It’s hard to believe last summer, we were waiting … and waiting for one of our chickens to lay an egg. Let me tell you, this summer, we have eggs. Lots of eggs. Our four chickens are each laying an egg a day right now. That’s 1.33 eggs per day for each of us. Oh my.
So we’re eating eggs … and more eggs around here. Eggs, with the help of an army of publicists, have mostly repaired the villainous status they held in the eighties. (Take note, Mel Gibson.) But when I’m trekking out to the hen house to collect the eggs each evening, I find it nearly impossible not to think about cholesterol.
In 1984, in an article called “Hold the Eggs and Butter,” Time Magazine reported on a major ten-year study on dietary cholesterol. “Anybody who takes the results seriously may never be able to look at an egg or a steak the same way again,” the authors wrote. Then they relayed the then-current recommendation that women eat less than 225 mg of cholesterol a day, the amount in a single egg. And thus Egg Beaters and margarine became staples in refrigerators across America.
Since then, a number of studies have vindicated eggs, which, by the way, humans have been ingesting since about 1500 BCE. Today eggs are more likely to be celebrated than disparaged in articles with titles like, “The Incredible Edible Egg” and “The Sunny Side of Eggs”. They’re said to be rich in protein, zinc, vitamin D and other nutrients. And about that cholesterol? A 2007 study of nearly 10,000 adults demonstrated no correlation between moderate consumption (about 6 eggs a week) and cardiovascular disease or strokes. Then another study of 4,000 volunteers, the results just released, revealed no association between eating eggs and the risk of developing diabetes.
So eggs are back on the menu across America. And I’ve decided to take something else off my menu: breaking nutrition news. I still read it; I just don’t take it all that seriously. Micheal Pollan compares nutrition scientists to surgeons 360 years ago:
Nutrition science, which after all only got started less than two hundred years ago, is today approximately where surgery was in the year 1650 – very promising, and very interesting to watch, but are you ready to let them operate on you? I think I’ll wait awhile.
He advises that people simply focus on cooking and eating real food – food our great grandmothers would have eaten, that eventually rots, and that contains ingredients we can pronounce. Pollan’s advice makes sense to me. And it’s much simpler than trying to keep track of which micro-nutrient prevents diseases in lab rats and which foods contain choline, omega 3s, or whatever nutrients are in vogue at the moment. Instead, let’s go back to eating real food and taking pleasure in it for how it tastes and makes us feel.Want a healthy diet? Forget nutrition science and eat real food.Click To Tweet
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