Monday, February 14, 2011

Another backflip: Forget those high cholesterol warnings, eggs are healthier than ever, say experts

If you're eyeing up your breakfast options and fancy going to work on an egg, there’s no need to hold back. For after years of telling us to shun them as an everyday food, the health police now say that eggs have become better for us. The cholesterol content of eggs – which was previously believed to be a health risk – is now much lower compared with ten years ago, a study suggests.

Eggs also contain more vitamin D, which helps protect the bones, preventing diseases such as osteoporosis and rickets.

The reason eggs have become more nutritious over the past decade is that hens are no longer fed bone meal, which was banned in the Nineties following the BSE crisis, the researchers claim. Instead the birds are normally given a mixture of wheat, corn and high-protein formulated feed, which makes their eggs more wholesome.

A U.S. government study found that modern eggs contain 13 per cent less cholesterol and 64 per cent more vitamin D compared with a decade ago. This is backed by British research which shows that a medium-sized egg contains about 100mg of cholesterol, a third of the 300mg recommended daily limit.

Andrew Joret, deputy chairman of the British Egg Industry Council, whose firm Noble Foods made the findings, said: ‘We believe the reduction is due to changes in the feeds used in British plants since the Nineties when the use of bone meal was banned.’

Two years ago Canadian researchers claimed that eggs actually helped lower blood pressure. They suggested that when eggs are digested they produce proteins that mimic the action of powerful blood pressure-lowering drugs, known as Ace inhibitors.

A recent Surrey University study found eating one or two eggs for breakfast could help with weight loss as the high protein content makes us feel fuller longer. The study, which involved volunteers eating two eggs a day for 12 weeks, also found that none had raised cholesterol.

In the Sixties many Britons ate up to five eggs a day but by the Nineties this had dropped to two or three a week – in part due to warnings about high cholesterol levels.

Charles Saatchi, husband of TV chef Nigella Lawson, recently claimed to have lost five stone by eating eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Another step along the road towards medicalizing all problems: Grief now a mental illness

By that standard, the much-respected Queen Victoria was as nutty as a fruitcake

A PUSH to classify grief as a psychological disorder has been criticised by experts as "disease-mongering". Prolonged grief disorder (PGD) will be included in the next edition of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the psychiatrists' bible used to diagnose mental problems.

Bereavement, a normal part of life, has been excluded from previous editions of the manual, but Australian Medical Association spokesman and psychiatrist Tom Stanley says there is significant evidence of PGD. "Occasionally, normal grief will become pathological and, in many cases, it will precipitate severe depression," Dr Stanley said.

Prolonged grief disorder was originally identified by US psychiatrists, but counsellor Mal McKissock, of Sydney's Bereavement Centre, said: "It's nothing more than disease-mongering. "My colleagues in the US get reimbursed only if there's a real sickness, so they created one."

Mr McKissock is concerned about the growing number of patients he sees who have been medicated with anti-depressants. "I'd venture that 50 per cent of the people I see are on anti-depressants - and that includes children, which is outrageous," he said.

"People think they have a disease. They think they're depressed, but they are sad, passionately sad, and it's a natural process."

Former Australian of the Year and campaigner for mental health Professor Pat McGorry said there was a distinction between normal grief and prolonged grief that could lead to severe depression.


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