Egg Nog: Recipe for a Heart Attack or Heart Healthy?

It’s Christmas Eve and you are starting to make merry. Time to break out the egg nog? Or should you eschew this fascinating combination of eggs, dairy and alcohol due to concerns about heart disease?

    eggCardiac deaths increase in frequency in the days around Christmas.
    Could this be related to excessive consumption of egg nog?
    Egg nog is composed of eggs, cream, milk and booze. All of these ingredients have become associated with increased risk of heart disease in the mind of the public.
    Nutritional guidelines advise us to limit egg consumption, especially the yolk, and use low-fat dairy to reduce our risk of heart disease
    A close look at the science, however, suggests that egg nog may actually lower your risk of heart disease.
    Eggs are high in cholesterol but as I’ve discussed in a previous post, cholesterol in the diet is not a major determinant of cholesterol in the blood and eggs have not been shown to increase heart disease risk.
    Full fat dairy contains saturated fat, the fat that nutritional guidelines tell us increases bad cholesterol in the blood and increases risk of heart attacks. But some saturated fats improve your cholesterol profile and organic (grass-fed, see my previous post) milk contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are felt to be protective from heart disease.
    Milk and dairy products are associated with a lower risk of vascular disease!
    Whether you mix rum, brandy, or whisky into your egg nog or you drink a glass of wine on the side you are probably lowering your chances of a heart attack compared to your abstemious relatives. Moderate alcohol consumption of any kind is associated with a lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to no alcohol consumption.
    So, drink your egg nog without guilt this Holiday Season!
    You’re actually engaging in heart healthy behavior.


2 thoughts on “Egg Nog: Recipe for a Heart Attack or Heart Healthy?”

  1. The Traderspoint eggnog is delicious!
    I hope this isn’t too far off topic. I saw an interview with the author of the book linked below and he was saying many things the Skeptical Cardiologist agrees with, esp. concerning fats. But he also make statements, that he claims are based on evidence, about statins and cholesterol that I don’t think the Skeptical Cardiologist agrees with. Has the Skeptical Cardiologist read the book and, if so, do you have any comments?–Statin-Free/dp/1592335217/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388152568&sr=1-1&keywords=the+cholesterol+myth

    • I have not read the book by Bowden and Sinatra. I’ve looked at Sinatra’s website which proclaims him as the nations #1 “integrative cardiologist” and I think his information and motives are suspect and therefore would not rely on anything he recommends.
      The word “integrative” means that he is integrating supplements, techniques and vitamins into his practice which have not been proven to be effective. His site promotes all kinds of vitamins and supplements for everything from aging to heart disease to joint disease. These can all be purchased from him and are promoted as better than other supplements on the market. When I see a health web site promoting sales of useless vitamins and supplements I view it as a red flag, a marker for pseudo-science and misinformation with the major goal of making money.
      There are multiple books and websites with a similar approach. They usually try to conflate skepticism about current dietary recommendations for lowering cholesterol (which deserve skepticism) with vilifying statin drugs. I’ll be posting on the new cholesterol treatment guidelines (which strongly embrace statins as the only effective method for preventing stroke and heart attack) soon. A large body of evidence supports the effectiveness and safety of statin drugs.


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