A new study is claiming that eating eggs is more deadly than smoking cigarettes. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. Eggs are a healthy, nutritious food that should not be equated with the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
In the study, the adult participants completed questionnaires about their lifestyle, including how many years they have been smoking packs of cigarettes, the number of egg yolks consumed per week, and the number of years spent eating egg yolks.
The study found that carotid plaque buildup correlates with years spent smoking and years spent consuming egg yolks. The researchers concluded that those at risk for cardiovascular disease should avoid egg yolks.
However, this study’s conclusion cannot be taken seriously considering the limitations of a single piece of research. Also, the research contains missing data – an issue very common in food-based scientific studies.
The Missing Data
For the readers who are unsure of what carotid plaque buildup is, plaque is a sticky substance found within the blood vessels. It is comprised of the fat, calcium, and cholesterol that run through the bloodstream and stick to the blood vessel walls, creating narrower passageways that can lead to heart disease and other health issues.
The study maintains that eggs are to blame for increased plaque buildup within the blood vessels. However, the study cannot make such an intense claim because it fails to control for confounding, outside variables that could affect plaque levels. For example, the participants’ exercise habits, waist circumference, and intake of saturated fat, alcohol, and foods commonly eaten with eggs.
If the participants do not exercise, have an unhealthy waist circumference, and consume a diet high in saturated fat and alcohol, they may already be at a higher risk for plaque buildup in the arteries, and therefore, be at risk for cardiovascular disease. Without controlling for these variables, the study loses its internal validity and cannot be considered legitimate or compelling.
Maintaining a healthy exercise routine has been shown to reduce and prevent plaque buildup by helping to improve cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. A waist circumference above 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women, along with a diet high in saturated fat and alcohol increases chances of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Also, many of the foods commonly eaten with eggs, such as sausage, butter, and bacon, are high in the unhealthy fats that contribute to plaque buildup.
Rather than control for these variables, the researchers only took egg yolk consumption into consideration. Therefore, their statement that eating eggs is as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than cigarette smoking is ludicrous.
What’s interesting is that because this study is making such an absurd claim, it should not even resonate with the media. That is, unless, the tobacco industry is behind the research. Just some food for thought – no pun intended!
The bottom line is that egg consumption cannot be seriously compared to cigarette smoking – eggs can be a part of a healthy lifestyle by contributing to a nutritious, healthy diet.
5 Quick Health Facts About Eggs:
- Rich in nutrients and low in cost
- Contains high quality protein
- Over 110 mg of Choline per egg (a B-Vitamin lacking in common diet)
- Approximately 25 mcg of naturally occurring Iodine per egg
- Rich in Selenium (essential for the thyroid gland)