Monday, November 05, 2007

How many eggs per day?

Some people like eggs. This man did. Maybe he still does!

Here's a summary as it's not available on pubmed:

Normal Plasma Cholesterol in an 88-Year-Old Man who Eats 25 Eggs a Day: Mechanisms of Adaptation (1991) Kern Jr, New England J Medicine 324(13):896-899

The effect of dietary cholesterol intake on serum cholesterol level is known to vary among individuals. The homeostatic and regulatory mechanisms which tend to keep serum cholesterol constant operate at different levels of efficiency in different individuals. An extreme case is reported here. A physician and colleagues from the University of Colorado School of Medicine have studied an 88-year-old man who, for ill-defined psychological reasons, has consumed 20 to 30 eggs daily for at least 15 years. This individual has maintained normal serum lipid levels and has no history of clinically important heart disease. He consented to participate in a variety of tests of cholesterol metabolism; the findings were compared with those obtained in an ongoing study of 11 normal volunteers who were tested while consuming normal diets and diets supplemented with five eggs per day. It was found that this individual had extremely efficient mechanisms that compensated for his phenomenally high cholesterol intake. In particular, he absorbed only 18 % of the cholesterol that he consumed; the comparison subjects absorbed 54.6% when on low-cholesterol diets and 46.4% when on high-cholesterol diets. He also showed a doubling of the usual rate of conversion of cholesterol to bile acids, moderately reduced cholesterol synthesis, and a possible increase in biliary cholesterol secretion. "These physiologic adaptations would leave little if any of the dietary cholesterol to elevate plasma cholesterol levels and be deposited in arterial walls."

That's assuming you subscribe to the cholesterol myths anyway. I have to say six egg yolks is my normal daily consumption, only occasionally does it reach nine in a day. Never 25, at least so far...

Thanks to Jakob on the AHOA discussion forum for the above text.



Alex Beecher said...

This is good news. I'm a poor college student, with access to free farm fresh eggs. I'd be crazy to limit my consumption, given the ad libitum availability.

Edward Edmonds said...

I have been averaging close to 10 eggs a day cooked in butter, yummy. I have noticed on quite a few posts that you eat egg yolks as opposed to eggs, I'm sure there is a particular reason, due to the protein in the whites? Do tell.

Edward Edmonds said...

Ah yes the protein in the whites, here is the explanation I was looking for...

(just in case someone else is trying to follow your logic)

Aravind said...

Hello Peter,

I know this is an old post. From other posts I've been slowly working my way through, it appears you typically target 65 grams of protein. Hypothetically, if you were a lacto-ovo vegetarian and the 3 source of protein to choose from were

1) eggs
2) milk/cheese/yogurt
3) legumes, prepared in a way Weston Price would approve of. I really consider this a source of carbs, but for completeness sake included it

What would be your allocation of the 65 grams across the 3 categories?


Peter said...

Hi Aravind,

I have two family members who are lacto ovo vegetarians. Eggs have to be the priority as they largely replace the liver as a source of multivitamins. Then cheese/yogurt. Legumes tend to come as functional agents like batters or binding agents in biscuits, very small amounts.

I even very occasionally eat peanuts as a flavouring in stews...


Aravind said...

Thanks for the response Peter! Hope I can trouble for one last question on this-

Do you think the insulinogenic effects of milk are of limited concern if fasting insulin levels are low? I am trying to relate this to your potato post. Implicit in this question is the assumption that other agents of disease - fructose, gluten, vegetable oils - are eliminated from the diet and fasting levels can return to good levels even with consumption of things like milk.

I am ultimately wondering if I should eat more eggs and less milk. My weight loss has stalled and I do not know if the milk/insulin connection is contributing to the stall.

As background, I currently eat 5-6 whole eggs per day, so 30-36 grams of protein from eggs. I try to get another 35-40 grams from milk/cheese/yogurt. I don't really count the legumes but probably getting another 5-10 grams. Note that I weigh 80 kg. I started 2011 at 88 kg and think a healthy target is 73-75 kg.

Also, I really love your substantive blog and wonderful humor that accompanies your thoughts! Thanks so much for your writings! You should add a donate button so people can show their appreciation with more than just words!


Peter said...

Hi Aravind,

I don't worry too much. First is the glucagon spike which accompanies the insulin spike. I haven't been able to follow up the effect of physiological glucagon on lipolysis but pharmacological doses certainly promote lipolysis. Second is the effect on fasting insulin. Post prandial insulin is possibly beneficial for anabolic effects, fasting insulin probably determines hunger...


Anonymous said...

Sorry for replying to an old post, but I've been doing some reading through this blog and there are 2 interesting links in connection with the original case study.
First, it is now available in full:
Secondly, I would like to call your attention to the Correspondence section:
Specifically to this comment from 1992:
"The paper by Kern has received considerable publicity, with news reports suggesting that the study shows that cholesterol is unimportant, without discriminating between cholesterol in the diet and that in the blood. Dietary cholesterol has an important effect on the cholesterol level in the blood of chickens and rabbits, but many controlled experiments have shown that dietary cholesterol has a limited effect in humans. Adding cholesterol to a cholesterol-free diet raises the blood level in humans, but when added to an unrestricted diet it has a minimal effect. Publicizing the story of a man who ate 25 eggs a day will ultimately confuse the public and instill skepticism about nutritional teaching, an area in which emphasis on the fatty acids in the diet is needed.
Ancel Keys, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455