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Barry Groves PhD:
Who says eggs are bad for you?
Two case studies of egg eating and longevity
Case 1: 88-year old man eats 25 eggs a day
If you are worried about eating more than 3 eggs a week, this story of an 88-year-old man who had been eating 25 eggs a day for at least 15 years, should put your mind at rest. This 88-year-old man lived alone in a retirement community. He was healthy except for having Alzheimer’s disease. He also had a compulsive disorder which led him to consume, in addition to regular meals, 25 soft-boiled eggs every day. Remarkably, there was good evidence from several sources that this egg-eating behavior had been going on for at least 15 years.
The patient’s medical records documented numerous serum cholesterol measurements within the normal range. A number of metabolic studies indicated that the patient had several compensatory mechanisms in place which enabled him to maintain normal blood cholesterol concentrations in the face of longstanding and massive cholesterol intake:
Marked reduction in cholesterol absorption; greatly increased synthesis of bile acids — the patient synthesized roughly twice the mass of bile acids as control subjects; and reduced endogenous cholesterol synthesis
The authors of the study indicated that it would have been interesting to study this patient on a low-cholesterol diet, but that his behavioral disorder prevented it.
He probably wouldn’t have liked it either.
Kern F: Normal plasma cholesterol in an 88-year-old who eats 25 eggs a day. New Eng J Med 1991; 324:986.
Case 2: Lord Strathcona
Lord Strathcona — the Donald Smith of Mount Sir Donald, Smith’s Landing, and countless towns and natural features throughout Canada — was not only one of the richest men in the British Empire, he was Canada’s High Commissioner in London in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
In his autobiography, Discovery, Vilhjalmur Stefansson gives a detailed account of Lord Strathcona’s dietary habits which illustrate well how a restricted diet can be eminently healthy.
After Stefansson had told Lord Strathcona what he had learned from the Eskimos, His Lordship told Stefansson that years ago in Canada he had begun a regimen all his own. He told how he had begun to wonder why, since he liked some things better than others, he should bother to eat something different on one day when he had liked what he had eaten the previous day better. ‘This led’, recounts Stefansson, ‘to his questioning what he really did like and, when he got the answer, eating nothing else — eggs, milk, and butter.’
Stefansson was frequently a guest at Lord Strathcona’s home in Grosvenor Square, and so had plenty of opportunity to observe him. He wrote: ‘Strathcona, a broad shouldered man taller than six feet, would be seated at one end of the long table, Lady Strathcona at the other. As course after course was served to the rest of us, he would converse, drinking a sip or two of each wine as it was poured. Sometime during the middle of the dinner, his tray was brought: several medium soft boiled eggs broken into a large bowl, with plenty of butter and with extra butter in a side dish, and, I believe, a quart of whole milk, or perhaps half and half.’
Lord Strathcona must have been doing something right because lived entirely healthily to the ripe old age of 93.
So if you feel like eating eggs for breakfast every day, these stories illustrate that there is not really much reason why you shouldn’t.
Incidentally, I get through a couple of dozen extra-large eggs a week — and have been doing so for over half a century. And I am still here! Mind you, I am only in my late 70s (although that is longer than either my father or his father lived). I strongly believe that eggs, which contain all the materials needed to build a complete animal, are probably the best food it is possible to get.