Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eggs will kill ya dead!

Today I happened to catch on the local news a story about how eggs are going to kill ya! They're going to kill ya dead, just like cigarette smoking! I just had to go find this study. Luckily the school I teach at subscribes to the journal it was in.

I have some huge problems with this study. The first is, it's not a random clinical trial. They only surveyed (yeah, nice waste of money) people coming to a vascular prevention clinic. Uh, is it just me, or do you think that people who are unhealthy, sick, and/or have a family history of illness are the most likely to go to a clinic like that?

Looking at Table 1 in the study, mean Triglycerides are high and so is BMI. So a lot of the participants are overweight. I wonder if there are any normal, healthy people in this survey? There's also a few diabetics thrown in for good measure. I didn't see where they controlled for that. But wait, because it gets better.
Table 1, click for larger version

Looking at Table 2, I almost fell out of my chair. From laughing. The people who ate the least eggs, <50 in "egg years", were the youngest. Their ages were 55.70 +/- 17.03 at first visit, so some of them were as young as 38.67 years. Now as the egg consumption goes up, so do the ages.  The people who ate the most eggs were much older. Their ages were 69.77 +/-11.38 at first visit. The youngest in the high consumption group was 58.39. That seems like some underhanded chicanery if you ask me!

Table 2, click for larger version

Of course the older people are going to have more instances of heart disease and thicker arteries too because of their age. They even state that in the article, that the older people have more plaque. Oh, but wait! The study says they "adjusted" for age. Why instead of poking around with numbers, actually study the same age groups? Or would that be because there wouldn't be any correlation? (Never mind causation.)

One could easily draw the conclusion that eggs have nothing to do with the thickness of the plaque, but with age. I could just as easily draw the conclusion that as you get older you eat more eggs. That's valid right? Or maybe the more eggs you eat, the older you get. Maybe if you never eat eggs you'll never get old? I'm screwed in that case!

It's interesting that they say that there were 2831 patients with data on egg yolk consumption, but only 1231 were used for various reasons. I'm sure those reasons were all good right, like not anything to do with throwing out data we didn't like, right? Right?

Also of interest, is that they found that fasting cholesterol, BMI, Triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were not significant predictors of the thickness of plaque. Just egg yolks! 

In my humble opinion, considering that the sample was unbalanced, not random in the least and that more than half of the data they had access to was thrown out, that this amounts to someone with an agenda, with an axe to grind. Because if you really wanted to help people, and you really wanted to find out what was causing heart disease, you wouldn't have such poor research methods. However, if what you really want is to push an agenda, you won't care about data or ethics or anything else. You won't care if you kill people, so long as yours is the voice that is heard, so long as yours is the message that is received. Because diet is a religion to quite a few people out there, on all sides.

Just so you know, I'm my own experiment in this case. I eat at least three eggs almost every day. If I drop dead of heart disease, well, we won't know if it was the eggs that caused it, or my propensity for fountain diet cokes :P

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