Should We Eat Raw Eggs On A Raw Food Diet?
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Should We Eat Raw Eggs On A Raw Food Diet?

by Jim Sanderson
(Boston, Mass)

Jim's Question:

Hi Andrew.

I know that doctors say we should not be eating any eggs because they're full of cholesterol and will give you cancer and other diseases. But I was wondering if raw eggs were different, and if we should be eating them on a raw food diet.

I eat 6 raw eggs every day, but lately I've been wondering if this is a good idea.

I often hear people talking about how great paleo diets with lots of eggs are, but on the other hand...

What do you think?

Andrew's Answer:

Hi Jim.

There are no large population studies looking at long-term outcomes of people eating raw eggs.

The studies we have concentrate on cooked eggs, and things don't look good for those who eat them.

Raw Egg


Eating just a single egg a day puts you at a significantly higher chance of dying of all causes of mortality than someone who eats none (1).

That figure continues to track upward as consumption increases, with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other major killers becoming more prevalent.

In addition, about 14 percent of eggs for sale in the US contain Avian leukosis / sarcoma, which quickly induces cancer in cells (2), so if you did want to eat eggs, you're playing Russian roulette if you buy them from anywhere but a local small farm where chickens are allowed to live in healthier environments than they experience in the factory farms that produce most of the nation's eggs.

Raw Eggs:

The arguments of raw foodists who eat eggs and paleo diet adherents usually revolve around one of the following suppositions:

1) Raw Eggs are superior to cooked eggs in some unknown way which causes them to not be harmful.


2) The people eating the eggs in the many studies linking eggs to disease are not being hurt by the eggs. Rather, people in the general population who eat eggs are also doing other unhealthy things like smoking, not eating fruits and vegetables, eating junk food, not exercising etc, which cause them to have these diseases. So, they say, these confounding factors cause the disease, not the eggs.

I think these are two very interesting ideas which I'd love to see studied. I'm fairly certain that cooking eggs makes them more harmful, but it seems unlikely to me that uncooked eggs are healthy.

It's probably that people who eat lots of eggs also have other harmful vices (most people in the general population are not particularly healthy), but I've seen no data suggesting that eggs themselves are not harmful.

As things stand, I can't recommend the consumption of eggs. There's no convincing, data-driven health reason why one would want to eat eggs, raw or otherwise, and certainly no indication that they will improve your health.

Following Up:

Learn how to eat a healthy raw food diet.

Figure out what foods are healthy and which are harmful.


Sources:

(1) L. Djoussé & J.M. Gaziano. Egg consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease and mortality: the Physicians’ Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 87(4):964-969, 2008.

(2) Thuy D. Pham1, J. L. Spencer, Vicki L. Traina-Dorge, David A. Mullin, Robert F. Garry & Eric S. Johnson. Detection of exogenous and endogenous avian leukosis virus in commercial chicken eggs using reverse transcription and polymerase chain reaction assay. Avian Pathology (1999) 28, 385±392

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