My cigarette breakfast: Are egg yolks just as bad as cigarettes?

By 2:02 PM

WAIT! Before you take a bite of that omelette, ask yourself, would you rather trade that for a cigarette? 

A Canadian study found that people who consumed 3 or more egg yolks a week, had the same plaque buildup as smokers.


Those with risk of cardiovascular disease, be warned. 

Poor old egg. No one seems to understand whether it truly has good intentions or bad intentions. Theres a roller coaster debate among scientist, nutritionist and doctors around the world. Some praise the egg for its high antioxidant content, ability to help reduce cancer, and its high protein content that helps build muscle. Not to mention eggs are so versatile, from pancakes, to quiche, to ice cream and baked goods. 


Life without eggs seems virtually impossible, so who would ever want to hate on a poor, fragile, little egg? 


The Canadian study published in Artherosclerosis, was conducted on 1262 patients over 40 years of age. Each patient filled out a survey about their lifestyle, medications, pack years of smoking, and weekly egg yolk consumption. 


The study looked at the carotid artery in the neck. If the carotid artery hardens and plaque buildups, this is called artherosclerosis. The buildup of plaque blocks the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body, and may cause stroke, heart attacks and even death.


The results of the study, were enough to conclude that eggs were just as bad as cigarettes. The media went hectic. Yet, is this enough information to ban eggs from your house?


It is important to note that the patients exercise levels, weight, and what other foods they may have eaten with the eggs were not taken into consideration. All these factors could have contributed significantly to the results of the study. 


Still, the egg was once again given a bad reputation, and particularly alienating the egg yolk. The egg yolk so infamously known for its high cholesterol content, yet rich in vitamins and amino acids. 

In another study from Food and Function, examined the effects of eggs and the heart, and concluded that:


 "We need to acknowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in their regular diet."

Simply put, the study found that the whole egg has extraordinary benefits for our bodies, that they outweigh the cholesterol. Furthermore, it also claims that we do not even have to worry about the cholesterol in the first place. 

It is apparent that now we are at a cross road. On one side, we have people shunning eggs, backed with multiple studies, and claiming that eggs are bad. On the other side, we have another group of people, backed with multiple studies, and claiming that eggs (including the yolk!) are good, and that we should not worry about their cholesterol. 

But there's more things to take into consideration. The egg industry is a multibillion dollar industry that can spend millions of dollars manipulating us into believing eggs are essential, and they do. In addition, they trick us with labels such as "free-range," and we spend our money believing that we are buying ethically produced eggs. 

According the FSIS "free range," means "producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside." There are no restrictions on the amount of space chickens have to roam around, or how long chickens are allowed to roam outside. 

Sky News did an undercover story over the conditions of one of Britain's producers of eggs, "Happy Eggs." "Happy Eggs" took pride in its well maintained farms and ethical practices towards their chickens. But the Sky News story showed otherwise. 

Even though most of us understand that adverts have some sort of "puffery" in them to attract customers, the conditions shown by Sky News vs. the depictions by Happy Eggs were considerably divergent. 

So should we indefinitely ban eggs from our diets? 

I believe its up to you to decide of course. Personally, I love eggs, but I choose to eat only organic eggs. 

I believe that conventional eggs, or non-organic eggs are not good for us since they are full of toxic chemicals, hormones and antibiotics. I do not trust words such as "free range" or even "cage free" for reasons discussed above. It is in conditions highlighted by Sky News where farmers have to use antibiotics to prevent their chickens from getting sick. Furthermore, I also think that its because of these chemicals that people are concluding eggs are bad. Conventional eggs are filled with bad chemicals, so of course they will not react well in our bodies. 

Honestly, with everything, there will always be people against and people for, I believe its up to you to decide in the end what is best. 





REFERENCES:  


"What Is Atherosclerosis?." - NHLBI, NIH. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2014. <https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/atherosclerosis/>.


Spence, J. David, David J.a. Jenkins, and Jean Davignon. "Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque." Atherosclerosis224.2 (2012): 469-473. Print.


Fernandez ML. Effects of eggs on plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Food Funct. 2010 Nov;1(2):156-60. doi: 10.1039/c0fo00088d. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


"FSIS." Meat and Poultry Labeling Terms. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. <http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms/!ut/p/a1/jZLRboIwFEC_Bt-gRZzTJWYhJEbdxBGzibwsBQp0A9q0ReK-fpRFo0aHENL23nNDe25BAHwQlGhHUiQJLVGu1sHwE3pwaI4duFiNzSmcux_e6sVx4Gj90ADbfwDXurP-xmPDrvrFHT_o86WzTEHAkMx0UiYU-CmWOipFjbkAfkJprAuUYLnXExRJXWQYy0MiRyHOSZkCv8BIVcU6o1Uu-f6Y0iXmhegGNiA43y40m3fuWuvBbOFacDW4BK74_ANuC2uMpDkN2-Zt7TK0Rs3ROU4wx9yoeBPOpGRPGtRgYTTHxSGl30ZECw3mBsvYczVRgGZatmb2p-qr69pIBBFGJWJkpHTXBplQA6NcolzNFKFGSRmJ2tmpWBxXUXurVOJE_yV30oBj6qBRBToc34H0solne7NHsou_emJi9q6JyqiQTUPPBAFWvPs_r_YMkrdiMxL2L0KHc4E!/#4>.


"Sky News Exposes Egg Firm's Hen Mistreatment." Sky News. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. <http://news.sky.com/story/811516/sky-news-exposes-egg-firms-hen-mistreatment>.

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