Are eggs the cigarettes of the breakfast-food world? Almost, says one Canadian researcher. Dr. David Spence, a professor at Western University in Ontario, Canada, surveyed more than 1,200 people and found that regular egg yolk consumption is approximately two-thirds as bad as smoking in regards to the build up of carotid plaque, which is a risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. The mean age of participants in the study was around 62. Spence found that while plaque build up typically increases linearly after the age of 40, it increased exponentially when respondents either smoked or ate egg yolks regularly. This research directly contradicts the popular idea that moderate egg consumption has not been shown to contribute to heart disease. “The mantra ‘eggs can be part of a healthy diet for healthy people’ has confused the issue," Spence says. He maintains that the plaque build up caused by egg yolk consumption is “independent of sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index and diabetes.” His findings were published in the journal Artherosclerosis.