Nutrition Science

Nutrition research is the underpinning of our programs and outreach. ENC is dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information on eggs, nutrition and health. Below is a collection of both ENC-funded research and relevant studies.

To learn more about our competitive research program, click here.

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Dietitians and the food industry: an important seat at the table

Featured article in the Spring 2015 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RD, CDE

More than 20 years ago I became a dietitian because I wanted to help people make informed food decisions and avoid being taken advantage of by the media, marketers and fearmongers. That underlying motivation for me is stronger today than ever. As a self-proclaimed “dietitian enthusiast,” my vision is to hear more dietitian voices “out there” so that credible, meaningful nutrition information and advice dominates the conversation–not oversimplified, sensationalized, fear-provoking misinformation from celebrities and other “experts.”

Continue reading “Dietitians and the food industry: an important seat at the table”

Celiac disease in a gluten-free nutshell

Featured article in the Spring 2015 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Kristin D. Maggi, MS, PA-C

Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disorder that has become increasingly more common. It is estimated to occur in one out of every 133 people, which means approximately 2.3 million Americans are afflicted. While a large majority of those with celiac disease are undiagnosed, a growing awareness of the condition within the medical community has led to a greater number of screenings in recent years.  Continue reading “Celiac disease in a gluten-free nutshell”

Providing dietary guidance amidst inevitable change

Featured article in the Spring 2015 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Mitch Kanter, PhD

By now you are well aware that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has concluded its deliberations, and has submitted its recommendations to USDA and HHS regarding the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. A few issues addressed by the Committee that have provoked discussion include sustainability and the significant limits placed on added sugars and saturated fat-containing animal products in the diet.  Continue reading “Providing dietary guidance amidst inevitable change”

High Protein Breakfast Benefits May Depend on Breakfast Habits


Dr. Heather Leidy writes:  If the effects of breakfast last beyond lunch, it may be influenced by not only the composition of breakfast consumed that day, but also usual breakfast habits.

 Does breakfast improve health? To understand this further, our research team at the University of Missouri tested whether high protein breakfast (40% of energy protein, 40% carbohydrate) compared to high carbohydrate breakfast (15% of energy protein, 65% carbohydrate) improved glycemic control after lunch in overweight/obese teen girls. Results were published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Alwattar, 2015).

Improved glucose control after lunch, referred to as the “second meal effect, has been observed in older adults (Jovanovic, 2009a and Jovanovic, 2009b).

However, among teen girls who were habitual breakfast skippers reporting breakfast < 2/week, we observed that blood glucose after lunch was similar, regardless of whether the teens were fed a high protein or a high carbohydrate test breakfast. In other words, type of breakfast did not matter among those who habitually skip breakfast.

Surprisingly, teens breakfast eaters habitually consuming a high carbohydrate breakfast (>80% of energy from carbohydrate) before the study started,

 “exhibited greater reductions in post-lunch glucose following the high protein breakfast compared to the normal protein breakfast.”

Apparently, breakfast skippers respond similarly to lower protein and higher carbohydrate breakfasts. But for those accustomed to eating a high carbohydrate breakfast, switching to higher protein may improve blood glucose response after lunch. Teens habitually consuming higher protein diets were excluded from this study.

It appears that,

“age, habitual breakfast habits, and the size and quantity of the breakfast meal have a significant impact on the second meal phenomenon.”

These findings suggest it wise to consider breakfast habits in research designed to test the health benefits of breakfast.


Reference Citations

Alwattar, AY, JP Thyfault, and HJ Leidy. “The effect of breakfast type and frequency of consumption on glycemic response in overweight/obese late adolescent girls.” E J Clin Nutr 25 February 2015 doi:10.1038/ejcn.2015.12. This study was funded by grants from the American Egg Board.

Jovanovic A, J Gerrard, and R Taylor. “The second-meal phenomenon in type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care. 2009a;32(7):1199-201.

Jovanovic A, E Leverton, B Solanky, B Ravikumar, JE Snaar, PG Morris, et al. “The second meal phenomenon is associated with enhanced muscle glycogen storage in humans.” Clin Sci (Lond). 2009b;117(3):119-27.



Heather Leidy is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri and the principal investigator of this study.



Views expressed by the author may not be those of the Egg Nutrition Center.

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Do Eggs Affect Cardiovascular Risk Factors Among Those With Type 2 Diabetes?


The role of eggs in diets of persons living with type 2 diabetes (T2D) is an area of active debate and may depend on the overall diet pattern.

 An Australian research team (Fuller, 2015) recently evaluated whether people with T2D might benefit from egg consumption citing eggs as,

 “a nutritious and convenient way of improving protein and micronutrient contents of the diet, which have importance for satiety and weight management.”

They randomly assigned 140 adult Australian men and women with pre-diabetes or T2D to one of 2 weight maintenance diets as part of a 3-month study. Both groups were instructed to consume specific types and quantities of food such that they would increase polyunsaturated (PUFA) and monounsaturated (MUFA) fat, in place of saturated fat.

One group was advised to eat 2 eggs/day six days a week (i.e., 12 eggs/wk) and the other was advised to eat less than 2 eggs/week, consuming other sources of lean protein to equilibrate protein between the two groups. Both groups kept their diabetes and cholesterol medications constant, with a few exceptions, throughout the study.

At 3 months, both high and low egg groups significantly reduced saturated fat and increased MUFA and PUFA content of their diets.   The low egg group also increased fiber intake. The high egg group increased both cholesterol and total fat, but decreased carbohydrate intake more than the low egg group. The high egg group achieved a diet containing 11.8 eggs/week on average, while the low egg group ate an average of 1 egg/week.

HDL-cholesterol, the primary outcome of this study, remained unchanged over the three-month diet for both diets relative to baseline. Furthermore, there were no differences between the high egg and low egg groups for HDL-cholesterol or a wide-range of secondary measures, including LDL-cholesterol, total-cholesterol, triglycerides, and others. The only difference noted was lower Hb A1c at 3 months versus baseline among the low egg group (p<0.05).

Participants were asked a wide range of questions about acceptability of the diets, appetite, and satiety.

“Both groups reported an increase in overall satisfaction of the diet they were allocated compared with baseline dietary habits with results favoring the high-egg group… [particularly] enjoyment of the foods they were eating and being less bored with food choices.”

“A trend toward more satisfied with the high-egg diet compared with low-egg diet was also evident.”

In translating what these results mean, the authors concluded that

“[A] high-egg diet can be incorporated into the dietary management of people with T2D in conjunction with an increase in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats without adversely affecting blood lipid profiles.”

It is important to emphasize that the overall diet pattern was one in which saturated fat was reduced and PUFA and MUFA increased. This suggests that eggs can be incorporated into a high unsaturated fat, healthy eating pattern for those living with T2D without adversely affecting cardiovascular risk factors.


Reference Citations

Fuller, NR, ID Caterson, A Sainsbury, G Denyer, M Fong, J Gerofi, K Baqleh, KH Williams, NS Lau, and TP Markovic. “The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: The Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study – a 3-mo randomized controlled trial.” Am J Clin Nutr 2015:101(4);705-713. This study was funded by grants from the Australian Egg Corporation.

Accompanying editorial in the Am J Clin Nutr by Peter M Clifton entitled:  “Does dietary cholesterol influence cardiovascular disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes.”

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