Are Eggs as Bad as Smoking On Arteries?

by Colin Carmichael

Just when I thought the public was starting to turn the corner and stop believing that eggs are bad for us, now comes this…

Yolk-Broken-Eggs_123363-480x360

Study suggests egg yolks nearly as bad as smoking on artery build-up.

A Canadian study is suggesting that eating eggs on a regular basis may be two-thirds as damaging to our arteries as smoking.

Am I ready to start demonizing eggs as bad for our heart health?

Not at all.

There are so many problems with this "study" that I'm almost embarrassed to start listing them.

But just in case the media goes crazy with this … and I see some already have … let's go over just a few of the issues from this research.

The Sample Population

The study consisted of 1,231 consecutive patients visiting vascular prevention clinics at a University Hospital in Canada.

Of note here is that the entire group had pre-existing risk factors for artery and heart disease. It's why the patients were visiting the clinic in the first place!

In fact, many of the patients that came into the clinic had already experienced a transient ischemic attack or clot-induced stroke.

More than a little bias here when you ignore the population at large and are looking at such a specific group of people.

Done as an Observational Study

This was performed as an observational study, not a controlled study … let alone a double-blind controlled study.

Observational studies are not the type of research to do when you want to show a direct causal relationship. At best, all you can do is show factors are correlated and nothing more with this type of study.

What if we discovered that a large percentage of these patients drove a Honda Civic?

Would that somehow prove that owning or driving a Civic caused a higher than expected build-up inside the artery walls of these patients?

Of course not. It only shows that there's a correlation.

But how strong is that correlation?

Most scientists understand that observational studies can only approach substantiating results when done in extremely large numbers. And at only 1,231 patients, that criteria is hardly met here.

Method of Data Accumulation

If you're a stickler for scientific research, this one should make you laugh. (Or cringe.)

The data was accumulated by having the patients fill out a questionnaire regarding their lifestyle. They asked specifically about their smoking and egg eating habits.

The researchers then calculated an "egg-yolk year" based on these responses and used that in their data evaluation.

They calculated an egg-yolk year by taking the number of weekly egg yolks eaten times the number of years consumed.

Two main reasons why data obtained from a questionnaire are so unreliable…

  • How honest is each person with their answer?
  • Even if every person is 100% ethical and not attempting to be dishonest … how accurate is their memory?

I'm someone who's very conscious about what I eat. And I have a really good memory.

But I couldn't give you an accurate number of eggs I ate in the last month, let alone the last several years. Could anybody do that?

What About These Risk Factors?

To their credit, the researchers of the study make it a point to indicate they did not take alcohol consumption or exercise into account for the purposes of this study.

But why not?

And if you're going to focus your hypothesis on eggs, why not gather complimentary data such as … how were the eggs prepared?

Were the eggs consumed raw or fried in artery-clogging margarine? (Yes, I said margarine.)

Assuming most of the eggs were eaten at breakfast, did the meal include known risk factors such as…

  • Bacon or sausage
  • Toast
  • Margarine
  • Juice made from concentrate

Conclusion

I thought most of the egg-bashing was behind us.

Apparently not.

Thankfully, even the researchers of the study point out some of the flaws and close with this…

This hypothesis should be tested in a prospective study with more detailed information about diet, and other possible confounders such as exercise and waist circumference.

But trust me, there will be members of the media who turn this "hypothesis that needs further testing" into scientific fact and actionable advice.

And it's hogwash.

Eggs are a well-balanced food and aren’t just a good source of protein … they're a great source of protein.

This is especially true of natural, organic eggs.

the ladies

The more nutritious eggs come from free-range hens.

By that I mean eggs that come from free-range chickens. Hens not cooped up, but allowed to roam free where they can gather their own preferred food choices naturally.

The preferred food of hens include worms, insects, plants, and seedsnot antibiotic-laced feed designed to grow the chickens as big as possible, as fast as possible.

Would you like a neat way to be able to tell if your eggs come from a more natural environment?

Check the color of the egg yolk.

If it's a dull yellow … well, it's not going to clog your arteries and cause a heart attack like we've been told in the past … but these are less natural.

You want an egg yolk that's closer to a bright orange color. These are coming from healthier hens, providing you with a healthier egg.

Want to see how natural-fed, free-range eggs compare to the mass-produced variety?

  • 200% more heart-friendly Omega-3 fats
  • 700% more Beta Carotene
  • 66% more Vitamin A
  • 300% more Vitamin E

Let me close with this reminder…

There's never been a single valid, unbiased study that shows a cause-effect relationship between eggs and cholesterol, eggs on arterial health, or eggs on heart health.

Not one.

So please don't let these bogus reports scare you away from eating eggs, which are truly a wonderfully nutritious food.

I know I won't.

Source:
> Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque. Atherosclerosis. 2012 Aug


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