There's the cage issue and now this:
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."[More]Now throw into the mix news that long-range studies are sifting out some myths about cholesterol in general. For example, maybe there is no such thing as "good" cholesterol.
Cholesterol in the blood is carried by particles called lipoproteins, which come in different sizes and densities, according to the researchers. There is a well-established connection between elevated LDL levels and heart attack, and decades of research - including genetic studies similar to the new study - paved the way for the development of lipid-lowering drugs known as statins.
But research has been less clear on HDL, since a study more than 30 years ago found the higher levels of HDL a person had, the least likely they were to have a heart attack. Mouse studies since then have reported similar findings, but researchers haven't been able to prove the link conclusively. The new study may provide the clearest evidence yet of the role HDL plays, the researchers said.
"Through our research, we have found that all roads that raise HDL do not always lead to the promise land of reduced risk of heart attack," said study co-author Dr. Benjamin F. Voight, an assistant professor of pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a university written statement. [More]
Even more alarming (to Big Pharma) is the heretical idea that statins aren't the panacea.
Statins such as Lipitor and Crestor are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Their effectiveness in lowering LDL cholesterol has been firmly established; however, the overall impact upon the health of those using statins is questionable. Serious side effects such as liver damage, cataracts, muscle pain and renal failure have been known for some time, but thought to be rare; however recent evaluation of statin use outcomes reveals that the risks may in fact outweigh the benefits. Is the practice of prescribing statins as a preventative measure for individuals with borderline LDL likely to cause more harm than good? Perhaps, exercise, good diet and plant sterol supplements should be the vigorously endorsed as the frontline treatment, prior to any consideration of statin therapy. [More]
The egg yolk study strikes me as a little narrow and solitary in the research literature, but it was large enough to be respected. After having outlived a mound of bad press a few years ago, this cannot be helpful to the egg industry. If egg producers are infighting over cages, they may miss this health broadside that could really lose them some market share.