg again.

I mean, eating eggs is almost as bad as smoking!??? Please!

In my opinion it’s a poorly done study that the media is jumping on for shock value and headlines.


“Eggs Yolks Almost as Bad as Smoking”

If you read the study what is ACTUALLY says is:

“May increase carotid plaque build-up.”

If you look at the data the strongest correlation is between plaque buildup and age. Not egg consumption and plaque buildup.

It’s a correlation study. Correlation does not mean causation. Eggs do not “cause” heart disease. This study simply takes a look at the correlation between the two. A study doesn’t just have to show causation, it also has to show that it’s plausible.

There seems to be a huge discrepancy in the data regarding age, amongst other things:

  • No data about overall diet: processed foods, sugar, trans fats, or wheat.
  • How many actual healthy foods (vegetables and fruit) were consumed by participants. How much do they eat?
  • Lifestyle was not a factor: how much do the participants exercise? What are their lifestyles like? Are they active at all? Do they work a desk job? Or do they work on an oil rig?
  • Stress: That goes along with lifestyle, but I thought I’d give it it’s own number. How much stress do these participants have in their lives?
  • How much do they weigh? What is their waist-hip circumference? That plays a huge role in increasing the risk of heart disease

The doctors that performed the study were funded by and receive compensation from multiple Pharmaceutical companies whom manufacture lipid-lowering drugs. They also have a vendetta against eggs. For which they have already been called out for.

This was also a “self-study” Meaning the participants just reported back to the doctors. No controlled environment.

This article debunks the study, and even goes into the science behind how the fat in an egg is digested. It’s far fetched that egg yolks are being injected directly into your arteries.:

“The chain length of fatty acids determines how they are transported out of the digestive system. If a fatty acid has fewer than 12 carbon atoms, it will “probably travel through the portal vein that connects directly to the liver. If the fatty acid is a more typical long-chain variety, it must be reformed into a triglyceride and enter circulation via the lymphatic system.”[i] Egg yolks thus have no short chain fatty acids that may even head off in the portal vein to the liver (not that this should cause concern anyway). The longer chain fats (saturated and unsaturated) are packaged into chylomicrons, released into the lymphatic system and they glide from there into the blood stream to carry the vital nutrients around the body to do their vital work.”

You will find egg lovers and healthy gurus alike clearing the name of our beloved egg.

Have your eggs and eat them too!

kaleandomelet copy

Remember to stick with organic, pasture-raised  eggs. The ones where the hens roamed free and ate bugs and seeds…not GMO soy and corn.

Here’s Why:

  • the egg yolk contains all of the nutrition in the egg (healthy fats and vitamins, minerals)
  • you are what you eat…you are what the chicken eats. To get the most of the nutrition in the egg, buy the most nutritious eggs. From your farm if possible!
  • Caged vs. Free-Range. If you saw the condition of the chickens from the cheap commercial grocery store eggs, you’d hopefully think twice and spend and extra buck on organic or make a trip to the farm.
  • In addition to being better from an environmental perspective, free-range eggs are also nutritionally superior, as demonstrated in Mother Earth News’ 2007 egg testing project. Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain much more Omega-3 fatty acids, 7x more beta carotene and 2/3 more Vitamin E!

And as far as that junk study goes…do I even need to get into why smoking is bad? It doesn’t even compare.

If you want to take a look an actual controlled study, which was reported by the media, go back and watch this 60 minutes report on how toxic sugar is. They took YOUNG, healthy participants and actually placed them in a controlled environment. They controlled what they ate, their activity levels and regularly collected data from each participant (blood pressure, bloodwork, etc).The data, in these young teenage participants actually showed how sugar and heart disease and other health problems were linked! If there ever was any one food  you should cut out, that “food” would be sugar.

Rebuttals to check out:

Egg Yolk Consumption, Cartoid Plaque and Junk Science  (Zoe Harcombe)

Eggs Worse Than Smoking?(Mohr Results)

Are Eggs Really Bad for Your Arteries? (Marks Daily Apple)

**stepping off my soapbox now**

Would love to hear your thoughts!!!!


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  • Reply Debbie@ Live from La Quinta

    I have a friend that insists that smoking isn’t bad for you. That all the data is a huge conspiracy. I guess people are going to believe what they’re going to believe. I worry about eggs because of what they feed the chickens, not about cholesterol.

    August 16, 2012 at 12:06 am
  • Reply Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    I’ve been totally wondering about this since I heard the headlines but hadn’t had a chance to dig into it more. I eat a fair share of eggs because they are a quick and easy source of protein. Thanks for sharing this information. It’s really helpful.

    August 16, 2012 at 12:29 am
  • Reply Lisa

    I saw this and almost had to laugh. You summed it up perfectly!!! I totally agree with you and hope people don’t get attached to this theory and deny themselves from eggs, I believe they are a perfect protein and nutrient option! Thanks for this post! You did a great job on it Laury!!!

    August 16, 2012 at 12:39 am
    • Reply laury

      I laughed too!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Susan

    I think I used to eat about 8 egg whites a day when I did the competition and one yolk. So true the nutrients and goodness are in the yolk.

    August 16, 2012 at 3:09 am
    • Reply laury

      there is SUCH goodness in there! Especially when the chickens are fed right!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    Interesting read! You know your stuff. I gladly went back to egg yolks with open arms… I was not a fan of the egg white cartons!
    Gimmickey reports in the media on health and nutrition are a big frustration for me. It’s hard enough to make sense of health for those of us without a health-related degree. We should be exposed to a media that supports a healthy population… just sayin!

    August 16, 2012 at 6:05 am
    • Reply laury

      I agree…it’s so hard to weed through the nonsense and the real stuff!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    I’m still eating the whole egg! I think it’s a lot like the coconut oil debate. New studies will always come up to question everything.

    August 16, 2012 at 6:23 am
    • Reply laury

      always, I agree!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Katie @wishandwhimsy

    I LOVE EGGS! Thanks for sharing this information. Don’t fear the whole egg. (Otherwise you’d be missing out not only on the most nutritional part of the egg, but also the deliciousness of the “runny egg”)

    August 16, 2012 at 6:47 am
  • Reply Glenneth

    i eat the whole egg. usually i only have two per week. and i think “runny” eggs are the best!

    August 16, 2012 at 6:58 am
  • Reply Keri @ Blue-Eyed Runner

    I saw this study reported about on the news and actually rolled my eyes to no one…its so ridiculous!

    August 16, 2012 at 7:42 am
  • Reply danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness

    Great post! I eat the whole egg and 100% believe that the yolk is where the nutrients are!!! Nothing wrong with an egg!

    August 16, 2012 at 7:44 am
  • Reply Lisa

    Lol, I don’t even need to say anything. I’m just nodding my head 🙂
    We’re so in sync, my friend! And likewise, I went through an egg-yolk-fear phase too.

    I was gonna paste that link to the Zoe rebuttal, but you got that too 🙂

    I just hope no one takes the “bad eggs” headline and runs with it. Although I’m sure they will!

    August 16, 2012 at 7:59 am
  • Reply Kelley F

    Eggs are the 99.9% perfect food. They are cells and contain every nutrient (except vitamin C) the human body needs to produce healthy cells in our bodies. Also, they are one of the few foods which contain Vitamin D.

    August 16, 2012 at 8:22 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge! You hit the nail on the head!! Amen!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Maureen

    Love this post! I used to do the one whole egg with many egg whites. I proudly eat my yolks now!
    I saw that report on sugar and was sooooo thrilled that this information was finally getting out there!

    August 16, 2012 at 8:28 am
  • Reply Katie

    I love egg yolks! It’s the best part, especially dipped with buttery toast. Free-range eggs taste a billion times better than their alternative, and in our grocery store they only cost maybe $1-2.00 more. Not a huge cost difference in my opinion. 🙂

    August 16, 2012 at 9:23 am
    • Reply laury

      I look at is as an investment in your health! It’s still cheaper than eating cheesesteaks out every day!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply MCM Mama

    I love EGGS, the whole egg! Thanks for this really good post about the study. I hadn’t delved into it, but I assumed there were some flaws.

    August 16, 2012 at 10:02 am
  • Reply the delicate place

    i am LOVING all these science posts laury! i am a total egg slut. unfortunately, many many people are still thinking that yolks cause heart disease as an endpoint 🙁 the flavor and all the nutrients are packed into that little yolk! i eat almost a dozen eggs MYSELF every single week! it definitely pays off to splurge for the good eggs in your bloodwork 🙂 mine is pristine!

    August 16, 2012 at 10:39 am
    • Reply laury

      Thanks, Melissa! We decided that Ella was going to be a scientist and debunk all of the nutrition crap out there…and cure horrible disease in the world. You can be her mentor 🙂

      August 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply Tina @ Best Body Fitness

    I hate when reports look for headlines and then either completely negate the whole point of the study OR lead to misinformation and mis-action for those who don’t really analyze and understand the whole thing. I eat yolks, for sure!

    August 16, 2012 at 10:53 am
    • Reply laury

      Yes, Tina. It makes me so angry! ALL WE CAN DO IS SPREAD TRUTH!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm
  • Reply Amanda @ Run Principessa

    Oh man, bad science will get you EVERY time. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post, especially because I just had dippy eggs for lunch. So there. 🙂

    August 16, 2012 at 11:31 am
  • Reply Brad Gouthro

    It’s amazing how many times I’ve already been asked about this “study” already… EGGS are healthy! I wish we’d stop wasting money on these meaningless poorly controlled and articulated studies.

    August 16, 2012 at 11:55 am
  • Reply Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    I sometimes eat egg white items, but in general, I don’t avoid yolks. People sometimes call me out on, “oh, you’ve eaten 2-3 eggs today, watch your cholesterol” when they are chugging lobsters and shrimps. My cholesterol is actually on the lower side of normal, even though a couple of people in my family have/have had high cholesterol issues (I think seafood related because they are super thin). Worse was this story about egg yolks being worse than cigs… uhh yeah, my smoking uncle (RIP) definitely didn’t die of egg yolks.

    August 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yes, don’t listen to them! Eat your eggs, Julie!!!

      Don’t even get me started on smoking. My grandfather had emphysema and my grandmother developed macular degeneration (she didn’t smoke, but my pop pop did in the house for their whole lives) and the doc said smoking had a lot to do with it!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm
  • Reply Sarah @ Fit Family Together

    Just found your blog – great breakdown of why this research stinks. I raise my own chickens and I can see the beautiful yellow beta-carotenes they get from eating grass in yolks that are deep orange – not yellow.
    After juicer Jack LaLanne pushed the whites I had to do a lot of work convincing my husband. But now he scarfs them up too (great with avocado – another no-no food that’s good for you and weight-loss!)

    I’ve written about why fats and cholesterol are bad is such a big fat myth right here:

    Funny how one study showed people with high cholesterol lived longer! (Don’t know the details to assess the research, but worth inserting in the discussion!)

    August 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm
    • Reply laury

      Hey Sarah..thanks for sharing! I love the deep orange yolks from my farm! they are so delicious! I love eggs and avocado too!!!!!!

      Thanks for your link! I will check it out!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Brittany

    Thanks for posting. I am always on the fence about whole egg vs. only egg whites, but getting the stuff in a container seriously grosses me out, and I feel awful about wasting a whole yoke, also I think it is the most delicious part. Over time i have become a huge advocate of the whole egg, regardless of what people say, nature made eggs and it isn’t like they have been processed to death so really how bad can they be for you!?

    August 16, 2012 at 1:13 pm
    • Reply laury

      The carton egg beaters are so disgusting. Shamed to say I used to eat them back in the day! yuck!

      So processed, so unnatural! I don’t see animals that eat eggs having heart attacks. The only animals that develop heart disease are house pets that are fed commercial food and get no exercise!

      August 16, 2012 at 1:18 pm
  • Reply Victoria

    I love whole eggs, although I usually save them to eat after a long run to try and get more calories in after an intense sweat session. I agree, the article is full of loopholes!

    August 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm
  • Reply Traci

    So glad you did this post. I heard about the study on the radio this morning. I like eggs. I don’t eat them everyday or even every week but when I do I eat the whole egg & enjoy it! I couldn’t believe they said it was as bad as smoking. That’s just idiotic!

    August 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Purely Twins

    ever since we started eating eggs a year ago we could not wait to eat the yolks!! the yolks are the best part. We have two whole eggs everyday!!! And love it, sometimes we want a third one. We still occasionally have just egg white meals, just because we already had 2 whole eggs and we still don’t do that well with a lot of meat. So eggs are our go-to protein lately.

    We do have a question we get local eggs when we can, but if do get them from the store we get cage free, thoughts? There are organic available but they very expensive. Do you like cage free are okay? Would love to hear your thoughts!

    August 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm
    • Reply laury

      free-range are definitely better if you can’t go to a farm or get organic. As long as the free-range is not in a coop (just saying free-range because not in cages, but still packed in a small area). I am not 100% sure but as far as I know it’s only a step below organic!

      August 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm
  • Reply Wendy

    I just watched the 60 minutes interview you posted. I’m going to watch the doctor’s youtube video. My oncologist told me years ago that he believes cancer tumors feed off of sugar. The docs in this interview agreed.

    I do feel like sugar is addictive like cocaine. It’s proof when I go withdrawals when I limit it. I still need to do a better job.

    I’m always confused on eggs. The studies change every year on this. My thing is nobody eats a crapload of eggs even in a week. A lot of people with digestive problems like IBS find eliminating the yolks are easier on the stomach, but other than that, it goes along with the everything in moderation huh?

    August 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yes, moderation. Eggs ARE an allergen food, so people with GI issues and allergies, etc can’t eat ton of them. But in regard to it causing heart disease, no. Just no.

      Yes, cancer cells do feed off of sugar. It’s so hard to tell a cancer patient who is nausea and doesn’t like many things that they can’t have their carbs though. It’s a scary thing. That is another reason I am really eliminating sugar. The statistics scare me.

      It is very addictive, and you are doing great. Just keep finding real foods, healthy fats and protein to satisfy you and you will find you eat less and less sugar/starchy carbs

      August 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Alison

    Well written article. I am posting a link to it on my BLOG! Why re-write it!? Great work!

    Your truly,

    Fellow Egg Yolk Lover.

    August 17, 2012 at 1:54 am
    • Reply laury

      Thank you!!!

      August 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm
  • Reply Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    Love this post, Laury! I’m a whole egg lover too! One of the first things I learned in my Statistics course is that correlation does not equal causation. There could be a third (or fourth or even fifth, etc) variable affecting the results that isn’t even taken into account! Awesome job calling out faulty research intended to shock with misleading headlines! 🙂

    August 17, 2012 at 11:09 am
  • Reply tiffany drape

    I LOVE this post! thanks for your words. as a researcher, it makes me sick when all of this pop/fad science gets released and it seems like one day eggs are bad, the next they’re good, one day greens are bad, the next, they’re good…you get the idea! when did moderation go out of style???

    August 18, 2012 at 9:26 am
    • Reply laury

      I totally agree!

      August 20, 2012 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply Kristen

    Okay, this has nothing to do with eggs, but I just finished “Once we were brothers.” I really enjoyed the story, mostly the parts from the past. I thought the characters in the present were a little cheesy and the story line was obvious (the lawyer and PI). But overall an entertaining read. Thanks for the suggestion.

    August 19, 2012 at 3:14 am
    • Reply laury

      I am glad you liked it! I completely agree. The lawyer/PI didn’t bother me too much, but I found myself wanting to skip ahead to Ben’s story each time they focused on them. I wasn’t too interested in that part of the book, but was totally captivated by the Holocaust part. I am now reading “The Lost Wife” which some say is even better, but haven’t gotten as into it yet. I am reading 2 other nutrition books now too so maybe that’s why…

      Thanks for following up!

      August 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm
  • Reply Weekly Top 10 - Food, Fitness, and Family

    […]  Egg Yolks and Bad Science from The Fitness Dish – Laury shares why eating the whole egg isn’t as bad for you as […]

    August 19, 2012 at 6:08 am
  • Reply thehealthyapron

    Love this!!

    August 20, 2012 at 10:59 am
  • Reply Suzanne

    Great post! I just read that article too, and completely agree with you. Like most studies, it seemed they had a pretty clear agenda. Westerners generally eat way too much protein (which creates a host of problems in you body), but when eaten in moderation with a healthful diet eggs are a great source of Omegas (brain food!) and protein. And yes!! Very important to make sure to consume only organic, veg feed eggs.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply ally

    The egg thing is silly…but the clip you posted on sugar really speaks to an issue that we’re going to have to confront as a nation. I love sugar, and while thankfully I don’t struggle with my weight or any health issues, I know that sugar is undoubtedly a leading contributor to some of our worst health problems. My husband and I are slowly eating more and more unprocessed foods, and I know we’ll have to change even more as our baby grows up and can observe our habits.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm
    • Reply laury

      I have battled and had been in denial for a long time regarding sugar! It’s a tough road, but it feels so great to nix the habit! Thanks for your comment!

      August 23, 2012 at 11:38 pm
  • Reply Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner

    I absolutely agree that sugar is the one to cut out (except for the small amount found naturally in nature in fruit). I know I always feel better on a lower sugar, higher protein and fat diet focused on vegetables and fruit. 🙂 That’s pretty crazy about the study. I’ve found a lot of science experiments prove things in that kind of method — a faulty, not controlled way. The way they did the sugar one that you mentioned is the REAL way to do it.

    September 3, 2012 at 1:11 am
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