Is egg yolk bad for your health?

In a recent UK study, researchers found that eating egg yolk is as bad as smoking when it comes to coronary artery disease.

The finding showed that eating egg yolks increases atherosclerosis in a manner similar to smoking cigarettes.

Atherosclerosis, or coronary artery disease, is a disease of the arteries where plaques form on the inner arterial wall. Plaques are aggravated by cholesterol.

Previous research has shown that plaque rupture is the usual cause of heart attacks and strokes.

It is known that egg yolks are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol among all common foods. One large egg has 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in the yolk.

Other foods high in cholesterol include red meat, processed meat and high-fat dairy products like cream.

In the study, the team surveyed more than 1200 patients with a mean age of 61.5.

These people were patients attending vascular prevention clinics at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital.

The researchers used ultrasound to measure the total plaque area in the patients and asked them about their lifestyle and medications.

They focused on the information of the years of smoking and the number of egg yolks consumed per week times the number of years consumed.

The team found regular eating egg yolks is about two-thirds as bad as smoking when it comes to increased build-up of plaque, which is a big risk factor for stroke and heart attack.

The results showed carotid plaque area increased linearly with age after age 40 but increased exponentially with pack-years of smoking and egg yolk-years.

This means compared to age, both smoking and eating egg yolk could accelerate coronary artery disease.

The team also found people who ate three or more yolks a week had much more plaque area than those who ate two or fewer yolks every week.

The effect of eating egg yolk over time on increasing plaque in the arteries was independent of patients’ gender, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, smoking, BMI and diabetes.

The new findings are in line with another recent study, which found eating eggs and other foods high in cholesterol is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause.

The researchers suggest that people with high risks of heart disease should reduce or avoid egg yolk intake.

The finding is published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

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