Fried eggs, scrambled eggs, hard boiled eggs, Egg McMuffins, it doesn’t matter. According to a new study, you might as well be a smoker if you eat eggs. And here we thought they were so incredible and edible.
Published in the journal Atherosclerosis, researchers looked at the 1,231 patients whose average age was 62. The amount of eggs they consumed and cigarettes they smoked were estimated over their lifetime along with the health of their arteries. What they found was a definite correlation between the three.
In fact, eating eggs regularly–specifically the yolks– equated to almost as much plaque in your arteries as a lifetime of heavy smoking. Geez. And we thought hot dogs were the only artery-blocking food that compared to smoking.
Sure, the the link between eggs and cholesterol–and therefore artery disease and heart attacks–is nothing new. We knew these little white or brown protein-packed foods were high in cholesterol. We just didn’t know they were this bad. Now keep in mind, researchers say the damage to our bodies only happens if the eggs are “eaten routinely in large quantities.” It would help if they had been more specific, but we do know that a single large egg contains more than 180 mg of cholesterol–the Mayo Clinic recommends no more than 300 mg a day, or 200 mg if you are at risk for heart disease.
We also know that we Americans love our eggs. Last year, the average American consumed 247 eggs—that’s over 40% more than the world per-capita average, says the study. That’s a ton of these little golden delights on our breakfast plates–not to mention all of the other dishes we consume that contain eggs.
Your best bet? Stick with egg whites. You still get the protein, but without all the cholesterol. Plus, you save calories.
Want to give egg whites a try? Here is a good recipe for an omelette that uses spinach. Yum.