Nutrients In Eggs

Eggs are a nutrient goldmine!

One large egg has varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, all for 70 calories.

While egg whites contain some of the eggs’ high-quality protein, riboflavin and selenium, the majority of an egg’s nutrient package is found in the yolk. Nutrients such as:

  • Vitamin D, critical for bone health and immune function. Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D.
  • Choline, essential for normal functioning of all cells, but particularly important during pregnancy to support healthy brain development of the fetus.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that are believed to reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that develops with age.

CPE Opportunity-Building a Better Breakfast with High-Quality Protein and Produce

View the Continuing Education Opportunities on ENC’s website and you’ll find the newest CPE offering Building a Better Breakfast with High-Quality Protein and Produce. It is a recorded webinar that was sponsored by Egg Nutrition Center and Produce for Better Health Foundation and is approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration(CDR) for 1 CPEU.

Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD discusses how the first meal of the day is a great time to encourage patients, customers, or clients to consume a variety of foods, especially those foods containing nutrients of concern, in a tasty and colorful way. Listen in for the latest research on how high-quality protein paired with fruits and vegetables can influence nutrient adequacy, satiety and health. You’ll also hear practical tips to help build a better breakfast. The webinar must be viewed through the Produce For Better Health Foundation site to receive the CPEU.

Eggs: Affordable, Versatile and Ample Varieties

Rebecca TealToday’s post is the third of a series of blogs from our friend Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS.

Disclosure from Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS: I was compensated by Egg Nutrition Center for my time in writing this blog post.

Natural, organic, cage-free, nutrient-added, brown, white, large, jumbo – the list of different types of eggs goes on and on. If your clients are anything like mine, they’re probably a bit overwhelmed by all the egg choices out there. I encourage my clients to incorporate more eggs in their diets because they are an affordable, versatile, healthy option, but all the different options sometimes create confusion in the egg aisle. It’s important to meet clients where they’re at with their egg knowledge and take the guesswork out of egg selection.

In this blog I am going to highlight a few of my favorite egg advantages and compare the different types of eggs on the market to provide clarity for you and your clients.

Affordability

As dietitians, we all know about the numerous nutritional benefits of eggs – they’re full of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. But did you know eggs are the least expensive source of high-quality protein on the market today? They’re a great budget-friendly option for everyone.  According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average price of a dozen large eggs has only gone up by about $1 in the past ten years1. One egg only costs about 15¢, which offers a great nutritional bang for your buck.

Versatility

One of the most incredible things about eggs is how versatile they are. Many egg dishes are quick and easy, so they’re ideal for busy clients and their families.

Everyone’s familiar with the old breakfast standbys – scrambled, fried, sunny-side up – but there are so many exciting, fresh ways to include eggs at breakfast. I really like breakfast burritos and these muffin frittatas to mix things up in the morning.

And eggs aren’t only for breakfast; many egg dishes can make a wonderful lunch or dinner. I recommend this tomato and avocado egg salad to my clients, and a savory egg bake like Italian Vegetable Custard which makes a quick, easy brunch or supper. Hard-boiled eggs are great snacks, and I love how portable they are for those of us who are constantly on-the-go.

If you’re looking for more egg recipes, the Egg Nutrition Center offers a ton of resources including client recipe handouts. You’ll also find great handouts on the different nutrients in egg yolks and the different types of eggs that I discuss below.

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Types of Eggs

America’s egg farmers work hard to provide a variety of quality options for their customers.

However, the number of choices in the egg aisle can be overwhelming and may be a barrier between your clients and this affordable, nutritious food. In the following section I am going to break down the different types of eggs so you can help your clients pick the eggs that best suit them. Here are some phrases you and your clients may encounter on an egg carton:

  • Natural – the US Department of Agriculture identifies all shell eggs as natural
  • Nutrient Enhanced – These eggs are laid by hens that are fed a special diet enriched with nutrient dense foods, such as flaxseeds, algae, or fish oils. Conventional eggs already qualify for claims regarding a good source of protein and vitamin D, which your clients may see on the labels. The specialty eggs may contain different claims given the enhancement of the feed.
  • Cage-free – Hens that lay these eggs are able to roam through a building, barn, or open area and have unlimited access to fresh food and water
  • Free-Range – These hens have access to the outdoors. Their diets consist of traditional grain feed supplemented by foraged insects and plants, which may slightly increase the protein contents of their eggs. Nutrient content is affected only by diet, not the manner in which hens are raised.
  • Conventional – Hens living in enclosures with access to food and water produce the eggs in this efficient type of farming.
  • Organic – All eggs labelled “organic” are produced according to USDA organic standards.  Eggs are laid by hens that eat food free of pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers, and do not receive antibiotics or growth hormones.

There are a lot options out there when it comes to eggs. With this information you should be able to help your clients select different types of eggs based on their personal preferences and budgets.

If you’re looking for more information, the Egg Nutrition Center is a great resource for health professionals to find current nutrition research on cholesterol, protein, micronutrients, and other general health topics. The Incredible Egg website and Facebook page offer fun egg facts and recipes as well.

Resources:

(1)  United States Department of Agriculture. Economic Research Service. Retail data for beef, pork, poultry cuts, eggs, and dairy products (April 15, 2011). Retrieved on April 15, 2011 fromhttp://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/MeatPriceSpreads/

Power Up on Protein for Muscle Health

rebecca-teal-150x150Today’s post is the second of a series of blogs from our friend Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS.

website: www.RebeccaScritchfield.com
Twitter: @ScritchfieldRD

Disclosure from Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS: I was compensated by Egg Nutrition Center for my time in writing this blog post.

As a personal trainer and fitness expert, you know dietary protein intake directly influences muscle mass, strength and function in people of all ages. You do what you can in your client sessions to make sure they are eating right because you know the workout is only half the equation. How do you help your clients fuel well? You need to give them accurate advice they can implement quickly.

In this blog, my goal is to make it easy for you to bring the protein message to your clients by providing tips, resources, and research evidence. This way, you can get on with your job of motivating and coaching them through their workouts.

How much protein should I be eating?

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The amount of protein a person needs depends on their activity level and goals. Newer research is showing that the average healthy adult should consume 25-30 grams of high-quality protein with each meal.(1) Protein helps maintain healthy bones and muscles, so it’s especially important that physically active people are getting adequate amounts throughout the day.(2)  Keep in mind that not all proteins are built alike and be sure to stress the importance of high-quality protein to your clients. High-quality proteins are easier for the body to utilize, they help you feel full and energized, they provide all the essential amino acids our bodies need to function optimally, and they may aid in weight loss. Animal products contain high-quality proteins and when combined with plant-based proteins, there is an overall boost in protein. Some foods that contain protein are eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, meat, fish as well as others such as quinoa, tofu and hemp seeds.

 

For most people, breakfasts are quick and on-the-go, which can make it difficult to hit the protein target. Whole eggs, which have 6 grams of quality protein (13% of the recommended Daily Value), are a great choice for breakfast. Research shows that eating eggs for breakfast, in comparison to higher carbohydrate alternatives, such as bagels, have helped overweight dieters lose 65% more weight and reduce their BMI by 61% more than those who chose the bagel.(3) Adequate protein intake at breakfast has also been shown to increase satiety throughout the day.  If your clients don’t have a few minutes to make eggs in the morning, encourage them to take hard boiled eggs on-the-go or even make scrambled eggs the night before and reheat for a few minutes the next morning.

better-breakfast-150x150 Download the “better breakfast protein” infographic for more facts and breakfast comparisons. Feel free to share this with your clients or post it to your website.

Besides protein, emphasize balance to your clients. Carbohydrates and fats are also important nutrients to fuel our lives. These main dish recipesfrom Incredible Eggs are delicious, easy, and balanced in nutrients.

Should I be eating protein before and/or after a workout?

High-quality protein is not only important in each meal, but it’s also an essential part of fueling before and recovering from a workout. (2) Let your clients know that high-quality proteins should be incorporated into their pre-fuel and recovery meals and snacks.

I recommend whole eggs plus a source of carbohydrates. For morning workouts, eggs with an English muffin or corn tortilla will do the trick. For evening workouts, I’d suggest a burrito with eggs, beans, and veggies. These options work for both pre-fuel and recovery. Other food ideas include homemade cinnamon French toast sticks, oatmeal with Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese with fruit.

Clients always want to know “how much should I eat?” The volume of food depends on

the person’s total daily energy needs. In general, bigger portions for more active people with more muscle mass. A good “rule of thumb” is that your clients should eat their three balanced meals, pre-fuel and recovery. If they get hungry outside of those meals, they may need an additional snack, or they may need to increase the portion size of meals.

Aren’t egg whites a good source of protein?

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It’s a common myth that eating just the egg white is the best way to get all of an eggs protein and none of its fat. Actually, about half of an eggs high-quality protein is found in the yolk – in fact, whole eggs offer such high-quality protein that they are the “gold standard” to which scientists compare other quality proteins. Yolks also have other nutrients like choline, Vitamin D, and antioxidants. And each one adds only 55 calories and 4.5 grams of fats, over half of which are heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Encourage your clients to eat the whole egg, including the yolk.

What about protein powders and shakes — do those provide quality protein to fuel my workouts?

I’m sure that a lot of your clients have questions about protein supplements. Whenever one of my clients wants to know about the different options available, I make it a point to educate them on the pros and cons. It’s a common curiosity among my clients if the supplements offer an “edge”. First, I always tell them that whole foods are better. Choose food first. Second, it’s important that any supplement have a specific beneficial purpose and nutrition need. Convenience is one of the big alluring factors of protein supplements. Try working with them to emphasize convenient, portable real foods that deliver protein and carbohydrates and minimize the use of protein supplements. Remind them that whole foods have additional nutritional benefits such as fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that supplements lack.

The downfall of supplements is that they are not regulated by the government for quality, purity, and safety. I always recommend choosing a producer that you can really trust – look for a company with a long history of good products and provides the nutrients in the most natural form possible. Avoid any “funny business” ingredients.

References:

(1)  Layman D, Rodriquez N. Egg protein as a source of power, strength, and energy. Food Science. 2009; 44(1):43-48.

(2)  Layman D and Rodriquez N. Egg Protein as a source of power, strength and energy. Nutrition Today 2009; 44(1):  43-7.

(3)  Ratliff, J., Leite, J.O., de Ogburn, R., Puglisi, M.J., VanHeest, J., Fernandez, M.L. (2010) Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin, while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men. Nutrition Research, 30, 96-103.

Tackling the Myths Surrounding Cholesterol

rebecca-teal-150x150Today’s post is the start of a series of blogs from our friend Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS. She’s giving us health professionals some tips and tools to be able to discuss cholesterol myths and misinformation with our clients.Disclosure from Rebecca Scritchfield MA, RD, ACSM HFS: I was compensated by Egg Nutrition Center for my time in writing this blog post.

With so much focus on food and healthy eating these days, your patients are probably asking you about what they should eat. Chances are they’re confused because of conflicting information out there. Your poor patients aren’t sure who to believe. An example is with eating whole eggs. One day consumers hear “eggs are good,” only to find out another day “eggs are bad.” So what does the science say? In this blog I’m going to tackle some of the most common cholesterol egg myths your patients are most likely to come across. You, as a health professional, can help them sort fact from fiction.

Top 3 Myths About Eggs and Cholesterol

Myth:  Eating whole eggs will raise your “bad” blood cholesterol levels.

Fact:  Healthy people can enjoy whole eggs daily without negatively impacting their blood cholesterol levels.(1) Current Dietary Guidelines for Americans mention enjoying one egg each day.(2) Dietary cholesterol intake, while once thought to be the culprit in elevated LDL levels, doesn’t usually contribute to blood cholesterol levels. Research has shown that it may actually be saturated fat and trans fats in foods that is correlated with higher LDL cholesterol.(3)

Additionally, egg consumption does not significantly impact the LDL:HDL ratio – one of the best known and scientifically established indicators of heart disease risk. A 2008 review of more than 30 studies published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition argued that the LDL:HDL ratio is a much better indicator of heart disease risk than either indicator alone. Some research has even shown that egg intake actually decreases levels of LDL.(1)

Finally, it’s important to remember that food is only one of the potential contributors to high blood cholesterol, including genetics, age, gender, and physical activity.

Myth: Egg whites are healthier than egg yolks. If you are watching your cholesterol or weight you should throw out the yolks and eat only the whites.

Fact: Don’t trash the yolks – egg yolks are nutrient goldmines. Yolks have a variety of important vitamins and minerals, including choline and Vitamin D, which are nutrients that tend to be inadequate in the American diet. Yolks also have high-quality protein and antioxidants, and only contain 50 calories each.

Many of the nutrients found in egg yolks, such as choline and folate, are known to support healthy fetal development. When I was pregnant with my daughter I regularly ate 2 whole eggs with a half an avocado and spinach for breakfast. I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing out on all those vital nutrients to keep her healthy.

Myth: Eating eggs increases your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Fact:  More than 40 years of research have shown that healthy adults can enjoy one egg daily without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.(4) A prospective cohort study out of Harvard that included more than a hundred thousand subjects found no significant difference in cardiovascular disease risk between those consuming less than one egg per week and those consuming one egg per day.(5)

There is a history of heart disease in my family, so I’m definitely concerned about keeping my heart as healthy as possible. I take good care of myself. I exercise, meditate, sleep well, and eat right. It’s all about balancing good, sensible habits. I consume eggs regularly because they are delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare. I am confident they aren’t contributing to my risk of cardiovascular disease based on the science.

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Get more scientific evidence, including data from a meta-analysis of the research relating to the effects of eggs on cardiovascular health in this article by Dr. Tia Rains. The message about the relationship between eggs and heart-health has been murky for a long time. It’s not surprising patients are confused. I’m sure you have heard at least one of these “egg myths” before and I hope this information helps make it easier for you to update your patients.

Feel free to share information from this blog in your patient communication programs and social media to clear up the myths once and for all.

Here are some “take aways” you can have on hand for your patients:

  • “An egg a day is OK!” You can eat the whole egg. Most important is following an overall heart healthy diet, being physically active, and monitoring your lab values as you age.
  • Go ahead and eat whole eggs if you like them as part of a balanced eating plan.
  • For breakfast think about pairing eggs “your way” with fruit. At lunch, eggs can be delicious on a salad. For dinner, try a veggie stir fry with scrambled egg.
  • Don’t trash the yolks. Egg yolks have a variety of important vitamins and minerals people need for health and wellness.
  • Healthy adults can enjoy one egg daily without significantly impacting their risk of heart disease.

If you’re interested in more information about eggs and cholesterol, along with the latest research, check out this handout from the Egg Nutrition Center. There’s also one developed for patients to clear up the cholesterol myth once and for all.

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References:
1Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA. 1999; 281:1387-94.
2 U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.
3 Harman NL, et al. Increased dietary cholesterol does not increase plasma low density lipoprotein when accompanied by an energy-restricted diet and weight loss. European Journal of Nutrition2008;47:287-293.
4 Fernandez ML and Webb D. The LDL to HDL Cholesterol Ratio as a Valuable Tool to Evaluate Coronary Heart Disease Risk. JACN 2008;27 (1):1-5.
5 Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Rimm EB et al. A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women. JAMA.1999; 281:1387-94.

Celebrating Around the World-An Eggciting Nutrient Package

A double post day because we wouldn’t forget to celebrate World Egg Day!

 

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Eggs are eaten in a variety of ways throughout the world, but one thing is the same–the nutrients that the whole egg provides! Pair eggs with fruits/vegetables, low-fat dairy, other lean sources of protein and whole grains for a great party!

Tell us your favorite nutrition-related egg fact today to continue the celebration!