News has been buzzing the last couple of weeks about food that will slowly kill you. First it was red meat getting the flak, along with liver, but now eggs, the breakfast staple and vegetarian go-to for protein, are also to blame.
All of this is coming from the April 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Here's the short version, if you've missed it: As bacteria in our guts help break down lecithin, found in egg yolks; and carnitine, a compound in mammal meat, they "burp" up trimethylamine-N-oxide, or TMAO. There are a few more steps in the process (bacteria break lecithin down into choline, digest the choline and excrete it, the liver absorbs that and releases TMAO) but you get the gist. And since high levels of TMAO are associated with heart disease, this microbial flatulence is killing us.
So this has put an end to my plan to try exotic liver pates, which I can live with (though I was really looking forward to sloth). But eggs? All those frittatas and quiches and poached eggs have been filling us with lethal bacteria waste? The Atlantic is reporting that eggs are fine, as long as you take an antibiotic right before eating. You may have thought getting up and making breakfast was already a chore. Now you have to add a pill regimen to your routine anytime you want a scramble.
But Dr. Mitch Kanter, the executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center, thinks it's too early to write eggs off the menu. "This particular research is interesting," he says, "but it's too preliminary to be pointing a damning finger at any particular food."More »