Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eggs, Smoking and Silly Health Scares

Here’s the silliest health scare of the month:
      Study: Eggs Are Nearly as Bad for Your Arteries as Cigarettes
As usual the headline is based on science of the fluffiest kind: an observational study. The sort that doesn’t prove cause and effect.
      This egg-study is even weaker than usual. Instead of trying to make people remember what they ate last week they actually asked people how many egg yolks they ate decades ago. Quickly: How many egg yolks did you eat in 1987? Do you remember?
      As usual those who ate more whole eggs during the low fat fad also smoked more etc. So we’re comparing people who ignore health advice with people who try to be healthy. There are thousands of differences between these two groups and it’s impossible to control for them all. But the authors of the study believe that it all comes down to egg yolks.
     Its silly and nobody who knows how these studies are done take the results too seriously. But the press loves them. They supply a never ending stream of juicy headlines.

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