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Eggs Do Not Cause Heart Attacks

Eggs have not been shown to increase risk for heart attacks, according to an an extensive review of the world's scientific literature in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (July-August 2009). For example, the Physician's Health Study followed doctors for 20 years and showed no association between eating eggs and heart attacks or strokes. However, the doctors who ate lots of eggs did die earlier than those who avoided eggs, possibly because they also ate more bacon, sausage and butter.

The concern that eating eggs can cause heart attacks comes from the fact that eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of dietary cholesterol. Indeed, adding one egg per day can raise blood cholesterol levels by one to three percent. However, virtually all large population studies show no association between eating eggs and blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the Framingham Heart Study and NHANES study found that high-egg eaters had lower cholesterol levels than very-low eggs eaters Journal references on all of the studies mentioned in this article

Current opinion is that some people have their blood cholesterol levels raised by eating eggs, while others do not. Indeed, 70 percent of Americans will not have their cholesterol levels affected by eating eggs. Furthermore, those who did have their cholesterol levels raised by eating eggs, had rises in both their good HDL and bad LDL cholesterol levels and also had higher large particle cholesterol that prevents heart attacks. Both rises in the good HDL cholesterol and cholesterol particle size help to prevent heart attacks.

I have started to eat eggs again after avoiding them for more than forty years. I continue to load my plate with lots of vegetables and fruits, and eat reasonable amounts of fish. I avoid all meat from mammals. I avoid all refined carbohydrates except during and immediately after exercise. My recommended diet

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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is it realistic to try to run 100 miles a week or cycle more than 200 miles?

Only if you follow the "stress and recover" principle. I am 74 years old and ride more than 200 miles per week. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, we race flat out at close to 20 miles per hour. The other four days, we ride at about 12 mph for active recovery. In my younger days, I raced marathons and tried to run 100 miles per week. However, I was injured most of the time because I did not understand the need for recovery. To make your muscles stronger and be able to exercise them longer, you have to exercise so vigorously that you damage your muscles. That's why you feel sore on the day after an intense workout. Then when muscles heal, they are stronger and have greater endurance.

When your muscles are damaged and feel sore, you have two choices. You can take the day off (passive recovery), or you can exercise at such low intensity that the muscles can heal (active recovery). If you try to exercise intensely, you will injure yourself and cause an overtraining syndrome in which your muscles feel sore for weeks or months.

Exercising at a very low intensity during recovery helps to make your muscles more fibrous and stronger so they can resist injury better when you take your next intense workout.

Athletes in all sports take an intense workout that damages their muscles and leaves them feeling sore. Then they take low-intensity workouts for as long as it takes for the soreness to go away. Then they take their next intense workout. That is how runners run more than 100 miles a week. Weight lifters spend eight hours a day in the gym, and professional cyclists do 300 to 400 miles per week. Athletes spend more time doing recovery workouts than they do in their intense workouts. (Caution: Intense exercise can kill a person with blocked coronary arteries.)

Apply this "stress and recover" principle to your training program at any level. The key is active recovery. Passive recovery is a misconception of the past.

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Follow-up on Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)

Two weeks ago I reported on a study that recommended injections of platelet-rich plasma along with eccentric contractions to help heal Achilles Tendinitis. This week, a study from The Netherlands showed that PRP injections are no more effective than a placebo of salt-water injections (JAMA, January 13, 2010). This study did confirm that the eccentric contractions were an effective treatment. I will watch for further studies on PRP.

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Recipe of the Week: Roumanian Crock Pot Stew

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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