If I were to say "_______ and eggs" to you (and in fact, I just did), what's the first thing that comes to your mind to fill in the blank?
I suppose you might come up with "heart disease," but I doubt it. I bet you will be in the overwhelming majority if you go with "bacon." If the eggs happened to be green, I suspect an even more overwhelming majority would settle on "ham." Please hold that thought, as I attempt to unscramble the latest research about eggs and health.
The study most recently in the headlines -- just published in the journal Atherosclerosis -- suggests not only that egg ingestion increases the risk of heart disease, but also that the association is as strong as that for cigarettes. I don't believe either is true.
The authors came up with the term "egg-yolk-years" as an analogue to "pack-years" of smoking, each representing the frequency of exposure multiplied by duration. They measured the volume of atherosclerosis in the arteries of patients attending the vascular clinics of University Hospital in Ontario, Canada, and asked them about lifestyle practices -- including such things as smoking and egg ingestion. Finding that the people with more plaque in their arteries reported eating more eggs, they reported that egg-yolk-years were a significant predictor of heart disease and that "regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease."
If you have been paying attention to research about eggs and dietary cholesterol over time, this report likely confused and frustrated you. You doubtless know that for years dietary cholesterol in general, and eggs in particular, were lumped in with sources of harmful fats as contributors to heart disease risk, to be avoided by those concerned for the health of their hearts. But subsequent research, much of it conducted and published over the past decade or so, focused on unbundling the effects of trans fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol. And when this was done, adverse effects of dietary cholesterol all but disappeared.