When Doctors Don’t Know the Best Medical Advice

Some of their outdated tips may compromise your care or sabotage your health goals. Here, medical advice you can safely ignore.

By Sharon Liao from Reader's Digest Magazine | June 2013

Old Medical Advice: Limit your egg intake to protect your heart. Since the 1970s, cardiologists have warned people that egg yolks are high in cholesterol, which can clog arteries and pave the way for heart disease. A study published last summer in the journal Atherosclerosis suggested that eggs are almost as harmful to your ticker as cigarettes.

New Medical Advice: Passing on omelets isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. A review of studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that egg consumption in healthy people didn’t raise heart disease risk. Other research showed that even those with high cholesterol can safely eat an egg a day. The reason: Cholesterol found in such foods as eggs and shrimp has a negligible effect on cholesterol levels in your bloodstream, says Dr. Katz. The actual cholesterol-raising culprits are dietary saturated and trans fats, which spur your liver to churn out cholesterol. As for the recent research maligning eggs, the flawed study asked patients to recall how many eggs they ate and didn’t factor in lifestyle factors like diet and exercise.

All told, this misconception is worth unscrambling. With 164 milligrams of cholesterol, a medium egg falls well within the American Heart Association’s recommended limit of 300 mg per day (200 mg for those with heart disease). The yolk is loaded with important nutrients, including brain-protective choline and lutein, an antioxidant that is believed to promote eye health.

Next: Should you be worried about eating nuts? »

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