My research shows that there are two different camps when it comes to evaluating the effects of egg yolks on heart disease.
One of the major protagonists of the camp who claim that egg yolks are not harmful is Maria Fernandes who hails from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut. She points out that when it comes to responding to dietary cholesterol, and egg yolks do contain almost 300mg of cholesterol, 75% of people are hypo-responders. In other words dietary cholesterol, such as that found in egg yolks will not alter their cholesterol levels. However 25% are hyper-responders and do experience changes in their cholesterol when consuming this substance. That being said her research indicates that when eggs including the yolks are consumed, HDL, the so-called good cholesterol increases along with LDL, the potentially harmful cholesterol, so that the ultimate result is a lack of evidence of an increased risk of heart disease, with the verdict according to her, tipping in favour of an actual benefit.
The other point of view is proposed by David Spence who is located at the University of Ontario in Canada and his research shows just the opposite. Spence points out that the feeding of egg yolks induces inflammation which is one of the promoters of heart disease and also disturbs the lining of blood vessels, another trigger for heart disease. That egg yolks induce inflammation is also more pronounced in lean individuals, according to the research he cites. Spence also points out that in one of the long term studies which looked at the potential benefit or harm of egg consumption, those participants who became diabetic during the course of the study experienced a marked increase in heart disease risk. In fact there was a doubling of cardiovascular disease in men who became diabetic and more importantly a significant increase in new-onset diabetes with regular egg consumption.
Spence also indicates that the long-term study shows that regular egg consumption lead to an increase in mortality from all causes with two recent studies pointing to an increase in new-onset diabetes with regular egg consumption.
Spence points out that we often consume cholesterol in oxidised form, for example when we eat fried eggs. But any cholesterol when heated becomes oxidised and this even applies to poached eggs. What oxidised cholesterol does is stimulate the blockage of blood vessels.
Based on his research Spence warns against the indiscriminate consumption of cholesterol in eggs yolks and he would claim that all those who promote the benefit of eggs would be ignorant of the scientific evidence that he presents.
Because I am a vegetarian and an egg eater my response to Spence's work is to cut back my egg consumption and to take an antioxidant supplement with egg consumption.
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