August 15th, 2012
05:38 PM ET
Is eating egg yolks as bad as smoking?
A new study suggests eating egg yolks can accelerate heart disease almost as much as smoking.
The study published online in the journal Atherosclerosis found eating egg yolks regularly increases plaque buildup about two-thirds as much as smoking does. Specifically, patients who ate three or more yolks a week showed significantly more plaque than those who ate two or less yolks per week.
It may seem harsh to compare smoking with eating egg yolks, but lead study author Dr. David Spence says researchers needed a way to put it into perspective since both eating cholesterol and smoking increase cardiovascular risks - but the general public believes smoking is far worse for your health.
The issue is with the yolk, not the egg, says Spence, who is also a professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. "One jumbo chicken egg yolk has about 237 milligrams of cholesterol."
Keeping a diet low in cholesterol is key, says Spence. Even if you are young and healthy, eating egg yolks can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases later.
"Just because you are 20 doesn't mean egg yolks aren't going to cause any trouble down the line," he says.
Study: Egg yolk nearly as bad as smoking
For those patients with increased coronary risk, such as diabetics, eating an egg yolk a day can increase coronary risk by two to five-fold, he adds.
Atherosclerosis, also called coronary artery disease, occurs when plaque builds up in the blood vessels leading to the heart, specifically the inner arterial wall, and limits the amount of blood that can pass through.
Doctors write a prescription for fresh produce
In the study, researchers looked at 1,231 patients of the vascular prevention clinics at London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital, with a mean age of 61.5. Each patient had already experienced a small stroke or had high blood pressure, hypertension or a family history of cardiovascular disease. Spence says researchers chose to use patients with a higher likelihood of cardiovascular issues because it would have been harder to get visible results using the general population with a lower risk.
Patients were asked to fill out questionnaires about their diet, lifestyle and medications, including how much they smoked and the number of egg yolks they ate. An ultrasound was performed to examine their plaque buildup. Researchers took into account sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index and diabetes.
In addition to relying completely on the recollection of patients as to what they ate, the study did not account for waist circumference and it did not account for a patient's exercise program. And perhaps most notably, it only looked at patients with existing cardiovascular issues.
The study confirms what doctors already know about eating cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, says Dr, Gordon Tomaselli, chief of cardiology at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and the former president of the American Heart Association.
"Cholesterol intake should be limited to 300 milligrams a day, particularly in people who do not have underlying heart disease," he says.
However, people with high LDL blood cholesterol levels or those taking a blood cholesterol-lowering medication should eat less than 200 mg of cholesterol per day.
So what can you do to keep your heart healthy?
Talk to your doctor if you have a history of heart disease and consider a change in lifestyle – things like eating better, watching your cholesterol, stopping smoking, and exercising.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
That egg so bad brings a new chicken in a few weeks. Can't be bad at all.
There have been controversies about the amount of cholesterol intake one should have and items such as "Good Cholesterol" and "Bad Cholesterol" since the 1970s. How you're body uses cholesterol is a function of your genetics. Also there are dietary factors such as the eating of large amounts of fish that help to lower cholesterol. It is absurd to give a figure for the maximum amount of cholesterol that should be eaten each day absent the consideration of a person's overall diet.
This is the most ill-researched piece of anti-cholesterol propaganda I've come across in a long time. It's actually dangerous to convey this faulty information. Eggs are highly beneficial, especially for important nutrients such as choline. I'm just sick over this stupid article.
It really gets my dander up when these 'Doctors' start chiming in over one crappy study and try to draw generalities and tell everybody what to do now. As if they even know fact from fiction. How many times in the past have we heard these 'warnings'. As if they are real. First it was saturated fat, then it was sugar, then it was salt. So we all went on drugs to prevent the inevitable unless we stayed in line with the newest 'study'. Only to find out after many years that the info was wrong. 'Its not the cholesterol its the LDL's", 'its not the fats its the carbs/sugars'. 'Its neither the fat or the sugar, its the salt'. Eggs are bad, then they are good. This 'study' sounds like pure crap. They didnt control for anything. They just looked at those that ate eggs and those that didnt. Well duh, those that eat eggs probably also eat bacon. It could be the bacon!
This is such BS. Research continues to show that high, refined carbohydrate intake is the reason for high cholesterol. I cut carbs, increased intake of saturated fats and eat eggs every day (with yolk) and my "bad" cholesterol has gone down and my "good" cholesterol has gone up. I've also lost a significant amount of weight in the process and my doctor approves of these choices as prior to all this, I'd spent years doing Low Fat and Low Cholesterol trying to lose weight and get healthy. I've lost more weight and gotten cholesterol numbers under control in just a few months over the years I fought with my weight prior to this. Do the research, CHECK the research and you'll find that so much of this revolves around bad studies and misinformation. It's sad.
I eat almost no refined carbs and an average of two eggs a day....my bad cholesterol is below the normal range, my good cholesterol is perfect.. This article proves nothing and keeps people away from a really healthy food.
how about writting something so ANYone else can understand you. there's really no point in posting ramblings of a child
Wait, I read in a book by the Harvard chair of nutrition that egg yolks were fine and that dietary cholesterol doesn't translate to high cholesterol in the body. What is going on? I thought for the last 10 years, it was agreed upon that egg yolks were a good source of vitamin E. No wonder we are all fat and have heart disease in this country. There is so much contradicting information out there on reputable sites that no one knows what they actually are supposed to do. Why are we throwing so much money to learn what makes us healthy and all we have is contradictory information? I seriously have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing.
My husband took a nutrition class in college and follows the philosophy of "Anything but trans fats is fine in moderation. Don't eat trans fats and don't eat too much in general." It's better than following a new rule every time a new study comes out. I can't keep track anymore.
That has to be the worst piece of research ever. It's targeted at people who already have heart disease, it does not take into account he general population at all.
I too can draw any conclusions I want from a flawed study....
Apparently the real news information is in the comments section. I eat 4 whole fried eggs with two strips of bacon and a bowl of oatmeal with walnuts every morning and I'm still in great shape. I'm a firm believer that cholesterol and saturated fats are all beneficial in moderation. "Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint" -Mark Twain
Check out my bodyspace: bodyspaceDOTcom/s86k
I know! I was starting to get very grumbly reading the article. I've made healthy changes to my diet this year, including eating an egg with breakfast almost every day, simply because it's quick, cheap, healthy protein and keeps me full longer. I've lost 25 pounds, and now eggs are bad for me? THEN I got to the end of the article and saw how skewed their sample group was. I just started cracking up. This has to be the lamest study I've ever read. I don't know why I bother reading health articles on CNN anymore.
It's nice you helped the dog. Too bad you sound just as idiotic.
Thanks for helping the dog – too bad you made yourself out to be an even bigger D-bag than the person you were accosting.
Mark Sisson – look him up. Caveman diet.
More junk science, brought to you by the "news" folks at CNN! What's next? Voting Republican is as dangerous as cancer??
It's bad for your health to think about politics at all.
Cancer does less damage to the US.... and is responsible for less deaths
EVeryone knows CNNs reportage on scientific mattters willl not be up to the standard of a peer reviewed pulicatio.. sSO, my advic e- shut up and stop trying to show how smart ou are. I willl keave many of you with an important truth
"Just because everybody else is wrong about somethin, i doesn't make you right; in factt if everyone else in the human race is wrong about something thee's a goodf chnce yourer wrong,tooo. Goood night and if you think you'r in denial then you're not.
This observational study is too ridiculously confounded by other factors to be valid. Anyway, its probably the fat in the yolks that is associated with atherosclerosis, not the cholesterol.
Or the noontime tea.
" Anyway, its probably the fat in the yolks that is associated with atherosclerosis, not the cholesterol."
Or the noontime tea.
Just wait and another study will say the opposite.
Just stop it!!! Why don't we just have our stomachs removed at birth and replace them with lithium ion batteries and plug ourselves into a charging stations every few hours like the borg on star trek. I'm sure that would cause cancer though so how about these nutritionitist researchers go against their own suggestions by eating a little red meat and EAT ME!
When they say Egg Yolk, are they referring to the whole egg? or are people really tossing out the egg whites and just eating yellow? I ask because I have read mixed opinions on whole eggs, and many suggest that eating whole eggs doesn't overall impact your cholesterol levels (by the way this article is doing a terrible job at cholesterol, what about the differences between LDL and HDL?) Along these lines, i learned in nutrition that your body creates cholesterol, and again mentioning HDL vs LDL and the impacts that each has on plaque levels.
CNN, can you stop with the idiotic sensationalistic headlines for these things? It is clearly not as bad as smoking and whoever decided to post that it was is either a m0ron or desperate for attention. What next, you start having pop-ups to "like" you on Facebook? Talk about sad...
since eggs are almost as bad for the public as smoking is ... will the Adminstration be pursuing the egg industry in the same way as the Cigarette industry was pursued ... with massive fines to pay for health costs that burden the state and federal governments?
This study has already been trashed. The data doesn't support the conclusions and the guys doing it have been funded by the drug companies to do it. They didn't even control for other factors like exercise or other diet factors. The data shows that the more eggs they ate, the better their lipid levels.. hmmmm
You should never ask a doctor's opinion on nutritional issues since they are not educated in the matter. Besides, if you do your own research you will see that cholesterol is not the "BAD" culprit that causes heart disease. Neither is fat. Sugar is our true enemy when it comes to diseases. If you eliminate sugar from your diet and keep your carbohydrate intake under 100 grams a day you will not only have a healthy body weight, but you will prevent inflammation and all the horrible effects it causes.
Jesus H Christ, is there ANYTHING that we can eat. I'm down to brown rice and water, and they tell me the water is contaminated.
It's kinda strange that is what I was just thinking. It's sad because that is literally what I ate last night for lunch and dinner. Then two days ago some guy released the study of tap water being filled with sludge when examined after a few days of filtration.
We can't eat anything but fruit and veggies. Even brown rice is not considered healthy by raw vegans. Then come to find out much of the fruits and veggies are genetically modified so they are not good. So then we are left to buy organic but the government is trying to stop the sale of that. It would be funny if it wasn't actually true.
Why is this so controversial? A human should eat nothing of the animal kingdom. And on that note, I'm getting two Big Mac's for dinner (and maybe a double cheese burger)...
Don't worry. Nothing from McDonald's comes from the animal kingdom.
Never mind that WHEAT causes heart disease AND diabetes.....blame it on the eggs.....
Quit telling us what to eat!! Its our bodies!! Go tell people to quit shooting guns & killing people, thats WORSE for your health.
Its the FAT in the yoke which could be bad if you are consuming too much saturated fat from other sources. Our body produces 1 to 1.5 L of cholesterol each day. Cholesterol is what heals arteries damaged because of inflamation. The human body produces more cholesterol if arteries are being damaged often. The cause for inflamation has to be treated. Lowering cholesterol is no answer. Its the high carbohydrates diets to be blamed and not cholesterol. This is an absolutely wrong information.
You are absolutely right!
I'm not even going to read the story because the headline is so very stupid.
I'm in total agreement with the commenters above who are disgusted by this ridiculous story. The research is so overwhelming that heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc. are related to processed foods, sugars, and excess carbohydrates that are cionsumed by the bushelfull. Did the CNN editorial staff bother to even watch the Sixty Minutes expose on sugar and these disorders, much less do any REAL research into this issue? Eggs have been called the perfect food–and to base a study on the ridiculous parameters used by these researchers, which do not take into account the dietary habits of the participants–is criminal.
Try a body cleanse. Try Supreme Cleanse. I do those three times a year. It makes me feel great. It's about $40 at Whole Foods. It's tllatoy natural. I also work out for 1 hour a day. That gives me much more energy, however if you only want to do 30 minutes (min) that'd be fine too. That helps me fall asleep quicker and I generally sleep very soundly.I keep an air purifier in my bedroom. I've also noticed that that has helped me sleep more soundly.So basically, like you said get enough sleep, BUT it needs to be good sleep so you wake refreshed. IMO your well-being revolves around how well you sleep! GL!
Good grief, who cares? Who are the idiots who come up with this stuff? My grandmother ate eggs all her life and lived to be 96. So did everyone else in my family. In fact, my cholesterol is running a little low right now so maybe I need to go make some eggs to give it a little kick! If I croak from eating eggs, at least I will know I had fun doing it.
Slow news day, CNN? Garbage pseudo-science should fill in that empty space nicely.
I'll eat what ever the eff I want to eat.I don't really like eggs that much anyway.But if I want it,I'll eat it.
as bad a smoking. retarded statement of all time
After reading about all these health studies for most of my 69 years of life, I've come to the conclusion that there's no chance of us getting out of this alive.
Ok world, stop eating eggs now. I've probably eaten a couple thousand egg yolks over my life. Should I be freaking out right now that I am going to die?
Maybe it means nothing but until more evidence is in Im going to cut back on the egg consumption. Currently about 15-18 a week. So basically l could keel over at any minute.
for better insight on this issue read the novels based on actual experiences -- king of Bat'ha by Hashim,, - and the sequel -- Tales from the East: Return of Ivanhoe by Ivanhoe. The former inspired the 50 Shades of Grey series by discussing exotic Arabic erotica.
This is the most ill-researched piece of anti-cholesterol propaganda I've come across in a long time. It's actually dangerous to convey this faulty information. Eggs are highly beneficial, especially for important nutrients such as choline. I'm just sick over this stupid article. Cholesterol is not the problem; cholesterol-lowering drugs are actually quite dangerous (i.e. statins). If you eat whole foods – eggs, organic/free-range meats, real oils like coconut or olive, organic/local fruits & veggies, etc. you'll be fine! Eggs are incredibly healthy for us!
Eggs my have negative affects to the heart, like butter, and cheese, but it does not cause cancer or lung disease or any of the other deadly effects of smoking. Who is the idiot who published this. CNN, you are responsible for the junk you publish.
This is absolutely ridiculous, that scientists are paid to create these bogus findings, while modern man has been eating eggs for thousands of years.
right...and I love egg yolk :))
Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also an ass hole for having his picture on the same page as this article! He must be a frickin quack!
How many of those people that admitted to eating excessive amounts of eggs also had bacon and sausage for breakfast?
This is a worthless study because it lacks any kind of control.
This is a big question. I have rhreasceed for years in this field and I think the problem is the basics are true;1. Get rid of processed foods and start eating more raw ingredients.2. Move away from chemical laden personal items like shampoo, soap, household cleansers, etc.3. Supplement at least organic minerals like selenium (cancer), chromium (diabetes) and magnesium (heart disease).These principles are sound and backed up with solid scientific evidence. The problem come in with our reluctance to actually CHANGE our lifestyles. This brings on all the hucksters with magic pills and vitamins to where we don't have to change. There is also a large number of people who have already waited too long and are seeking a cure for the diseases created by inadequate nutrition or toxic exposure.That said, here are my favorites:mercola.comnaturalnews.comlewrockwell.com/sardi/sardi-arch.htmldearpharmacist.comraysahelian.com/the-vitaman.comEven though some of them do have items to sell, everyone has to make a living and I judge by the availability of information. If they give you the information then show what they sell that's different than giving you 10 pages of hype, not telling you what is even in their product, then trying to sell it to you. Also, a sideline from my research has given me a desire to be an herbalist, the mother of all medicine.Hope this helps,Rick
I didnt see anything in the article mention eggs causing cancer... you know – that pesky thing you get from smoking.
beware of those doctors.labs are their best paertrns, they will put you on drugs you need it or not.Lipitor will ruin your liver and other things.stop eating garbage and cholesteron could go down 20 or more points. if not, you may lower your cholesterol to 160, then you die with a cirrosis.do not trust this organized medicine, it 's just a business
Eggs are really healthy, they have lots of healthy fats and other nutrients. Plus they are a cheap and easy-to-cook source of protein. Why do they confuse us so?
C N N now tell everyone how dangerous gay male intercourse is. One in five end up infected with A I D S according to the CDC. People want the govt to condone it through gay marriage.
Wow. Our bodies naturally produce cholestrol. cholesterol is essential for all human/animal life, each cell synthesizes it. Don't believe me? just go read it on wikipedia.org. whoever this Trisha Henry – "CNN Medical Producer" is, she needs a new job, and not in the news.
What a horrendous article. I actually haven't even read it because I don't want to diminish my intelligence. To even compare eating eggs to smoking is comical. Let me say this, at least you can fookin' run when you eat eggs. Smoking causes so many issues it's hard to even explain. Basically, if you're a heavy smoker, then you don't care about your body. It's as simple as that. At least when you eat eggs, you're getting nutrients. End of topic. Case closed. Proceed, everyone.
As a matter of fact, no matter how you restrict dietary cholesterol from external source, your body is going to manufacture. Your body manufactures 80% of the cholesterol and 20 % comes from outside which varies per your diet.
Cholesterol is quite important for body functions. The main cultprits are Saturated fats, triglecerides, trans fat, simple carbs. If you want your lipid level under control, try to cut down all these.
Obviosly, you cannot have too much cholesterol intake. If you take out yolk out of egg, you are actually throwing out the most healthiest minerals, vitamins, good fatty acid.
That is true that you cannot eat too many egg yolks if you have lipid profile.
I thought we were beyond this? Concurrence and causality are not exactly the same dear Spence.Anybody want to hazard a guess as to how many confounders were not accounted for?
Maybe you should do some PubMed and Plos searches. Maybe you should read a paper from a real scientific researcher like Ian Spreadbury : Comparison with ancestral diets suggests dense acellular carbohydrates promote an inflammatory microbiota, and may be the primary dietary cause of many of our health issues.
As others have said, that study is not very useful. Egg yolk consumption is probably just correlated with a lifestyle that, for some other reason, increases arterial plaques.
I don't trust anything these people say, not cnn, not the doctors, not the scientists. These people don't know anything. Their conclusions change ever day. They prescribe drugs that have a longer list of negative side effects than can fill a tv ad. They went to schools that gave them false information and is based in sciences that change their conclusions every day as well (as science is supposed to do). Today they say something is good for you, tomorrow they say it kills you. Something new everyday.
I eat about 4 eggs a week and will continue to do so. It amazes me that we always hear these studies but I remember my grandparents and great grandparents eating eggs, bacon etc and things cooked in LARD all their lives and lived to be in their 90's. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy every day. Everything in moderation, I suppose along with some healthy excercise 3 times a week and a keep a healthy weight and you should be fine.
I am not an MD but I would think that putting the following list of ingredients in your body when smoking ONE cigarette could be a little worse than an egg yoke:
Fungicides and pesticides - Cause many types of cancers and birth defects.
Cadmium - Linked to lung and prostate cancer.
Benzene - Linked to leukemia.
Formaldehyde - Linked to lung cancer.
Nickel - Causes increased susceptibility to lung infections.
This article talks about cholesterol and the heart. It doesn't talk about how incredibly harmful cigarettes are.
By the way, I am a smoker and I am trying to quit as we speak. I believe you simply cannot compare the harm of smoking to eating an egg yoke.
The Lipid Theory of heart disease is bogus, as is the famous China Study on western diets, milk, and cancer. Eggs and milk are two of the healthiest things you can eat and the latest properly controlled studies with peer review are proving that. Soy is also loaded with carcinogens, phytoestrogens, and a bunch of other junk, that the couple of companies that control like 90% of the industry have never bothered to process properly for human consumption, especially the soy protein isolates food-stuff and fast-food companies put in everything.
gotta share this story My DH has congestive heart furiale and is on a low sodium, etc, etc diet and he *loves* hot dogs! He had a dream one night that he had lost 25#s and his nutritionist and cardiac team were so proud of him for achieving this goal that they were bringing him platters of hot dogs as his reward!!! Yup sometimes food IS a good reward! (but probably not platters-full of it
Read Wheat Belly or Watch Fathead Perhaps it's the whole wheat roast that they probably ate with the eggs that raised their cholesterol.
Nevermind all the evils in life.....you start dying the minute you are born.....So , From birth till the end i choose to live.... I will eat whatever i enjoy , in moderation and enjoy the time i have above ground...........OR , i could eat bunny food all my life and be miserable......i've out lived 1 doctor, saw a jogger get killed by a car......dead and healthy.....gotta love it. And i will not read lots of books either , don't need to be the smartest guy in the cemetary..........Tink about it !
Okay, this article is making me just shake my head. With the state of the economy, eggs are a terrific source of cheap protein. The information about the skewed sample group should be at the top of the article, not the bottom. It's scare-mongering.
Blegh... Good research or pseudo-science, who cares... I hate egg yolks anyways. 😛
Smoking an egg yolk is definitely as bad as eating a cigarette.
Statins are not the end all! If you look at the statistics, stntais and low cholesterol do not prevent heart attack. Infact only one drug does lower Heart attack rates, and that is because it controls inflammation as well. Daily stntais over time place stress on your cleaning organs. If there is no family history of cholesterol related diseases, you run, eat health (take antioxidants instead) why worry about cholesterol!
those exact words after a race two weeks ago. They used to be a treat; now I'm sick of them but they're usually the only hot food alvlaabie. Hot dogs have been the No. 1 post-race party food for the tris, biking and running races/events that I've attended. How about some guidance from RW to race directors on healthier hot food alternatives?
OH PLEASE..ENOUGH WITH THAT BULLL....YOU CAN GET HIT BUY CAR OR GET SHOT IN GROCERY STORE IF YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DIE