New research suggests that eating egg yolks speeds up the development of atherosclerosis in the same way as smoking cigarettes. Dr. David Spence, a Professor of Neurology at Western University, Canada, and colleagues examined data from 1231 men and women, with an average age of 61.5, who were patients attending vascular prevention clinics at a London Hospital. Ultrasound was used to measure total plaque area and questionnaires were filled out regarding participants lifestyle and medications, including pack-years of smoking (number of packs of cigarettes per day times the number of years), and the number of egg yolk-years (egg yolks consumed per week times the number of years consumed ). Results showed that carotid plaque area increased linearly with age after age 40, but increased exponentially with pack-years of smoking and egg yolk-years. Thereby, suggesting that cigarette smoking and eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis. Furthermore, participants eating three or more yolks a week had significantly more plaque area than those who ate two or fewer yolks per week. "The mantra 'eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people' has confused the issue. 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," said Dr. Spence. "What we have shown is that with aging, plaque builds up gradually in the arteries of Canadians, and egg yolks make it build up faster - about two-thirds as much as smoking. In the long haul, egg yolks are not okay for most Canadians."
Spence JD, Jenkins DJ, Davignon J. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis. 2012 Aug 1.
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Eating egg yolks is comparable to smoking in terms of speeding up the development of atherosclerosis, new research suggests.
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