Fowl play

Here we go again.

Just when I thought the Great Egg Debate had ended for good, another half-baked study shows up to stir the pot one more time.

This one comes from Canada’s Western University. Researchers measured plaque build-up in the carotid arteries of 1,231 men and women, averaging age 62. Each subject filled out a lifestyle questionnaire. The questionnaire included information on medication use, cigarette smoking, and yes, egg yolk consumption, among other things.

Results showed that subjects who said they ate the most eggs (three or more yolks every week) suffered from significantly higher levels of arterial plaque build-up. Enough, in fact, that the study’s authors compared the effects of egg consumption to those of heavy cigarette smoking.

Needless to say, I call foul. Big time.

First of all, there’s the obvious problem with giving that much weight to a patient’s memory of what he or she ate for breakfast the week before. Since when does the fact that some of these subjects may have eaten three or more egg yolks in a single week prove that omelets cause heart disease?


But the even bigger misstep these researchers took is to completely ignore other dietary factors when drawing their (obviously premature) conclusion. Important factors like, say, sugar consumption.

That’s right. The authors fingered natural, unprocessed, nutrient-packed egg yolks as the culprit behind carotid artery disease–without even accounting for the presence of high fructose corn syrup behind the scenes. Even though research has already exposed this “frankensugar” as a major contributing factor to skyrocketing diabetes, heart disease, and obesity rates.

I have two words for you: JUNK SCIENCE.

This fixation on cholesterol has got to stop. It’s paving the way to all kinds of painfully misguided dietary decisions. And it’s not making anyone healthier. Quite the opposite, in fact–it’s the main platform of one of the deadliest misinformation campaigns around.

So let me say this again: Eggs do not cause heart disease. But sugar, processed food, and plain old laziness? They can and do kill. And that’s the real scary truth.

“Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque,” Atherosclerosis 2012; August 10 (epub ahead of print)