Missourians React: Egg Yolks are as Harmful as Smoking

5 years 9 months 3 weeks ago Saturday, August 25 2012 Aug 25, 2012 Saturday, August 25, 2012 11:08:00 AM CDT August 25, 2012 in News
By: Zheng Hwuang Chia

COLUMBIA - Sunny side-up or scrambled? How about no eggs at all? One Canadian researcher said your heart is not a big fan of egg yolks, especially when you eat them regularly, because egg yolks are about two-thirds as bad as smoking.

1,200 men and women patients, with a mean age of 61.5 were surveyed at a vascular prevention clinic at the London Health Sciences Center. The researcher, Dr. J. David Spence, a professor of neurology at Western University in Canada found regular egg yolks consumption increases build-up of carotid plaque, a risk factor for stroke and heart attack.

KOMU 8 got some locals cracking their thoughts on this study.

Kay Henderson, 65, has spent most of her life dancing professionally and teaching others how to dance. Henderson, former dance director at Stephens College, said eggs have always been a big part of her diet when she was dancing.

"Eggs are healthy, I am always told that," Henderson said.

Henderson said these days, she only has eggs with Canadian bacon on the weekends because of her work schedule.

"I'll have to read up more, but [the study] didn't make sense," said Henderson and remarked that she is a believer of the Greek proverb that says ‘nothing in excess.'

Jessica Myers, a Hy-Vee dietitian and a University of Missouri's Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology graduate, said a single egg yolk, at 200 mg, has two thirds of the recommended daily cholesterol intake for regular individuals without any heart complications.

"But for those who are 40 and over with cardiovascular disease, I would only do three or four yolks a week," said Myers.

Myers said those surveyed in the research are all over the age of 40 and can't be applied to everyone in the population. She said a yolk a day would not be an issue for most people.

However, the researcher of this study, Dr. Spence would disagree with Myers' statement.

"The mantra ‘eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people' has confused the issue," Spence said in a press release from the Western University. "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."

Spence also said an egg a day increases coronary risk for a person with diabetics by two to five-fold.

Lucy's Café manager, Lisa Berry said the local breakfast joint serves about a hundred eggs per days.
Berry said more and more customers are asking for egg whites instead of regular eggs. But she is confident that nothing will stop her customers from having eggs.

"People will always want their eggs, and it doesn't matter what the study says," Berry said. "I don't think they'll (customers) will ever stop eating eggs. Period."

Trey Quinlan, a customer at Lucy's Café, who is also a chef, said he loves eating and working with eggs.

"Eggs are so universal," said Trey Quinlan. "I love doing everything with them. Baking, cooking, simple frying, poaching, omelets, scrambled eggs.."

Quinlan said he is skeptical about the study but said, "If anything, I will just kind of adjust my activity level to balance out the higher cholesterol intake."

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute said lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for heart disease.

The researcher, Spence said more research should be done to take in other factors such as exercise and waist circumference but stresses that those at risk of cardiovascular disease should avoid consuming egg yolks at all costs.

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