Cracking Up: Debunking the “Eggs as Bad as Cigarettes” Myth
Remember the ‘70s when doctors equated eggs with cholesterol and heart disease? A recent Canadian study involving over 1,200 adults published in the peer-reviewed journal Atherosclerosis says that eating eggs yolks is about as bad as smoking cigarettes when it comes to advancing coronary heart disease. We’re already seeing cracks in the theory.
In the study, researchers recorded the number of eggs eaten and packs of cigarettes smoked as recalled by each adult (average age 62). Everyone in the study had been referred to a vascular prevention clinic at a Canadian hospital, meaning their heart health (and the habits that led them there) was already in question. The researchers found that, as expected, plaque build-up in their subjects’ carotid artery thickened with age, and even correlated with smoking and egg-eating habits.
The UK’s National Health Service points out some of the study’s limitations, including:
- The accuracy of the participants’ recollections of egg yolk consumption.
- A lack of details regarding how the eggs were cooked (or not).
- Disregard for other factors of heart disease advancement, including but not limited to exercise, alcohol consumption, antidepressant use (antidepressants have been shown to cause arteries to thicken 400% faster than aging,) and other important dietary factors.
Neither the study in question nor the NHS takes into consideration, however:
- The harmful effects of the chemicals and hormones found in non-organic eggs.
- The effects on the human body from eating eggs from chicken given GMO feed.
- The living condition of the chickens.
Non-organic eggs can contain the same antibiotics, chemicals, and hormones administered to conventional chickens. Add GMO feed, polluted water, and unsanitary living conditions to these chickens, and you may have eggs that are little more than hard-shelled pellets of poison.
Organic eggs from healthy chickens on GMO-free feed have actually shown in many studies to prevent heart disease. They contain healthful amounts of protein, vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, and many nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which reduce risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a major cause of blindness.
The key? Moderation, as with most things, and buying organic eggs from local farmers who can raise their chickens in truly cage-free conditions. Happy, healthy chickens produce more healthful eggs.