The egg industry is in a huff after a recent study, conducted by researchers at Western, indicated egg yolks have health detriments comparable to smoking regularly.
John David Spence, a researcher who conducted the experiment, was adamant about the dangers of regular egg yolk consumption.
“We’ve known for 50 years that dietary cholesterol is bad for you,” Spence said. “Two eggs have more than four days worth of cholesterol.”
It is this cholesterol that can lead to health issues, such as heart disease and strokes.
“[Arterial] plaque builds up faster in smokers and egg-yolk eaters,” he asserted. “If you want to live to be 80, why would you eat them?”
However, the egg industry has been quick to argue against Spence’s evaluation.
“I don’t think it’s fair to compare egg yolks to smoking,” Karen Harvey, nutrition officer for Egg Farmers of Canada, commented. “There’s been a lot of scientific research done that shows yolks are not associated with heart disease and stroke.”
Harvey also noted, cholesterol aside, yolks have other health benefits that further prevent them from being comparable to dangerous activities like smoking.
While Harvey admitted to being surprised by the results, she contested they were far from absolute.
“When you’re considering scientific findings, it’s important to look at a variety of sources,” she explained. “This is just one study.”
Despite this, Spence adamantly defends the results of the study, even going so far as to claim the egg industry uses misinformation to beguile consumers.
“The egg market has been so successful with propaganda, which is all based on half-truths,” Spence explained. “They’re akin to the tobacco industry.”
Findings, such as those from Spence’s study, may have a large impact on the food industry—and on consumers.
“I think that after results like those from the study, consumers will start to wonder,” Joy Shinn, executive director of FOODTECH Canada, said. “The food industry is very consumer-receptive.”
However, Shinn also noted the importance of careful review and patience to ensure accurate results.
Despite the negative consequences the study’s findings could have for the egg market, Spence was quick to assure eggs were not all bad, and he had no intentions of hurting the egg business.
“I’m not trying to put egg marketers out of business,” Spence explained. “Egg whites are fine, they’re a good source of protein.”