Egg Resources for Health Professionals

ENC serves as a resource for health professionals in need of current nutrition information to share with their patients.

Below are various tools available for professional education and/or to be shared with consumers.

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Mythbusters: The Truth About Eggs

Wouldn’t it be fun to do the TV show Mythbusters but focused on Nutrition??

A recent “Eat this Not That” posting from Men’s Health looked at the Egg/Cholesterol myth. Kudos to them for busting the myth (you cannot eat eggs because of the cholesterol). As we say “An Egg a Day is OK!!” There are a multitude of studies showing this same message, but unfortunately consumers and even health professionals are still hesitant to eat eggs. So here’s to hoping these mythbusting messages continue to spread!

Here is an example of a study showing this message:

A study published in Medical Science Monitor including 9,500 people demonstrates that eating one or two eggs a day does not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke among healthy adults. The study notes that eating eggs may actually be associated with a decrease in blood pressure. Qureshi A, et al. “Regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke or cardiovascular diseases. Medical Science Monitor. 2007; 13(1):CR1-8.”

Another parallel message to think about is the additional benefits an egg can offer. In the article they also mention weight management. Satiety/weight management is an area that is being actively researched. Other benefits from the varying 13 essential vitamins and minerals include muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function and more.

Check out the information on “An Egg A Day” to share with patients and fellow health professionals. Also, we will be launching a new cholesterol specific section on our website in the future, so check back.

A new look at middle aged weight gain

Books about middle age weight gain or abdominal fat accumulation, as it’s known in professional circles, are flying off the shelves as a record number of the US population enters their golden years. This generation, brought up on the fat phobic diet that made fat intake of any kind an inexcusable excess, is now seeing the result of this mistaken dietary guidance. By avoiding the demonized macronutrient (fat) in an effort to avoid heart disease in later life, today’s baby boomers may have set themselves up for sarcopenia or age related muscle loss and the dangerous abdominal fat accumulation, a contributor to heart disease. How is this possible? The answer lies in the unintended consequence of reducing protein intake while avoiding fat.

During the years 1970-2000, Americans were advised to lower their fat intake which resulted in reducing intake of foods high in protein like beef, pork, eggs, milk and butter. The assumption had been and still remains, that Americans consume a surplus of protein and protein recommendation need only keep Americans from negative protein balance. Optimal protein intake for supporting health was not a goal. However, recent research is beginning to accumulate which indicates a role of protein, in particular the level of specific branch chain amino acids (BCAA) in proteins, that is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity and overweight in middle age adults.

A recent study published in Journal Nutrition1, looked at the association between BCAA intake and the risk of overweight/obesity status in a cohort of 4429 Asian and Western adults. The study was a part of a larger International Study of Macro-/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure Study (INTERMAP) which did not include any intervention in the methodology other than recording dietary recall and 24 hr. urinary measurement. Results confirm the hypothesis that across an international population, dietary intake of branch chain amino acid intake was inversely associated with prevalence of overweight status amongst healthy middle age adults and with the prevalence of obesity in Western adults. These results confirm earlier animal studies that have found higher leucine intake (BCAA) associated with lower body weight and fat mass gain.

1 Qin, LQ et al. J. Nutr. 141:249-254, 2011

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2011. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

Tricking the Body-Against Peanut and Egg Proteins Allergens

Researchers in a new preclinical study for Northwestern Medicine have tricked the immune system. They have figured out how to turn off a life threatening allergic response to peanuts (nut proteins). The investigators used mice (that were bred to mimic one with severe food allergies) and attached peanut proteins to leucocytes and reintroduced them into the mice’s bodies. What happened next? The mice ingested a peanut extract and did not have an allergic reaction.

In a second phase of the study, the researchers successfully desensitized mice to egg proteins. The Northwestern researchers used the same tactic with an egg protein. They attached the proteins to white blood cells and infused the cells back into the mice. The mice then inhaled the asthma-provoking egg protein and their lungs did not become inflamed. Dr. Paul J. Bryce, Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine,noted that it appears that this approach can be used to target multiple food allergies at one time.

Each year there are between 15,000 and 30,000 episodes of food-induced anaphylaxis and 100 to 200 related deaths in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. This study may be the link regulating allergic diseases. To quote Dr. Stephen D Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor at the Feinberg School: “This is an exciting new way in which we can regulate specific allergic diseases and may eventually be used in a clinical setting for patients.”

If this were successful in clinical settings, what would it look like? People with food allergies would not have to worry everyday about coming in contact with the allergen causing food. Also, it would mean that people would be able to enjoy the “allergen causing foods” without risk!

The “Most Important Meal of the Day” is NOT so Important to Some Consumers

A recent NPD Morning MealScape 2011 study discussed that 31 million Americans still skip breakfast. This is a huge opportunity for health professionals. The public has heard (us) and the media talk about the benefits of breakfast, but this has not motivated much change in consumption. What can we do differently to help facilitate change? One approach that I have seen incorporated in other behavior change models is to discuss the risks of not eating breakfast. Example: Children who do not eat breakfast may perform worse in school or people who do not eat breakfast consumer MORE calories throughout the day. Would this make an impact?

Among children, the incidence of skipping increases as children age with 13-to-17-year-olds having the highest incidence (14 %) of skipping breakfast. I again think it is like any other habit-breakfast should become part of a lifestyle. I feel strongly that it starts with parents showing a child at a young age that breakfast is important for the whole family. Perhaps everyone cannot sit together at breakfast, but focusing one everyone eating breakfast to start their day is important.

Of reasons not to eat breakfast “not being hungry” is one that the participants reported. It would really be interesting to see how much and how late these individuals consumed other meals. Also if you incorporate breakfast as a habit it would become second nature to eat the morning. I personally have to eat soon after I wake up or I am not a happy camper. Another reason is the “time” aspect and I would challenge those people to find 3 minutes to make a microwave coffee cup scramble.

The study also discusses that 3/4 of the people eating breakfast are doing it at home, but the others are eating away from home. The quick service restaurants could build on the groups eating away from home as well as sparking interest in those not eating breakfast at all. Why not offer an egg sandwich on a whole wheat bread/bun with a side of fruit instead of a hash brown? Perhaps breakfast skippers that feel they feel they do not have time at home, might consider this option if it were a healthier one? However on the other hand, I must say that those who eat on the run because they feel it takes too much time should consider how much time is spent at the drive-thru (bet it is about the same or more than the 3 minutes to make scrambled eggs). Of course perception is everything.

So what can we do to continue to promote breakfast consumption? Easy healthy recipes? Showing the time factor can be met? Focusing on the risks? Continuing to promote it as the “most important meal of the day” and hoping it takes hold?

Here is a breakdown of the adults in the study-as you can see males skip more often.
Percent of Adults, By Gender, Who Skip Breakfast * percent of individuals who are up, but don’t eat or drink anything in the morning prior to 11 am
Males Females
18-34 years old 28% 18%
35-54 years old 18% 13%
55+ years old 11% 10%
Source: The NPD Group/Morning MealScape 2011

American Dietetic Association’s Food Nutrition and Exhibition Conference 2011

Marcia and I hold this conference and exhibit close to our hearts since the health professionals we educate are also our peers. Once again our booth and materials were well received. The attendees also already actively use our website for our materials. This show we also tried something new. We had a video set up in our booth showing our research videos, egg production video and our recent webinar. This gave the booth an even more “techy” look as well as highlighting some of the great work we do. Over 350 attendees completed the survey and signed up for our newsletter. Many attendees asked about our research including cholesterol and choline. We also reviewed other research projects that we were working on. Overall, I think it was a successful conference.