Nutritious Dietary Patterns

Dietary patterns (also called eating patterns) are the combinations and quantities of food and beverages consumed over time. Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a plant-based dietary pattern is more health-promoting than the current average U.S. diet. However, a “plant-based” eating patterns doesn’t mean only plants; pairing high-quality protein foods, like eggs, with plants is essential for the synthesis and maintenance of muscle tissue, and for achieving optimal vitamin and mineral intakes.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend three healthy eating patterns, all of which include eggs. But what are the sample eating patterns, and what are the key differences between them?

To learn more about healthy eating patterns, including those recommended in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, and how eggs fit within those patterns, explore the following PowerPoint, and feel free to share it with friends!

Healthy Eating Patterns: How do Eggs Fit?

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‘Eating Clean’ for pregnancy

Featured article in the Spring 2015 Issue of Nutrition Close-Up; written by Bridget Swinney MS, RDN

Along with eating local and organic, “Eating Clean” is a new trend that is growing in popularity. What exactly is clean eating? Although there are many interpretations, the overriding philosophy is to eat foods as close as possible to their natural state and minimize or avoid processed foods and refined sweeteners.

Continue reading “‘Eating Clean’ for pregnancy”

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”

Eggs Improve Carotenoid Value of Raw Vegetables

Mixed Egg Salad

Eggs offer potential to improve the nutritive value of a salad, in more than one way.

Egg yolk is among the few commonly consumed foods containing the carotenoid lutein and its stereoisomer zeaxanthin. Spinach and other dark leafy greens may have a higher content per serving, but lutein/zeaxanthin is absorbed and utilized better from egg yolk [Chung, 2004].

Researchers at Purdue University are studying ways to improve carotenoid absorption and tested whether eggs improved absorption of carotenoids, like lutein/zeaxanthin, from raw mixed-vegetable salad. They reported findings at the Experimental Biology 2015 meeting of nutrition scientists.

Drs. Jung Eun Kim, Wayne Campbell and colleagues, fed sixteen healthy college-age men raw vegetable salad or the same salad with either 10.5 or 18 g scrambled eggs (i.e., 7.5 g or 15 g egg, which is equivalent to about 1 ½ or 3 eggs, respectively). All salads contained the same amount of tomatoes, shredded carrots, baby spinach, romaine lettuce, and Chinese wolfberry.

To determine carotenoid absorption, carotenoid levels were measured in the men’s blood over a 10 hour period after eating salads with or without eggs.

Carotenoid levels in blood were 3-9 fold higher for various carotenoids when the men ate salad with 3 eggs compared to plain salad. And it was more than just lutein/zeaxanthin that increased. Carotenoids in the salad also include beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and lycopene. And all of these carotenoids were absorbed better with the high egg salad.

These findings are consistent with other research by this group showing that adding certain oils to mixed raw vegetables enhances carotenoid absorption.

This means that eggs provided benefits in two ways: as a direct source of lutein/zeaxanthin and by improving the carotenoid value of raw vegetables.

Research related to lutein/zeaxanthin and eggs is cited at the ENC website.

 

 

 

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

Barb Barbara Lyle, Ph.D. is President of B Lyle, Inc. a nutrition consulting and innovation firm, and guest blogger for the Egg Nutrition Center.

Recorded Webinars and Other Videos

ENC-Funded Research Presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in March 2015

Egg Nutrition Center is the science division of The American Egg Board headquartered in Park Ridge, Illinois. This 2-minute highlight video and the eight videos below this one reflect some of the ENC-funded research that was presented at the Experimental Biology meeting in March 2015.

Continue reading “Recorded Webinars and Other Videos”

Sustainability is gaining definition with transparency on trend and nutrition emerging.

A bottle of natural apple cider vinegar on straw, tagged as "organic"

Transparency about sustainable practices is enabled by scanning technologies allowing consumers access to product information at the point of sale.

Consumer’s desire for transparency in food labeling was a major theme at the 2015 Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco.  This meeting is part of a continuing series of international summits focusing on issues in the food industry concerning sustainability and eco-labels, such as Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and others. Issues discussed included, developing standards, metrics for measuring performance, labeling options, as well as stories of success from companies around the globe. As this is a rapidly developing and evolving topic, the agenda covered all aspects of the food supply from farming methods to consumer behaviors.

One statistic noted at the summit was a remarkably high 92% of consumers think genetically modified organisms (GMOs) should be labeled on food packages; but the presence of GMOs would not deter most of them from buying the product. At the end of the day, consumers want to know what’s in their food to be able to make informed choices. And they expect companies to be upfront about ingredient information, as well as business practices.

To this point, there are several apps for mobile devices now available ranking food products according to manufacturer transparency and environment impact. Several use scanning technology so that a consumer can immediately access such information at the point of sale. Eco-labeling, those labels that represent some environmental/ethical/sustainability attributes, are also becoming more prevalent in the marketplace, even at mainstream grocery stores. Experts predict consumers will only become more interested in transparency, demanding accountability from food manufacturers.

It was also very clear at the Summit that there is still considerable debate as to what should be included in the topic of ‘sustainability’. Farming methods, carbon footprint, and greenhouse gas emissions have long been tightly associated with sustainable food practices, but other aspects are now included in the conversation including animal welfare, biodiversity, sustainable packaging, and waste management. And extremely new to the discussion is nutrition.

Adam Drewnowski, Professor at the University of Washington, has often remarked that the most sustainable crop grown in the U.S., based on greenhouse gas emissions, is sugar. Obviously, it does not make sense to consume more sugar from a holistic health perspective, or any nutrient-poor food just because it’s associated with a low carbon footprint. The nutritional attributes of a food needs to be part of the sustainability discussion. Exactly how nutrition fits into the bigger picture is yet to be determined and worthy of engagement by nutrition and health professionals.