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Egg Yolk as Harmful as Smoking

Aug 16, 2012 07:59 AM EDT
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Till date it was thought that adding more eggs to your diet is an excellent way to give yourself a health boost. Eggs are packed with several vitamins that are essential for health, especially, the the yolk that is rich with 90 percent calcium and iron.

But a study published in the journal Atherosclerosis, lists certain facts about the egg that leaves all health-conscious people in a dilemma.

According to lead author Dr. David Spence, eating egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes.

The study conducted by him had a survey done on more than 1,200 patients. Spence found that regular intake of egg yolks is about two-thirds as bad as smoking. This is because it increases the buildup of carotid plaque that is a prime causative factor for strokes and heart attacks.

The coronary artery disease that is otherwise known as atherosclerosis is a disorder of the arteries where plaques, tiggered by cholesterol, begin to show up on the inner arterial wall. Most people fall victim to heart attacks and many strokes due to plaque rupture.

this study included 1,231 men and women, with a mean age of 61.5. These sunjects were patients attending vascular prevention clinics at London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital. the total plaque area was claculated with the aid of Ultrasounds. These subjecst were also asked to fill in questionnaires regarding their lifestyle and medications, including pack-years of smoking also the number of packs and total number of years), and the number of egg yolks consumed per week and the number of yolks consumed in the year.

On conducting the study, researchers noticed that the carotid plaque area increased slowly after the age 40, but increased exponentially with pack-years of smoking and egg yolk-years. The study highlights the fact that compared to the person's age, both tobacco-smoking and egg yolk consumption have a great chance of accelarating atherosclerosis.

It is clear that an intake of more than three yolks a week will lead to plaque areas when comapred to a control intake of yolks.

"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 very high cholesterol content. In diabetics, an egg a day increases coronary risk by two to fivefold," said Dr. Spence, professor of Neurology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and the director of its Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre at the Robarts Research Institute.

"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."

The study demands a further investigation that will consider other contributors such as exercise and waist circumference. However, it lays emphasis on the fact that people who are prone to cardiovascular disease should avoid the consumption of egg yolk.

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