Egg Yolk Study Questioned, Experts Say Research Was Flawed And May Be Inconclusive

Earlier this week, we learned that egg yolks may be as artery-hardening as smoking, yet another study in the reams of conflicting research painting eggs as either a perfect gift from Mother Nature to humanity or the worst thing to hit breakfast since someone at McDonald’s decided to slap eggs and sausage between two over-sweet griddle cakes.

While egg yolks have long been eschewed by healthy eating types in favor of egg-white omelettes, egg white quiches and plain old egg whites served scrambled, the main beef people have had with yolks was more down to their nutritional profile and not their general impact on cardiovascular health.

The study on egg yolks and hardened arteries was immediately controversial — notables such as Alton Brown, the star of the scientifically-sound Food Network show Good Eats decried the findings as flawed as the research wended its way about the annals of the internet and the food blogging, cooking and admiring world at large.

Here are Brown’s thoughts on the matter, per Twitter:

alton brown egg yolks

But it wasn’t just those who prefer the velvety smoothness of egg yolks to enrich dishes that found the study to not be all it was cracked up to be — ABC quotes one medical expert who attacked the methodology of the research as well as how conclusions were drawn:

“‘This is very poor quality research that should not influence patient’s dietary choices,’ said Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in an email. ‘It is extremely important to understand the differences between ‘association’ and ‘causation’.'”

Critics allege the egg yolks study hinged on unreliable self-reporting for data (meaning participants relied on memory to ascertain their egg yolk consumption), that the way plaque on arteries was measured was potentially faulty, and that overall, the study failed to take into account the different ways cardiovascular health was potentially impacted by eating eggs versus smoking cigarettes.

Another expert said that the study should merely have been treated as a “clue or suggestion” about eggs and cardiovascular health rather than a foregone conclusion.