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Eating egg yolks as 'bad as smoking'

"Eating egg yolks is as bad as smoking in speeding up coronary heart disease" the Daily Mail says, reporting that egg yolks contribute to the clogging up of arteries which, in turn, can increase the risk of heart disease.

The news is based on a Canadian study which used ultrasound to look at the fatty build-up in the arteries of around 1,200 adults who were attending a clinic because they had pre-existing risk factors for heart disease.

The adults were questioned on their smoking history, the number of egg yolks eaten per week and how long they had eaten this amount of egg yolks.

They found that a combination of smoking and egg yolk consumption was related to a fatty build-up in the arteries, which could increase the risk of heart disease as well as other conditions that can affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases or CVDs).

This study does contain some important limitations, such as:

  • the accuracy of the participants’ recollections of their egg yolk consumption
  • a lack of detailed information on how the eggs were cooked
  • there may have been additional risk factors contributing to artery ‘clogging’, not assessed by the study, such as lack of exercise or alcohol consumption
  • while it is reasonable to assume that fatty build-up in the neck arteries can increase the risk of heart disease, it is uncertain exactly what the increased level of risk would be

This study perhaps best supports the notion of “all things in moderation”. Eggs are a good source of protein. Without further study, there is no firm evidence that egg yolks are as bad for you as smoking.

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