by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Dr. David Spence is not a fan of the egg yolk.
In 2010, the professor of neurology at the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and the director of the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre at the Roberts Research Institute, noted in a Globe and Mail article that an egg yolk contains more cholesterol than a fat-laden KFC Double Down sandwich. His latest research rates egg yolk consumption and cigarette smoking at clogging arteries.
The study, published Monday in the international journal Atherosclerosis, showed an increase in plaque buildup for people after age 40. However, there was an exponential rise for smokers and regular egg-yolk eaters. The buildup rate for egg-yolk eaters was two-thirds the rate for people who are smokers.
Researchers used ultrasound to measure plaque buildup on the arterial walls of 1,231 patients attending vascular prevention clinics at London Health Sciences Centre's University Hospital. The average age of those studied was 61.5 years.
While comparing egg yolk consumption and cigarette smoking has garnered wide media attention, it does not change the view of Egg Farmers of Canada that eggs should be part of a healthy diet.
Karen Harvey, a registered dietitian and the nutrition officer for Egg Farmers, says the smoking/egg-yolk comparison “is not a valid one. Smoking is widely considered one of the most harmful activities when it comes to personal health and wellness. We know that eggs are one of nature’s most nutritious foods.”
Harvey says Egg Farmers will continue to reference Harvard University studies which found no connection between heart disease and egg consumption. “They looked at those who consume one egg or less per week versus those who were eating seven or more eggs a week and they found there was no difference in their risk for heart disease or stroke.”
The 2011 Egg Farmers of Canada annual report, delivered in March of this year, noted that retail sales of eggs in Canada increased by 1.7 per cent in 2011, despite a jump in egg prices to an average of $2.85 per dozen. The report also noted that just 38 per cent of physicians are telling patients to limit egg consumption, down from 65 per cent who were giving that advice in 2007.
Spence, who did not respond immediately to an email request for an interview with Better Farming, said in a CBC news report that cholesterol found in the yolk is responsible for heart disease. There is as much as 237 mgs of cholesterol in a jumbo egg.
“It’s more than the cholesterol in a Hardee’s Monster Thick burger,” Spence told the CBC. While Canada's food guide lists two eggs as an alternative serving to meat, Spence told CBC that would be well over anyone's recommended daily intake of cholesterol which is often set at 200 mgs per day. BF