The ongoing debate about the safety of eggs now has new evidence suggesting eating egg yolks is almost as bad for your heart as smoking.
The Atlantic is reporting that researchers at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada have found that regularly eating yolks is almost as bad for your arteries as smoking. The researchers say egg yolks accelerate the buildup of plaque on artery walls (atherosclerosis) which leads to strokes and heart attacks.
The researchers examined 1,231 patients, with an average age of 62, at London's Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital. Ultrasound tests were done to measure the amount of plaque on carotid arteries which were then followed up with lifestyle surveys, including smoking habits and how many egg yolks they consume.
The Globe and Mail says the study found that both eating egg yolks and smoking increased the amount of plaque buildup on cell walls. It also found that those patients who reported eating three or more yolks a week had substantially more plaque on their artery walls than those who ate two or less yolks.
Lead researcher David Spence says in a press release, “It has been known for a long time that a high cholesterol intake increases the risk of cardiovascular events, and egg yolks have a very high cholesterol content.” “In diabetics, an egg a day increases coronary risk by two to five-fold.”
The Globe and Mail reports that a study last year from Harvard University found that eating one egg every day does not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke in healthy men. But Spence's study a year earlier suggested that a single egg yolk has more cholesterol than KFC's Double Down Sandwich, made up of two pieces of fried chicken sandwiching bacon and cheese.
CBC reports Karen Harvey, a registered dietitian and nutrition officer for the Egg Farmers of Canada says, "We have decades of clinical research demonstrating no link between egg consumption and an increased risk of heart disease."
But Spence argues that he's looked at that research and says, "They're just like the tobacco industry."