Absurd New Study Claims Eating Egg Yolks Is “Nearly as Dangerous as Smoking Cigarettes”

eggIt’s junk science, of course—a profoundly flawed study from scientists with ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

The methodology for a new study, “Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque,” published last week in Atherosclerosis Journal, appears to consist of a single questionnaire asking people about “their lifestyle and medications, including pack-years of smoking, and the number of egg yolks consumed per week times the number of years consumed (egg-yolk years).” A methodology that is dependent on participant recollection, accuracy, and honesty is the very definition of unreliable, as paleolithic health guru Mark Sisson points out. Moreover, since it’s a single datapoint, no causality can be ascribed.
The authors of the study admitted to conflicts of interest when they did a similar study two years ago: one received honoraria and speaker’s fees from several pharmaceutical companies manufacturing lipid-lowering drugs, while the other received support from Pfizer for an annual atherosclerosis symposium and his research was funded in part by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Merck.
See how this works? Big Pharma has a vested interest in selling drugs to lower cholesterol. Big Pharma funds research that says our favorite breakfast food causes high cholesterol (which is not true). The idea is to give people with a false choice: change a lifelong dietary habit, or pop a pill. Big Pharma thinks they know which choice most people will make.
The authors found that “carotid plaque area increased linearly with age after age 40, but increased exponentially with pack-years of smoking and with egg-yolk years.” This led them to form a hypothesis—that egg yolks may cause plaque in much the way cigarette smoking does—and that regular consumption of egg yolks should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease. They then say more study is warranted.
The media, of course, did not look closely as this nonsense. A typical treatment is found in the Los Angeles Times, which turned the hypothesis into a fact: that egg yolk consumption accelerates the thickening of arteries almost as severely as does cigarette smoking. Period. Not just for people at risk of cardiovascular disease; gone is the presentation of findings as the basis of a hypothesis that merits further and more careful study.
At ANH-USA, we always try to underscore the importance of consuming whole, unprocessed foods to promote health. This means whole eggs, yolks and all. Yolks are nutritionally superior to whites on nearly all measures. They’re especially important as a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids; they also contain cholesterol and saturated fat, which are in fact critical nutrients despite being demonized by mainstream “experts”: cholesterol helps build new muscle and protects against heart attack, not to mention cancer, while saturated fats enhance the immune system, and protects the liver from alcohol and other toxins, among many other important functions.
Egg yolks also contain choline, a B vitamin that is especially important for cell membrane health, for the coating of nerves to promote faster and better communication, and for preventing build-up of the toxic compound homocysteine in the blood. Choline can also help reduce chronic inflammation. The most choline-rich vegetables pack about half the choline per serving as eggs.
When in doubt, remember that our bodies have adapted over thousands of years to know what to do with whole, unprocessed foods. It is a basic tenet of natural health that whole foods are better tolerated by the body than processed foods—and that means eating whole eggs, preferably from pastured, cage-free chickens fed a species-appropriate diet of green plants and insects, and no corn feed, most of which is now genetically engineered!


  1. When I first saw this story I assumed that the study used eggs from factory farms.
    I would like to see a study done with quality organic cage free farms.

  2. Why would I want to eat the products of chicken menstruation. This study is maybe flawed but it doesn’t change the fact that animal products are unhealthy and responsible for heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, etc… Telling people that eggs (yolk or not) are healthy is total disinformation as well.

  3. So glad to hear it. I eat two jumbo organic eggs most mornings. I caught a fragment of this report in the media. “Oh no,” I thought, what am I going to eat now? Though I had an idea that it was possibly exagerated or distorted. Thanks for the confirmation.

  4. This study “proves” nothing. There are way too many factors causing artery plaque, to blame it solely on egg yolks. My dad ate 2 eggs or more per day for almost his entire life, and smoked cigarettes (up to 4 packs/day) for 68 years. He died at age 86.
    Let’s give an example of just one factor. Hypothyroidism (sub-normal metabolism) is well known to contribute to plaque formation. Did the researchers evaluate thyroid function in every subject in their study? Probably not! And, there are plenty of other examples like this.

  5. Unless you are eating organic eggs it probably is true. Heaven knows what they feed the non organic chickens that gets into the yolk.

  6. good article. Know so many people that only eat egg whites because they have read all this nonesense about the yolk. I even know one person says she is allergic to the yolks, yet bakes with them! One nutrional doctor who is also a MD, a Cardiologists says he eats 3 whole organic eggs daily, but that others should eat 2 whole organic preferred eggs daily. I eat whole eggs at least 3 times a week, often more. PLUS I sometimes make egg/vege tortillas or omlettes for dinner at times. I am 72 yr old senior and definately not close to dying from eating as well as possible.
    Do my best to stay away from processed foods, which is quite difficult at times, but I try.

  7. With regards to eggs it is important to know that OXIDIZED cholesterol can cause problems.
    Solution: continue to eat the super nutritious egg but make sure the yokes are SOFT or better still eat your organic eggs RAW.

  8. I agree that eggs are a good whole-food source of perfect protein and choline, and wonder if it wasn’t the bacon and sausage served with the eggs that did the damage while the eggs were unfairly accused.
    A little feedback however…I do NOT think the study is necessarily biased because the physicians have ties with the pharmaceutical industry. More likely it’s just short-sighted and overly simplistic in its design. I have personally been a speaker for Pfizer Diabetes Care and it did not turn me into a biased, brainless, unscientific robot who recommends drugs to everyone. This kind of comment makes you sound paranoid and like a conspiracy-theorist…which takes away from your credible important message. IMHO

  9. I’m 63. My normal breakfast includes three eggs.My blood pressure is good;my cholesterol is good. I haven,t taken a perscription pill in at least 14 years.I donate blood five or six times a year.My vision is better than twenty years ago when I cut back on eggs because of the cholesterol scare.

  10. As an amateur competitive bodybuilder, I have eaten AT LEAST three dozen eggs a day for many years now, in lieu of commercially available protein powders. They are boiled, several dozen at a time, and kept refrigerated for convenience. The only deviation from this schedule might be during the times I’m away from home on holiday. I continue to enjoy robust health, my checkups and bloodwork are always spot on, and my lipid profile exemplary. My bodyfat never exceeds ten percent, even in the off season.

  11. Didn’t we already learn this isn;t true with the big cholesterol deception.
    My father was told, in the 50s to eat margarine instead of butter for high cholesterol.
    Did nothing about it and died at age 80. Since then it has been found that margarine is bad for you and butter is not. Just follow the money

  12. As a health and lifestyle coach I will always advocate for whole–organic when possible for the individual–food choices to my clients. And that includes WHOLE eggs. It is, and will be for a long time to come, I’m afraid, an ongoing battle against the pharmaceutical and processed food industries to help people understand the truth. Thank you for your vigilance and ongoing work toward better human health.

  13. I have reached the age of 78 and am in perfect health.. I attribute my good health to the fact I take no drugs – prescribed or otherwise – and live by the belief, “If God didn’t make it, don’t eat it.” Have never allowed a butter substitute to pass my front door; eat my eggs almost every day (including the yolks) stay away from white bread and other junk food; although on occasion I may allow myself a sandwich using this bread – for a change and am not going to insult my friends if they offer such an item; it’s especially good for French toast which I indulge in about twice a year.
    I do appreciate your site. Keep up the good work!

  14. The new study, Egg Yolk Consumption and Carotid Plaque, is but one of a string of recent studies conducted by researchers with pharmaceutical sponsorship in the background, and alleged to be skewed against natural medicine and foods, etc and/or in favor of drugs.
    Whatever happened to independent research? Big Pharma conducts an increasing proportion of research into human health or is sponsoring it. Assumptions that science is being conducted in a scientific manner, has been well and truly blown out of the water by Big Pharma’s interests.

  15. Please note that according to the LA Times article (Quote): “The study subjects were typically referred to the clinic after having suffered a clot-induced stroke or a transient ischemic attack — a “mini-stroke” in which symptoms may disappear quickly but which often presage a more serious stroke to come.”
    These people were ALREADY SICK! Plus the study did not look at any other diet or life style factors in these people. Refined carbs and sugar anyone? White toast and fructose- laden jelly with those great eggs, and no or little veggies the rest of the day?
    PLEASE! Give me a break! The late great Adele Davis sites studies way back when that showed that diets high in eggs did not increase cholesterol. (As if cholesterol is any kind of a marker of heart disease anyway. Unless of course it is really elevated due to inflammation.)

  16. I guess if you ate 50 or so eggs a day it might be harmful to you, but these pharm co “studies” — well, really, they want you to believe that everything you eat and drink will somehow result in dire consequences to body, mind and spirit. And all this just to sell you the very latest thing rolling off the production line. I have no argument with prescription medications, but when they are promoted by using various buzz words and scare tactics I do bristle. The nurse in me finds this approach rather disgusting and a rip off.

  17. The study could have been used to discover what is the cause of house fires. Since fire trucks and firemen are at the scene of the vast majority of house fires they would find that fire trucks and the presence of firemen are responsible for the problem. Just another example of the miss-use of modern science.
    Doc Blake

  18. This is a very revealing article of how the pharmacuiticle companies combined with the media’s desire for sensarionalised stories manage to fool the public into beliving absoute lies about a certain nutritional item. This is really a very diaturbing revelation about what goes on and how easily such lies can become “common knowledge” to public understanding, because it was published in the newspaper.
    Thank you to Natural Health for going some way to setting the record straight.

  19. We’ve got 6 red headed breakfast machines out back who keep the snakes in check and prefer grass over their organic mix. I’m thinking they have more sense than a whole lot of pharma-backed researchers.

  20. We must really have the allopathic community and the pharmaceutical companies running and looking for anything they can possibly think of to keep their heads above water and the money pouring in. I believe enough people are waking up to the dangers of our so-called Western Medicine that more people are eating healthier, taking good-quality supplements, and visiting alternative medicine. The insurance companies can’t support Obama’s healthcare reform (read: can’t make a lot of money) if people keep getting healthy! We need to be sick! And they’ll use every trick they can possibly think of to feed off people’s fears and uncertainties.
    Eggs are good for you. Eggs from farmers who are concerned about good food and healthy meat and who give their chickens lots of outdoor space and good, wholesome food are some of the best eggs you can possibly eat. While I personally don’t think egg yolks have a whole lot to do with the whole “cholesterol” thing the pharma companies have going, I personally do limit how many I eat. If I eat a hardboiled egg, I don’t eat the yolk. But when I make an egg salad sandwich (at least once or twice a week), I keep one yolk for every two eggs. It’s my own philosophy on what I want to eat. Since I also eat other wholesome foods that have cholesterol, I try to limit how much cholesterol I take in through diet.
    The pharma companies have really zeroed in on cholesterol, though, and have all the doctors convinced that we’re all going to keel over dead if it goes even a point or two above. I don’t believe that. However, I do believe there are still a lot of people who don’t eat right, don’t eat or live healthy, and don’t want to take that responsiblity for themselves. They’re the ones who want to pop a pill. I look at all of the severe side effects of the cholesterol medications as well as those the body goes through when there’s not enough natural cholesterol made in the body that the body needs to function normally–and I say, bring on the eggs!

  21. How many people have recent pharmaceuticals killed, millions? I was nearly …close
    to death …twice by a drug.

    1. Anne, thanks for reading. You can share our articles using the Share icons at the bottom of the article, just above where you “Leave a Reply.” The first icon allows you to share on Facebook!

      1. egg yolks also contain lecithin a known cholesterol emulsifier. and eating whole organic eggs helps to stabilize glucose and insulin levels in the blood between meals. Once again those with all the money and power in this country will lie to the rest of us just to increase that wealth and power.

  22. Thanks for clarifying this about egg yolks. When I heard mention of last week on TV,
    I groaned. The same thing was broadcast some 30 years ago, as I recall. Then recent
    info is that eggs and yolks are ok and beneficial for you. On again, off again, conflicting
    reports on what’s bad for us, and good for us. I can see what you mean, that if it’s a
    study backed by a pharmaceutical company, it can be suspect.

  23. Thank you ANA-USA for setting this straight. Once again – you can’t trust the mass media.

  24. W–the public and consumers–MUST have the results of “further research.”

  25. As a health care provider, I did not buy into that claim!… Leave it to big pharma in big tobacco to lie to us!

  26. Where did Nicole get her information from?? Eggs are known to be the perfect food. Cholesterol is not all bad, and attempts to bring it down may result in unhealthy LOW levels that are dangerous. The brain needs cholesterol to function and using drugs to lower it is unrealistic, as the brain manufactures its own cholesterol to prevent shortage of this necessary compound.

  27. I started eating 2-3 whole eggs almost every day about a year ago. I also eat many whole foods, avoid wheat (allergy), Diary (allergy) and limit grains to 1 maybe 2 servings per day. Little or no corn, potato or peas. May cholesterol numbers have never been better. I did all of this under the guidance of a Doctor of Natropathic Medicine.
    Whole eggs are good for you. Our bodies need some cholesterol.

  28. If egg yokes are bad for me then I would have much more ill health??? Have consumed many egg yokes since my childhood and do not suffer with high blood pressure, Cholesterol, or a weak heart, as a matter of fact when I don’t have my eggs in the morning My day is not as good!!!

  29. My father has eaten 2 eggs for breakfast every day since childhood and his cholesterol level is around 120. He is now in his 60s and still has good eyesight and almost no grey hair. Also, note that most of those years he ate local farm fresh eggs, not supermarket eggs.

  30. Sorry, but I totally disagree with this article. Yokes for me does not work at all. Many years ago, I did blood testing every 90 days for a year. Eating just 2 eggs a week knocked by bad LDL cholesterol up 30% from where it was. As soon as I switched to the EggBeaters product and ate the same egg dish as before, my LDL went back down to what it was before the 30% increase. Every other day now, I eat an egg dish using EggBeaters(which is just egg whites with seasoning) that does not affect me at all. I guess I am just unlucky compared to most people. In addition, I have to avoid all foods containing saturated fat foods (like regular fatty milk and red meat) or any high cholesterol foods(such as shrimp). Further, I have to take red yeast rice and policosanol to move my LDL down below 100 into the healthy range.

    1. The liver makes most of the cholesterol in your blood, eating cholesterol has little effect. How’s your liver function? Ever had it checked? Did you eat eggs scrambled or in an omelette? When the yolk is exposed to air while cooking it will oxidize and it is the oxidized cholesterol you need to worry about.

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