Egg Yolks: Just As Hazardous As Smoking

Egg Yolks: Just As Hazardous As Smoking

Written by Alex Reid
Posted August 15, 2012

Although eggs have long been touted by the health-food industry as a great source of protein and part of a healthy diet, consuming egg yolks too often is reportedly two-thirds as bad as years of smoking for people at risk of heart disease according to a recent study by Dr. David Spence in Atherosclerosis.

The study found that the consumption of egg yolks, which are incredibly high in cholesterol, leads to an increased build up of artery-clogging plaque that contributes to the risk of heart attack and stroke. The amount of plaque caused by eating too many egg yolks is similar to that caused by years of smoking. 

"The mantra 'eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people' has confused the issue," says Dr. Spence, "the study shows that, with age, plaque builds up gradually in the arteries and egg yolks make it build faster."

The egg industry, however, maintains eating eggs on a daily basis has no negative effect on a person's cardiovascular health.  Dr. Spence responds that, "they're just like the tobacco industry," and are selective about what is shared with the public.

The study surveyed 1,231 men and women with an average age of 61.5, all of whom were patients attending vascular prevention clinics. Dr. Spence found that those participants eating three or more egg yolks per week had significantly more plaque than those eating less than three egg yolks per week. 

The build up of plaque can cause atherosclerosis, or coronary artery disease, a disorder where plaque forms on artery walls. The danger is even more severe in diabetics for whom, “an egg a day increases coronary risk by two to five-fold” according to Dr. Spence.

What we can take away from this study is that eggs, like any other foods, should be eaten in moderation to maintain a healthy diet. It is also a good idea to replace the consumption of whole eggs with egg whites, which are rich in lean protein but very low in fat, cholesterol, and calories.  By reducing the number of egg yolks you eat to less than three per week by replacing whole eggs with egg whites, you can greatly reduce the build up of plaque which leads to serious health problems.

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