I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I wrote short stories when I was younger. I loved English and yearbook when I was in middle and high school. I majored in journalism in college and I worked in nutrition research for three years, so I know all about fact checking and using reliable sources. As a writer, I want to be a reliable source of information for my readers.
So when I wrote some blurbs for The Washingtonian last week for an article on nutrition myths, I took it seriously. The editor asked a few DC-area dietitians to contribute two myths about nutrition and then the truth. Mine were “fat makes you fat” and “egg yolks are bad for you.” Both are nutrition myths that have been proven untrue by plenty of quality research over the years.
Here’s what I sent the editor about eggs:
Still throwing those yolks away? Don’t do it! Egg yolks are a goldmine of nutrition. One yolk contains half your day’s choline requirement, an important, hard-to-get nutrient for the brain. Eggs are also a good source of vitamins A, D, and E, biotin, selenium, iodine, essential fatty acids, and carotenoids. Pasture-raised eggs can have even more nutrients than standard eggs! Still afraid of egg yolks because of cholesterol? Recent research shows that dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect blood cholesterol levels like was once thought. Most people can eat one or two eggs a day without measurable changes in blood cholesterol levels. Moreover, eating eggs for breakfast fills you up with protein and fat and may keep you eating less for the rest of the day.
Here is what The Washingtonian wrote about egg yolks:
Don’t waste those yolks anymore—they’re a “goldmine of nutrition,” says Holovach. One yolk contains half of your day’s requirement of choline, which is an essential nutrient for the brain. Plus recent research shows that dietary cholesterol doesn’t affect blood cholesterol levels, Holovach adds. Eggs for breakfast will fill you up with protein and fat and will keep you from overeating the rest of the day.
Notice the difference? The simple omission “like was once thought” caused a firestorm of controversy. Check out the comments. There were some angry people, and rightfully so! Dietary cholesterol DOES affect blood cholesterol, just not as much as was once thought. I’m a bit embarrassed. I doubt that my reputation as a dietitian has been permanently tarnished, but still – I’m writing this post to cover my butt! I’m also writing this to remind you to be skeptical readers. Nutrition misinformation is everywhere. One small editing mistake can make something take on a whole new meaning.
What do you think of the article? Are there any nutrition myths we missed or could have explained better?