A friend sent me a link to an article entitled “10 Reasons to Eat Your Yolks” looking for my opinion. In my opinion, yolks are great. They’re where much of the nutrition in the egg is stored. One egg yolk provides about 60 calories, 22 mg calcium, 0.75 mg of iron, 2.7 g protein, 0.8 mcg of vitamin D, among other nutrients. Of course, the white is a great source of protein with very few calories. One large egg white has about 3.3 g protein and only 16 calories.
As great as egg yolks are, as with pretty much any food, you can have too much of a good thing. The fat (5.56 g) and cholesterol (203 mg) in the yolk may be of concern to people with high cholesterol. Yes, dietary cholesterol contributes very little to blood cholesterol levels but it’s still prudent to reduce all controllable risk factors.
Okay, so what’s my problem with the article? It makes a lot of relatively unsubstantiated claims. I say relatively because there are references sited for most of them but all of the references have the same author. This author, Michael Murray is a naturopathic doctor. Two major red flags there. If you can only find one researcher to support your claims there may be a reason for that. Additionally, while I believe that there can be medicinal benefits to traditional medicines I still like there to be actual proof that they work. The blend of legitimate science and pseudoscience that naturopaths sell makes me extremely uncomfortable. And speaking of selling, I don’t think that you should trust a “doctor” that will sell you a “cure”. There is a distinct conflict of interest there. Anyway… Back to the egg article. Murray is cited on QuackWatch for making a number of nutrition-related claims lacking scientific validity. I would add the following claims to that list: that eggs will lower cholesterol and that eggs will reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Along with Murray, the article cites research on WHFoods. This “research” included a study in which participants lost more weight eating two eggs for breakfast than participants eating a bagel for breakfast. File that under “duh”. Of course you’re going to lose more weight if you eat 180 calories for breakfast than if you eat 400 calories for breakfast given all other variables are the same over both groups. I wouldn’t trust much of the so-called research found on whfoods. This site is run by the George Mateljan Foundation and their website states that they’re a non-profit organization with no commercial interests or advertising. Supposedly Mateljan is a “nutritionist” but I can’t find anything to show any credentials beyond cooking school and an interest in nutrition. In addition, a number of the contributors to the site appear to be quacks (e.g. Joseph E. Pizzorno and Kerry Evans). Many of these contributors are connected to SaluGenecists (which is a “natural health” organization which states that it founded WHFoods on its website) and Bastyr University (a natural health university which appears to be a legitimate educational institute upon first glance, but a light scratch at the surface shows that they are just peddling naturopathic pseudoscience – was that redundant?).
After a little digging through the layers, it seems that WHFoods, and all of the claims in the article which prompted this post, are based on unsubstantiated pseudoscience.