Developer cooks up 30-day 'Butter Egg Challenge'

As they say on Mythbusters, please do not try this at home

"So, rise and shine," implores cloud developer Jason Nunnelley at the start of his YouTube video. "Had a really rough one yesterday; spent several hours working on some server data recapturing; anyway ..."

And then he lays out the particulars of his self-imposed "Butter Egg Challenge," which calls for him to consume at least a quarter pound of butter - "Kerrygold, grass-fed, Irish butter ... it tastes awesome" -- and a dozen whole eggs every day for 30 days in an attempt to debunk conventional wisdom that depicts these yummy foodstuffs as twin poster children for high cholesterol.


I particularly love the part where Nunnelley, a self-described biohacker/foodie, makes sure that we notice that the eggs are plated "on a bed of kale; I'm not doing just fat."

Having had a heart attack myself in 2004 and managed my cholesterol down to what my doctor calls "a third-world level," I'm not at all endorsing Nunnelley's hypothesis here, or even the wisdom of his experiment. (Though I do eat eggs, in moderation, and butter occasionally.)

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But the video sure caught my attention. And, since Nunnelley and I are in one of each other's Google+ circles, I sent him what I intended to be a few lighthearted questions ... and received back what I think you will find are altogether serious replies.

Why are you doing this?

"I think people have a lot of assumptions based on profit-driven propaganda by industry and public policy makers. I doubt both their sincerity and scientific process. I'm not making a claim that this is a scientific study. It's one man, one dietary change. But, I think it will provide evidence that the issue deserves reconsideration.

"I [doubt] high fat dietary intake translates to blood serum cholesterol without the addition of agonist carbohydrate sources. Most studies on dietary fat include high calorie carb laden diets with the addition of new fat while maintaining high dietary carbohydrate (sugar) intake. I've spent the last month avoiding gluten and now I'm adding a load of dietary fat. So, my labs already reflect a month of gluten avoidance. I think the data indicates that grains and higher blood glucose actually cause hyperlipidemia."

What's your cholesterol level now?


"It was OK(ish) last time I had it checked. About 170, but my HDL was 39. Some doctors would like it lower, but a HDL of 40 is an indicator of lower heart disease risk. I've had a cardiogram a few years ago and showed little or no blockage. So, I'm in no immediate risk of killing myself with elevated cholesterol even if I'm wrong about my assumptions. I am, after all, seeking the truth and not simply making a point. I'll report my cholesterol, A1C, and testosterone levels when those results come back from the initial lab (conducted just prior to starting the challenge)."

What do you expect your cholesterol will be in 30 days?

"I expect lower or moderately higher LDL with a higher HDL. Believe it or not, a higher total cholesterol could in fact be healthier, according to today's medical data. High HDL indicates low risk of heart disease.

"Overall, I think [healthy] fat is good for you. I'm not eating hydrogenated vegetable oil or doped up meat fat during this experiment.

"The latest data indicates that prior anti-fat research was flawed. I'm convinced it's based on bad science. Do you remember how much healthier margarine was for us back in the '70s and '80s? Most folks are still brainwashed about butter, but eat low melt, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and a host of other fats that are manmade and known to be toxic in modern fast food and fast-living doses. I think fat is a political boogie man."

Do you have a death wish? :-)

"No. I want to live to be 100, preferably find a way to live double, then triple that. I like science, medical advancement, and survival. I love my kids and wife and want to be around to watch my great grandchildren grow up. My grandparents lived into their 80s and 90s without much medical aid, and they ate bacon, butter, and a load of stuff the establishment has been telling us causes modern disease. If I believed there was any legitimate risk, I'd never do it. I don't hang glide or parachute. I don't drive fast or own a motorcycle. But, I honestly think there's absolutely no risk to eating butter and eggs."

(I sent him another message, noting: I must say I didn't get from the video quite the seriousness of purpose that I got from your answers to my questions.)

"Yeah, I often don't come across like a serious guy. That's because I'm having fun."

We'll see how much fun he's having on day 29.

Nunnelley promises to share the results of his experiment, whether they support his theory or not. ... I'd be lying if I said I'm not curious.

In the meantime, you can watch his "Day 2 of the Butter Egg Challenge" video below.

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