This is a true story, and a perfect example of the kind of advice doctors give to people that drives me crazy.
A healthy 87-year-old male sees his doctor for a routine check up. The doctor says everything looks really good, although he has slightly elevated cholesterol. The doctor explains to him that he is not a good candidate for cholesterol medication because he is otherwise healthy, that the medication could cause him aches and pains, and that no 87-year-old needs more aches and pains than they are already dealing with.
That would be a perfect story, if that were the end. What happened next, happens frequently, and is the part that drives me crazy.
The doctor asks the man if he eats eggs? He replies that yes, he has one every morning. The doctor advises him to cut back to one egg every other day.
Why this is terrible advice:
- Eggs DO NOT cause high, bad, or elevated cholesterol
- The amount of good fat and nutrients delivered from one egg every morning are probably what is keeping him healthy! The nutrients found in an egg benefit brain health, which is especially important for a person in their 80’s. Not to mention the good protein content and the fact that it is difficult to get seniors to eat enough high quality food to support their health as it is!
- What is he going to end up replacing that egg with? Best-case scenario, he chooses plain oatmeal. Unfortunately, and most likely, it will be a cereal, bread, or a pastry that comes with a lot of carbs, sugars and unhealthy grains. And these DO directly increase bad cholesterol levels in your body.
What the advice should have been:
What the doctor should have asked was, “do you eat sweets”? His possible answer could have been something like, “yes I eat two cookies everyday”. The doctor could have then explained that extra sugar in his diet could be what is causing his elevated cholesterol, and to try having just one cookie a day.
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