Filtering studies in the media

So you may have heard about the latest study on eggs and heart disease. The one where CNN and NYdailynews write:

Is eating egg yolks as bad as smoking?


Like Hollandaise sauce? Too bad — for your heart and blood vessels. Yolks are packed with cholesterol, causing blood-vessel-clogging plaque buildup, just like smoking does.


Ironically, TheFatNurse saw these articles in the morning when TheFatNurse was chowing down on some eggs. What a way to wake up! Sadly, the article is not  free for view and TheFatNurse’s university account doesn’t have a subscription to it! TheFatNurse isn’t going to plop down 31 dollars for this study – after all 31 dollars can get you 240 eggs at Costco! Even more Ironic…240 eggs per year is about how many eggs the people in the highest egg group ate in the study…CONSPIRACY!?

Anyways, the study looked at carotid plaque buildup and divided the subjects into five groups based on how many eggs they ate via food surveys. They then found an association between egg consumption and plaque buildup. Scary? Not eggactly (hehe), because there are problems galore with the study itself and the way the media is interpreting it. Of course anytime the media represents a study this runs through TheFatNurse’s head:


In anycase  Zoe Harcombe has already done a pretty good critique of the study (she has the full study) which you can check out. Like any critique, once you look at how a study is setup, designed, calculated, and interpreted it is quite simple to spot things that are fishy.

Read the Actual Studies!

This situation was actually a few weeks old, but you may remember the news media all abuzz about a study on lowcarb vs low GI vs low fat diets. At the time TheFatNurse was busy finishing the HDL For All Ages comic and didn’t get a chance to read the study. However, that didn’t stop TheFatNurse from encountering people saying lowcarb high fat was deadly. You can see an example of this in the comic below.

So where did they get this idea? Apparently some of the news media reported that the low carb diet had increased amount of C-reactive protein which can be (although not the ideal marker) an inflammation marker for heart disease. However, the CRP was increased relative to what? Relative to the baseline? Not at all. Their was an improvement from the baseline value! Additionally, even tho their was a higher CRP in the low carb relative to the low fat, both values were below the 1.0 mg/L range that indicates low risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

Anyways, TheFatNurse was gonna write a post about the actual study but Dr. Attia has already broken it down very nicely. So TheFatNurse made a comic instead.

HDL for all ages!

HDL cholesterol is often touted as a super stud in heart disease prevention. As a result, common knowledge has continually stressed increasing one’s HDL cholesterol without really moving beyond the “HDL Good LDL Bad” message. This belief can target researchers as well, but some recent studies, as covered by Peter Attia, reveal HDL cholesterol and heart disease not being as clear cut as one might believe.

As a result, TheFatNurse thought it would be a good idea to go over some simple basics about what exactly HDL is and does in your body through a comic. This comic is based on a series of lectures by Dr. Thomas Dayspring and is only a simplified version of his more detailed analysis. See below if you’re itching to read Dr. Daysprings more detailed lectures!

TheFatNurse also wants to extend a personal thank you to Dr. Dayspring. TheFatNurse is still beginning his journey in exploring all things lipid and Dr. Dayspring your encouragement, feedback and information have made exploration exciting.

Before reading, TheFatNurse recommends you read the first two comics on cholesterol as it builds upon some knowledge needed for this third comic. Click here to read the HDL comic (semi-long read!) or the picture below.

***For the first two comics see: #1 Cholesterol For All Ages and #2 Cardiovascular Markers For All Ages. Interested in more? TheFatNurse highly recommends you look up Dr. Dayspring’s lectures on HDL which you can start with here and here.

Portion Control Why so Cruel Part 2

You may remember TheFatNurse talking about the cruelness of portion control via sharing from a previous comic. Well recently TheFatNurse had yet another encounter stuffed in front of TehFatNurses’ face! Why so cruel…TheFatNurse just wants to enjoy some M&Ms in solitude!


Cardiovascular Markers For All Ages!

Part two of TheFatNurse’s For All Ages series. This comic goes over other measurements that are emerging on cardiovascular risk other than the conventional LDL HDL cholesterol measurements. A condensed simplified comic, but it may drive your curiosity to investigate more! Click Here or the picture below.

***Strongly recommend reading Part one Cholesterol For All Ages first to make concepts in this new comic more familiar.

Cholesterol For All Ages!

One of the problems when discussing dietary fat and health is how it usually revolves back to the old “fat increases cholesterol which clogs your arteries” hypothesis. Of course, one usually counters this by beginning the discussion on the differences between cholesterol and lipoprotein particles on heart disease.

However, this can be difficult, so TheFatNurse patched together a quick 12- page comic that will hopefully get the ball rolling for people who may have never heard of LDL particles before. A semi long read so browse when you have time! Click here or the picture below to open . Enjoy!

***If you enjoyed this, you may like Part 2 on cardiovascular markers and Part 3 on HDL in TheFatNurse All Ages series

***Updated 6/14/2012 to correct for typos, simplyfing visuals with better pictures***
***Updated 6/18/2012 for more typos, touching up pictures and adding glossary***