What to know about the egg shortage and misinformation

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Eggs can’t catch a break.

They are rare on store shelves. If you manage to track some down, it could cost you a pretty penny, as eggs reach record prices. An avian flu outbreak in the United States killed millions of chickens last year, draining the vital egg supply. And now, social media is awash with misinformation between the pro and anti-egg camps. For Joe Rogan, eggs cause blood clotting. The yolk can ward off Covid, to share screenshots of the paper’s abstract with some scholars on Twitter.

This isn’t the first egg war. For the past 60 years, scientists have debated whether eggs are bad for the heart, said Walter Willett, professor of nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Nutrition experts debate whether the high levels of cholesterol found in eggs outweigh the punch of protein they provide.

“They’ve been pooh-poohing for so long,” said Dr. Selvi Rajagopal, assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Claims doing the rounds on social media that eggs can cure Covid, or lead to blood clots, “are baseless,” she said.

Here we know about the benefits and risks of eggs.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Doctors have raised concerns about whether high-cholesterol foods can increase the amount of it in your blood, Willett said. They suspected that high levels of certain lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol throughout the body, could cause plaque to build up on the walls of your blood vessels. Because eggs are rich in cholesterol — one egg yolk can contain nearly 200 milligrams — and high lipid levels have been linked to poor heart health, some targeted them as an easy diet: Ditch the eggs Benedict, and guarded his heart.

But in the past decade, Dr. Rajagopal said, researchers have questioned whether eating cholesterol-rich foods actually increases your lipid levels. Existing evidence has not established that the average person will definitely get enough “bad” cholesterol, known as LDL-C, depending on their diet.

Saturated fat is a far more pressing culprit in heart disease — and while eggs contain high amounts of cholesterol, says Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at NYU Langone Health, “if you eat a cheese omelet today and you also have If you haven’t eaten in a while, your arteries won’t clog immediately,” she said. Eggs are also high in protein, making them a substitute for meat, which is high in saturated fat.

In 1968, the American Heart Association recommended that Americans eat no more than three eggs per week; However, by 2015, this thinking had largely changed. Current US dietary guidelines no longer use that weekly limit, and instead promote eggs as a “nutrient-dense” protein source.

Eggs contain vitamins B, E and D, and they are low in saturated fat. “You get high protein for low calories,” said Bethany Dörfler, PhD, a researcher and dietitian at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. They also contain nutrients that are beneficial for your eyes and bones, Ms. Heller said.

“There are actually more pros than cons,” says Beth Czerwoni, registered dietitian with the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition, adding that while some eggs are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, it depends on Does what the chickens have been fed.

However, that doesn’t make eggs a unique superfood. Ms. Doerfler said that eating eggs in high amounts still carries some risk of heart disease. But eating them in moderation, like one whole egg (including the yolk) per day, is safe for people who don’t have cardiovascular issues, she said. (You can even “bank” your eggs, she added, leaving them out for a few days and then making the occasional three-egg omelet.) If you’re concerned about cholesterol, you can also consume egg whites. Can stick – but the yolk is also where most of the egg’s vitamins are contained, so the drawbacks of leaving out the yolk may outweigh the benefits.

Ms. Doerffler said it’s important to examine your overall nutritional intake rather than focusing on one component or another. A breakfast that consists of an egg with toast and fresh fruit, for example, is far better for your heart health than a donut and sweetened coffee. “Eggs are getting a lot of headlines,” she said. “But they are a small piece of the dietary pattern.”

Experts said there is no conclusive evidence that eggs protect against Covid or any other disease. “We are looking for reality and balance,” Ms. Heller said, “not to scare and scare people.”

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