Highlights

15 august 2012

Harmful effects of egg yolks almost as bad as smoking, research shows

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(CBC)

A recent study, led by Dr. David Spence of Western University, shows that egg consumption accelerates the development of plaque in the arteries in a manner similar to that of smoking, and the magnitude of the effect is about two-thirds to three quarters as bad as smoking.

Gilda Salomone speaks with Dr. David Spence, professor of neurology and clinical pharmacology at Western University, in London, Ont. He also runs the Stroke Prevention Clinic at University Hospital and a research unit at the Robarts Research Institute.
The reason is that egg yolks have very high cholesterol content. The recommended daily intake of cholesterol for people at risk of heart attack and strokes is less than 200 milligrams a day. One jumbo egg contains about 237 mg of cholesterol, “more that a Hardee’s Monster Thickburger, which contains two-thirds of a pound of beef, three slices of cheese and four slices of bacon and … only 210 mg of cholesterol.”, says Dr. Spence.

“For several hours after you eat a high cholesterol meal or … egg yolks, you have inflammation of the arteries, … they become sticky and twitchy.” , he adds.


One jumbo egg yolk (237 mg) contains more cholesterol than a Hardee’s Monster Thickburger (210 mg) (Photo: Hardee’s)

Dr. Spence thinks consumers are misled by what he calls "propaganda" from the egg industry, which claims that eggs are harmless.

“Who are you going to believe? Somebody who sells eggs or three of Canada’s leading experts on cardiovascular prevention, cholesterol and nutrition?”

Dr. Spence stresses that regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease. He also suggests that people make omelettes with egg whites and that they follow the Mediterranean diet.

The study followed 1,231 patients who attend his vascular prevention clinics. Dr. Spence adds the effect of egg yolk consumption over time on increasing the amount of plaque in the arteries was independent of sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index and diabetes.

Gilda Salomone spoke with Dr. David Spence, professor of neurology and clinical pharmacology at Western University, in London, Ont. He also runs the Stroke Prevention Clinic at University Hospital and a research unit at the Robarts Research Institute.

(With files from the CBC)

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