Egg yolks as bad as smoking

Eggs that are often touted as a healthy and an excellent nutritional choice may be bad for you. A diet rich in whole eggs could clog arteries, suggests a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis. White eggs are considered beneficial for health owing to its high-protein content, but unfortunately the egg yolk is high in cholesterol content and may prove damaging to your health.

How are egg yolks as bad as smoking?

Researchers of Western University in Canada observed a relationship between egg yolk consumption and the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a medical condition that may lead to heart attack and stroke, with accumulation of plaque along the walls of the arteries.

The potential harm from high cholesterol intake, especially from the healthy food options like egg yolks, is not counted. Patients attending Canadian vascular prevention clinics were examined for their total plaque area (TPA) and if they have atherosclerosis burden or are damaging their arteries in any way. To get an insight on the magnitude of the effect, effect of smoking was also considered.

The researchers at University Hospital enquired patients about their lifestyle, medications, smoking history and egg yolks consumption per week. The assessment of 1262 patients suggested that carotid plaque area increased at a steady rate after 40 years, but increased exponentially due to smoking and with regular consumption of egg yolk. The magnitude of effect of egg yolks was 2/3rd that of smoking.

Smoking’s effect on blood vessels and development of plaque is direct, whereas eggs have an indirect effect, affecting the overall blood cholesterol.  High level of blood cholesterol leads to accumulation of arterial plaque gradually. Besides eating eggs, there are other factors too to affect your cholesterol, which include rest of your diet, weight, physical activity and genetics.

The research indicates possible threats of egg yolk consumption for individuals at risk of cardiovascular disease. However, more trials and prospective studies are needed to confirm it.

Eating eggs becomes problematic when combined with sausages or grits, whereas those who choose to eat egg whites only keep saturated fat and cholesterol intake lower, to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease significantly.

So, give a second thought before you think of combining eggs with sausages to make it appetising. If you are having trouble to understand the complexity of egg yolk risk, speak to a dietician who will be able to highlight the pros and cons of eating too many or too less eggs. 

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