award. The title of the study alone should have sent up red flags, and maybe even a little snicker, but considering it my duty I proceeded to read the whole article. It was published in the Cnn.com health section, titled: Is Eating Egg Yolks as Bad As Smoking?
This obviously might scare a lot of gullible people and send them scurrying away from the produce section, but it would certainly help these people if they would read deep into the article. The study was about as weak as any I’ve read, there are so many areas to attack. First, the results “showed” that eating 3 or more yolks per week raised arterial plaque 2/3 as much as smoking. If that were true then it does in fact raise the cardiovascular disease risk. But what about cancer? Emphysema? Smoking also raises your blood pressure- which more dangerous than high cholesterol. The fact is that smoking is the by far the deadliest controllable health risk factor we have.
Examing the details of this study showed that researchers looked at 1,231 patients at London Health Sciences Center University Hospital who had some cardiovascular health issues: Stroke, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease, and had them fill out questionaires about their diet and lifestyle, and how many egg yolks they had eaten. An ultrasound was then performed to determine plaque build up in their arteries. Using their related histories the researchers found that the egg consumers had nearly as much plaque as did regular smokers.
Now of course the authors had to sandbag a little. They did not take into account exercise habits, or waist circumference. And the participants had already suffered cardiac difficulties. And of course they were relying upon the patients remembered estimates of their consumption. In other words it was far from a double-blind, randomized, placibo controlled study. A little bit!
The fact is that dietary cholesterol has very little impact upon your blood lipid profile. Most cholesterol is produced in our own bodies, and when we cut down on the consumption of it our bodies only step up production. Why is this? Because cholesterol is an essential product. We need it for production of many hormones, for the manufacturing of vitamin d, for our nerve cells and for the membranes of every cell in our bodies. A high proportion of LDL cholesterol actually is a factor, but having too low of a cholesterol level is risky also. The American Heart Association announced at the annual Stroke Conference a few years back that cholesterol levels lower than 180 increased the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, as compared to those with levels of 230. Slightly higher cholesterol is not the death sentence that some people think.
Lets stop demonizing eggs. They are great source of many nutrients not found in most other foods. They are a great source of protein, having a high rating in amino acid profile second only to whey protein. The yolks are also a good source of choline, vitamin d and b vitamins, and nowadays farmers have even added vit e and omega 3s. They are a complete food for your table. So relax. Your breakfast is safe. Go ahead and indulge without fear!
If you want some dietary ideas for lowering cholesterol you can visit one of my previous posts here.