Back in the 90s, egg whites were all the rage. We, as a country, bought into the low fat and low cholesterol myths of the day, and the result was a carton of Egg Beaters in every fridge.
My own step-father had high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and as a result, the whole freakin’ family had to eat egg substitutes, margarine, and fake salt. I watched as he diligently ate exactly what the doctor ordered, and his blood markers still failed to change.
Fast forward, and we see that the past few years have increasingly revealed that we were flat our wrong about egg yolks; they aren’t ‘bad for us.’ In fact, saturated fat and cholesterol from food has been shown to have little to no effect on the cholesterol in our blood, yet the myths continue!
The myths are so pervasive that even when confronted with evidence that they are safe, people like ‘The Doctors’ and Dr. Oz tell us they are safe. …and then add ‘in moderation.’ They often go on to recommend an egg to supplement your egg whites. Why? The studies that cleared the eggs and egg yolks didn’t clear them ‘in moderation,’ they cleared them!
From an analysis (PMID: 19751443) of the previously damning “Harvard Egg Study,’ comes this doozy:
“In summary, the earlier purported adverse relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk was likely largely over-exaggerated.”
OMG! It was not only exaggerated, but over-exaggerated! They thought mere exaggeration didn’t convey the degree of the ‘oops.’
Why the disconnect?
In the case of eggs, I don’ t believe in some hidden agenda, specifically, although I do think some doctors are somewhat brainwashed by the statin producing pharmaceutical companies, whos representatives are rumored to provide much of the ‘cholesterol education’ that doctors get, these days.
For instance, five or so years ago, one of my own doctors handed me a cholesterol pamphlet circa 1985. When I pointed out the old date, he said he’d ask ‘them’ for a newer one. ‘Them’ was the drug representative. I asked.
Just to be on the up and up, the pamphlet seemed to be produced by some organization whos goal is to help you with your cholesterol, but there was little doubt that the drug ‘rep’ chose that one because it represented his product very well.
So, with eggs cleared of being our death sentence, what’s up with all the egg whites again?
People still believe that egg whites are good for us, so fast food restaurants put them on the menu to entice the health conscious in for a meal. People who might tell their kids ‘no’ because McDonald’s or Sonic is unhealthy now have a reason to take their kids. But, who’s kidding who? Many parents ‘want to believe’ because they want to go, too.
Once they are in, they spend a lot of money, and whether it’s on egg whites or french toast sticks, the restaurant doesn’t really care. No kid will accept an egg white delight when they are faced with full fast food menu, so suddenly everyone except ‘mom’ is eating the same thing they would have eaten anyway.
Even if they stick to the egg white vs the whole egg, it’s not healthier, and since it comes on a bun, fried in seed oils, and with questionable quality cheese and meat, it’s empty calories at best, damaging ingredients at worst. The yolk was probably the most healthy part of the meal, and it’s been flushed down a drain.
Amazing, when studies actually show that Type 2 Diabetics can actually improve blood markers like cholesterol with eggs are part of their diet? In fact, blood sugar control was also improved for Type 2 Diabetics in this study (PMID: 21134328)!
Why egg whites? …and why now?
Marketing. The fast food industry loses money on salads, so it’s a good thing they don’t sell many of them. They are ads to bring you in, then you choose a burger and fries ‘this time,’ and vow to have a salad next time. It’s just occasionally, after all… Right.
Egg whites are just the latest gimmick to get you into the fast food lines; it’s just odd that they are dredging up dietary advice that should have gone out decades ago.