2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – AEB Press Release

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2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans - AEB Press Release

New Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eggs for the nutrition babies need for brain development
Parents can make every bite count by feeding eggs as a fundamental first food

CHICAGO (Dec. 29, 2020) – One of the best foods for a baby’s healthy brain development is already in most refrigerators: eggs. In an historic first, the newly released 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include recommendations for birth to 24 months old and specifically recommend eggs as an important first food for infants and toddlers, as well as for pregnant women and lactating moms.

The new Guidelines substantiate that eggs — long known to be a vital source of nutrients for people of all ages — provide several key nutrients important for babies during the time in which their brains are most rapidly developing. Notably, the Guidelines highlight the importance of choline, a nutrient plentiful in eggs, while recommending eggs as a first food for babies to reduce risk for an egg allergy.

“The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans confirm what the science has shown: eggs provide critical nutritional support for brain health, and they play a crucial role in infant development and prenatal health,” said Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board. “With 90% of brain growth happening before kindergarten, eggs help make every bite count, especially when babies are just being introduced to solid foods.”

As a fundamental first food for babies, eggs are one of the most concentrated sources of choline, a nutrient that has now been recognized as important for brain health. Just one large egg provides the daily choline needs for babies and toddlers, and two large eggs provide more than half of daily choline needs for pregnant moms. Additionally, early introduction of eggs (between 4-6 months of age and when a baby is developmentally ready) may also help reduce the risk of developing an egg allergy.

“As a nutrition scientist and a dad, I know this is important news for parents,” said Dr. Mickey Rubin, executive director of the American Egg Board’s Egg Nutrition Center. “Choline is a nutrient under-consumed by all Americans, and the Guidelines recommend eggs as a notable source of choline to support brain health and development during pregnancy. Additionally, establishing healthy eating patterns from the start ensures children’s growing bodies and brains get the nutrition they need. Eggs are a fundamental food in these early years because they provide a unique nutrient package.”

Eggs: Good for baby — and the rest of us, too

Eggs qualify for all three healthy eating patterns recommended in the new Guidelines, and the Guidelines also affirm that eggs, as a nutrient-dense food, can contribute to the health and well-being of Americans of all ages in several ways, including:

  • Important nutrients for teenagers: The Guidelines encourage eggs for pre-teens and adolescents, especially girls, because of the protein and choline they provide.
  • Muscle repair and bone health: The high-quality protein in eggs helps maintain and repair muscle while supporting bone health.
  • B12 for older adults: Older adults are at nutritional risk for not getting enough protein and vitamin B12, which eggs provide as a good source.
  • Natural source of vitamin D: Americans do not get enough vitamin D, for which eggs, as one of the few natural food sources, provide 6% of the daily recommendation.

Learn more about how eggs, as a nutrient-dense food, support babies’ healthy brain development and contribute to health and well-being at every age and life stage. Find family-friendly recipes and advice about introducing eggs to your youngest family members at EggNutritionCenter.org.

Food Allergen Introduction to Infants, DGAS: Both Evolve with Science

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Food Allergen Introduction to Infants, DGAS:

Both Evolve with Science

Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD

Eggs Across the Lifespan

Key Messages

  • Evidence supports the early introduction of infant- safe peanut foods and eggs starting as early as
    4 to 6 months of age to reduce the risk of allergies to these foods. “Early and often” is the mantra for when to feed babies potential allergens.

  • Infants with severe eczema or an existing food allergy are considered at risk for developing food allergies and the introduction of potential allergens should first be discussed with a healthcare provider.


For those of us who monitor research for evidence-based clinical practice, changes in recommendations are inevitable. As any area of health and nutrition is researched, experts evolve their practice as new things are learned. Yet, every time there are big changes in clinical guidelines, it takes time for those changes to become the standard of care. For the latest recommendations on early feeding of potentially allergenic foods, this is certainly the case. To understand the latest recommendations for feeding peanut foods as early as 4 to 6 months and egg and other allergens within the first year, we need to understand how we got here.

In the late 1990s, pediatricians and researchers noticed a troubling increase in the rates of food allergies in children. Because of this increase, experts including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended withholding potential allergens from high-risk infants for one, two or three years in guidance released in 2000.However, in 2008, these recommendations were rescinded because the evidence did not support withholding as a means to prevent food allergies.2 Meanwhile, researchers began trying to unravel the mystery of how early diet may influence the development, or protect against, food allergy development. Here are some of the groundbreaking studies that have shaped current guidelines.

  • In 2008, Du Toit, et al. reported that Jewish children in the United Kingdom who did not eat peanut foods in the first year had a 10-fold higher rate of peanut allergy than those in Israel, whose mothers fed them high quantities of a peanut-containing weaning food.3
  • In 2015, the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) allergies trial included 640 infants at high risk for peanut allergies (severe eczema and/or egg allergy), half of whom ate peanut foods early (starting between 4 to 11 months) and half of whom did not. At the end of 5 years, researchers found that those infants who started early had up to an 86% reduced risk of developing a peanut allergy.4
  • In 2016, the Enquiring About Tolerance (EAT) study released results from 1,303 breastfed infants who either began to eat six commonly allergenic foods (peanut, egg, cow’s milk, sesame, whitefish, and wheat) starting at 3 months of age or introduced these foods according to standard recommendations. The EAT study proved that introducing potential allergens early was safe, but participants had trouble incorporating all of the allergenic foods in the full quantities. Those who did adhere to the protocol had lower rates of any food allergy.5
  • In the PETIT study published in 2017, a randomized controlled trial where 147 high-risk infants (with severe eczema) were randomized to eat heated egg powder in a two-step introduction.6 The results showed that early introduction of baked egg protein reduces the risk of egg allergy in participants and the study was stopped early because of such significant results.
  • In 2020, the CHILD study, which followed 2,669 children from birth to 3 years, showed that delaying introduction of peanut, egg, or milk past 12 months resulted in a significant increase in the risk for developing allergies to these foods.7 

 

Following the release of the LEAP study, an international consensus was published about the early introduction of peanut foods.8 This consensus was followed by clinical guidelines published by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease recommending the introduction of peanut foods as early as 4 to 6 months, based on infant risk.9 In 2019, the AAP released revised recommendations to include the latest advice for 10 introducing peanuts and other allergens.10 Finally, the 2020 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee reviewed all of the research and made their recommendation – feed babies a varied diet, with strong evidence for inclusion of peanut and moderate evidence for inclusion of egg to reduce the risk of allergy to these foods.11  After decades of confusion about the influence of early feeding, we finally have research that helps navigate this important time. At least for peanut and egg, we now know that these foods should be eaten early and often.

Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD is a metro-Atlanta based registered dietitian nutritionist and expert in food allergies. Coleman Collins works as a consultant for National Peanut Board. She can be found on social media as @PeanutRD on Twitter and Instagram.

Photo credit: Kenan Hill

  1. Committee on Nutrition. Hypoallergenic infant formulas. Pediatrics. 2000;106:346-349.
  2. Greer, FR, et al. Effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: The role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, timing of introduction of complementary foods, and hydrolyzed formulas. Pediatrics. 2008;121:183-191.
  3. Du Toit, G, et al. Early consumption of peanuts in infancy is associated with a low prevalence of peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;122:984-991.
  4. Du Toit, G, et al. Randomized trial of peanut consumption in infants at risk for peanut allergy. N Engl J Med. 2015;372:803-813.
  5. Perkin, MR, et al. Randomized trial of introduction of allergenic foods in breast-fed infants. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:1733-1743.
  6. Natsume, O, et al. Two-step egg introduction for prevention of egg allergy in high-risk infants with eczema (PETIT): a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Lancet. 2017;10066:21-27.
  7. Simons, E, et al. Timing of introduction, sensitization, and allergy to highly allergenic foods at age 3 years in a general-population Canadian cohort. J Allergy Clin Immunol: In Practice. 2020;8:166-175.
  8. Fleischer, D, et al. Consensus communication on early peanut introduction and the prevention of peanut allergy in high-risk infants. Pediatrics. 2015;136:600-604.
  9. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-Sponsored Expert Panel. 2017 Addendum guidelines for the prevention of peanut allergy in the United States. Version current 24 October 2018. Internet: https:// www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/guidelines-clinicians-and- patients-food-allergy (accessed August 25, 2020).
  10. Greer, FR, et al. The effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: The role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, hydrolyzed formulas, and timing of introduction of allergenic complementary foods. Pediatrics. 2019;121:346.
  11. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 2020.

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Enjoying Eggs with Infants, Toddlers and the Whole Family

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Enjoying Eggs with Infants, Toddlers and the Whole Family

Kim Hoban, RDN, CDN, CPT

Eggs Across the Lifespan

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Kim Hoban, RDN, CDN, CPT to write this blog post.

The process of introducing solid foods to babies can feel overwhelming and intimidating, but starting with nutrient-rich foods and simple family-friendly recipes can help take the stress away. Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, as well as proteins like meat, fish and eggs are all good options for first foods. Eggs in particular, which are classified as a nutrient-dense food by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), are easy, versatile and budget-friendly, making them an option parents can feel good about serving.

Not only are eggs a nutritional powerhouse for adults, but because they offer essential nutrients for growth and development, the DGAC recommended eggs as foundational first food for infants and toddlers as well. Plus, eggs provide various amounts of all the nutrients listed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as essential for brain health, including choline, vitamin B12, and protein. Choline, an essential nutrient for brain health and development, is often under consumed by adults and children alike. The Adequate Intake (AI) for choline is 125-150mg daily for babies and 200mg for toddlers up to 3 years old. Just one large egg contains about 150mg of choline to meet those needs!

On top of the nutritional benefits, the DGAC highlighted that early introduction of eggs has been shown to reduce the risk of egg allergies later in life. The Advisory Committee affirmed that current research indicates that introducing peanut and egg, in an age-appropriate form, in the first year of life (>4 months) may reduce the risk of allergy to peanut and eggs. For other potentially allergenic foods, the DGAC reported there is no evidence that avoiding such foods in the first year of life is beneficial.

When it comes to serving eggs to babies, toddlers and young children, think beyond simple scrambled or hard-boiled eggs (though those are great too!) by offering up a variety of nutritious and delicious ways to enjoy eggs. For babies, easy-to-grab options like Banana Pumpkin Pancakes, Avocado and Banana Muffins, and Broccoli and Cauliflower Quinoa Bites are eggcellent choices. Once eggs and peanut-containing foods have been introduced and tolerated, it’s essential to continue offering these foods on a regular basis. This simple Peanut Butter Sweet Potato Souffle is a tasty way for parents to include both eggs and peanuts in one easy recipe.

For toddlers and older kids, get creative with family-friendly recipes that are nourishing and fun for everyone. Getting children involved in the cooking process by creating joyful experiences can help build their confidence and increase the likelihood of trying more new and different foods. Let your kids pick from options like Hawaiian Scrambled Egg Pizza, Baked Cheesy Pasta with Broccoli and Pear, and Pizza Granola Bars. Not only are eggs nutritious and delicious, but they are an affordable and easy way to nourish family members of all ages, from infants and babies to adolescents and adults.

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Easy Ways to Enjoy Eggs During Pregnancy

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Easy Ways to Enjoy Eggs During Pregnancy

Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN

Nutrition Across the Lifespan

Nutrients in Eggs

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.

During pregnancy, good nutrition is as important as ever, but with the accompanying symptoms (hello fatigue and nausea!), it can be a challenge to prepare and consume nutritious meals throughout the day. Fortunately, eggs are a naturally nutrient-rich food that are convenient and easy to prepare for any meal or snack.

Why Eat Eggs During Pregnancy

Eggs provide eight essential nutrients, including those that are critical during pregnancy like high-quality protein, Vitamin B12, iodine and choline.1 Choline plays a vital role in brain health throughout our lives but it is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women.2,3 During pregnancy, choline helps the baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly and helps to prevent birth defects.4 New research shows that consuming adequate choline during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can improve measures of brain function in babies and may have lasting benefits on brain development and health.5,6,7 Unfortunately, about 90% of Americans and 92% of pregnant women fail to meet the daily Adequate Intake level for choline.8,9 The daily recommended intake for choline is 450 mg/day for pregnant women and 550 mg/day for breastfeeding women.10 Eggs are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline in the American diet, with two large eggs providing more than half of a pregnant woman’s daily needs.11 In fact, it’s quite difficult to reach the Adequate Intake levels for choline without consuming eggs or taking a supplement.

Egg Food Safety During Pregnancy

Food safety is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for expectant moms.  Cooking eggs until the yolks and whites are firm and cooking egg dishes, like quiche, until the internal temperature reaches 160˚F will kill any possible Salmonella bacteria. Consider enjoying your eggs hard-boiled instead of soft boiled and over hard instead of over-easy during pregnancy. In addition to safe preparation, be sure to wash your hands after handling raw eggs. To enjoy a favorite recipe that calls for raw eggs, like homemade Caesar dressing or raw cookie dough, purchase pasteurized eggs.12

Easy Ways to Enjoy Eggs

Eggs can quickly and easily be prepared in a variety of ways for any snack or meal. Here are some recipe ideas:

One of my favorite ways to make mealtimes easier is to prep in advance. Set aside some time to make one of these recipes to enjoy later:

  • Make-Ahead and Freeze: Frittatas and egg muffins are perfect for making in advance and freezing in individual portions for future meals. These Veggie Frittata Fingers and Veggie and Cheddar Crustless Quiche provide a boost of protein along with colorful vegetables.
  • Begin with Boiled Eggs: Easy-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs are great to have on hand and can be refrigerated in the shell for up to one week. Use them in this Classic Egg Salad, Fresh Arugula and Couscous Salad, or on Easy Egg and Avocado Toast. To make the toast, mash half an avocado with a splash of lemon or lime juice, spread over one slice of whole-grain toast, and top with a sliced hard-boiled egg and a sprinkle of your favorite seasoning – like everything bagel seasoning or crushed red pepper flakes.

Eggs aren’t just for breakfast! Make eggs the star of any meal for a quick and easy protein source.

No matter how you enjoy them, eggs are a nutritious option during pregnancy and beyond. They provide essential nutrients for mom and baby and are affordable and easy to prepare. What more could one want? 

 

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. 2019; Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.
  2. Wallace, T.C., A Comprehensive Review of Eggs, Choline, and Lutein on Cognition Across the Life-span. J Am Coll Nutr, 2018. 37(4): p. 269-285.Diabetologia.2009;52:1479–1495.
  3. Wallace, T.C., et al., Choline: The Underconsumed and Underappreciated Essential Nutrient. Nutr Today, 2018. 53(6): p. 240-253.
  4. Berg, S. AMA backs global health experts in calling infertility a disease. 2017  May 31, 2019]; Available from: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/ama-backs-global-health-experts-calling-infertility-disease.
  5. Caudill, M.A., et al., Maternal choline supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy improves infant information processing speed: a randomized, double-blind, controlled feeding study. Faseb j, 2018. 32(4): p. 2172-2180.
  6. Bahnfleth, C., et al., Prenatal Choline Supplementation Improves Child Color-location Memory Task Performance at 7 Y of Age (FS05-01-19). Current Developments in Nutrition, 2019. 3(Supplement_1).
  7. Boeke, C.E., et al., Choline intake during pregnancy and child cognition at age 7 years. Am J Epidemiol, 2013. 177(12): p. 1338-47.
  8. Wallace, T.C. and V.L. Fulgoni, 3rd, Assessment of Total Choline Intakes in the United States. J Am Coll Nutr, 2016. 35(2): p. 108-12.
  9. Wallace, T.C. and V.L. Fulgoni, Usual Choline Intakes Are Associated with Egg and Protein Food Consumption in the United States. Nutrients, 2017. 9(8).
  10. Choline Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health website. 2020 July 10. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/.
  11. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. 2019; Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html.
  12. Food Safety for Pregnant Women. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. 2011 September. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/files/food/published/Food-Safety-for-Pregnant-Women_1.pdf.

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How the Nutrients in Eggs can Support Healthy Aging

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How the nutrients in eggs can support healthy aging

Jen Houchins, PhD

Nutrients in Eggs

Eggs Across the Lifespan

The Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee indicates that older adults may be at risk for low intake of protein and vitamin B12.1  Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and an excellent source of vitamin B12, as well as nutrients that are underconsumed by the entire population including choline (25% DV in a large egg) and vitamin D (6% DV in a large egg).  Further, eggs provide 252 mcg of lutein + zeaxanthin, carotenoids strongly associated with health outcomes throughout the lifespan.2 These are examples of nutrients that are particularly important during aging:

High-quality protein: ”New evidence shows that older adults need more dietary protein than younger adults to support good health…and make up for age-related changes in protein metabolism…”3 Eggs provide 6 grams of protein (12% DV) with all the essential amino acids needed to help maintain healthy muscle. 

Choline: Choline, a nutrient critical for cell structural integrity and signaling, is also important for maintenance of health in older adults.  New research is exploring how choline throughout life may have lasting effects on cognition,4,5 and one study found moderate egg consumption may have a beneficial association with certain areas of cognitive performance in middle-age to older adults.6

Vitamin B12: This nutrient is important for red blood cell formation, neurological function, and DNA synthesis, and many older adults do not consume enough. Vitamin B12 is naturally present in animal-sourced foods or may be obtained from fortified foods.  Large eggs provide 20% DV vitamin B12.

Lutein + Zeaxanthin: The accumulation of lutein + zeaxanthin in the macula of the eye (macular pigment optical density (MPOD)) has been associated with a reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration,7 the leading cause of vision loss for Americans aged 65 years and older.  Research in older adults has also shown MPOD is related to cognitive function in older people.8,9 A large egg provides 252 mcg of bioavailable lutein + zeaxanthin.

Vitamin D: Eggs are one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D (6% DV per large egg).  Together with calcium, vitamin D helps maintain bone health, but most Americans do not consume enough.

Eggs are nutrient-dense, providing many essential nutrients for relatively few calories—the nutritional equivalent of ‘bang for your buck.’ The value of eggs within a healthy diet pattern for older adults was reflected in a recent science advisory published by the AHA which reported, “…given the nutritional benefits and convenience of eggs, consumption of up to 2 eggs per day is acceptable within the context of a heart-healthy diet pattern.”10  For easy ways to incorporate eggs into the diet, see ENC’s Busy Lifestyles toolkit and new ways to Put and Egg on It. Hungry for more? Check out these easy and nutritious meals:

  1. Dietary Guideliens Advisory Committee. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 2020; Available from: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/ScientificReport_of_the_2020DietaryGuidelinesAdvisoryCommittee_first-print.pdf.
  2. Ranard, K.M., et al., Dietary guidance for lutein: consideration for intake recommendations is scientifically supported. Eur J Nutr, 2017. 56(Suppl 3): p. 37-42.
  3. Bauer, J., et al., Evidence-based recommendations for optimal dietary protein intake in older people: a position paper from the PROT-AGE Study Group. J Am Med Dir Assoc, 2013. 14(8): p. 542-59.
  4. Poly, C., et al., The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr, 2011. 94(6): p. 1584-91.
  5. Ylilauri, M.P.T., et al., Associations of dietary choline intake with risk of incident dementia and with cognitive performance: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2019.Intern Med. 2010;170(9):821-827.
  6. Ylilauri, M.P., et al., Association of dietary cholesterol and egg intakes with the risk of incident dementia or Alzheimer disease: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Am J Clin Nutr, 2017. 105(2): p. 476-484.
  7. Mares, J., Lutein and Zeaxanthin Isomers in Eye Health and Disease. Annu Rev Nutr, 2016. 36: p. 571-602.
  8. Vishwanathan, R., et al., Macular pigment optical density is related to cognitive function in older people. Age Ageing, 2014. 43(2): p. 271-5.
  9. Wallace, T.C., A Comprehensive Review of Eggs, Choline, and Lutein on Cognition Across the Life-span. J Am Coll Nutr, 2018. 37(4): p. 269-285.
  10. Carson, J.A.S., et al., Dietary Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Risk: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2019: p. Cir0000000000000743.

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Eggs: Meeting Nutrients of Public Health Concern

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Eggs: Meeting Nutrients of Public Health Concern

Stacey Mattinson, MS, RDN, LD

Diet and Health

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Stacey Mattinson, MS, RDN, LD to write this blog post.

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report was recently released with some egg-citing findings! Eggs remain a top pick for your table as a naturally nutrient-rich choice. Importantly, eggs are a source of five nutrients of public health concern or nutrients that pose special challenges: iodine, choline, vitamin B12, vitamin D and protein.1,2 As practitioners, we know the best way to bring our patients nutrition news they can use is dishing up information about foods they can add to their plates for optimal health. In this case, that means encouraging eggs across all life stages.

Choline

Choline was identified as a nutrient under consumed by the entire population. While 90% of all Americans don’t consume enough, choline intake is of particular concern for infants, and pregnant and lactating women.1 Choline is an essential micronutrient that plays important roles in human metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, fetal brain development and overall brain health, among other functions.3,4 Eggs have one of the highest amounts choline of any food, with one large egg providing 150 mg of choline or 33% of the Adequate Intake (AI) for a pregnant woman.5 Remember to keep the yolk – it’s where all the choline is concentrated!

Iodine

Iodine was noted as an under consumed food component of public health concern for pregnant or lactating women. Iodine needs increase by more than 50% during pregnancy to meet fetal needs for growth and neurological development.1 Eggs are an excellent source of iodine, with one large egg providing 28 mcg of iodine or 20% of the daily value.

For lactating women, both iodine and choline amounts in breastmilk can be increased by maternal increase in intake.1

Protein

Protein was noted as a nutrient that poses special health challenges and is under consumed by adolescent girls (ages 9-14) and older adults. Protein is the basic building block for life, with roles as enzymes, the basis of all muscle contraction and mobility, and is the second largest source of stored energy in the body.4 Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein with 6 grams of protein per large egg. Of particular importance for older adults, eggs are a very economical source of protein. And because of the nutritional benefits and convenience of eggs, the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee noted that consumption of up to 2 eggs per day is acceptable within the context of a heart-healthy dietary pattern for older healthy individuals.   

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that poses special health challenges again for adolescent girls and older adults. Similar to protein, changes in metabolism may generate special needs for vitamin B12 among older adults.1 For adolescent girls, a major challenge is low intake of foods rich in vitamin B12.1 Vitamin B12 has important roles in red blood cell formation and neurological function. Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin B12, providing 0.5 mcg or 20% of the daily value per large egg.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a nutrient of public health concern for all ages as it is under consumed by much of the population. Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and bone health, among other roles.7 Eggs are one of the few foods that are a naturally-occurring source of vitamin D, with 6% daily value provided from one large egg.

Breaking down the science of meeting nutrition needs into bite-sized pieces is both delicious and simple when eggs are on the table as a nutrient-rich choice!

  1.  Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2020. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC. Access here: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-07/ScientificReport_of_the_2020DietaryGuidelinesAdvisoryCommittee_first-print.pdf
  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/748967/nutrients
  3. Zeisel SH, da Costa KA. Choline: an essential nutrient for public health. Nutr Rev. 2009;67(11):615-623. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00246.x Access here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/#
  4. Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ, Tucker KL, Ziegler TR. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Philadelphia, Pa: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2014.
  5. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/748967/nutrients
  6. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#h5
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

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Choline Throughout the Life-Span

11 NC Quinoa Crust Vegetable Quiche

Choline Throughout the Life-Span

Katie Hayes, RDN

Eggs Across the Lifespan

Cognition

WHY IS CHOLINE IMPORTANT?

Choline is an essential nutrient, meaning that we must consume adequate amounts in the diet to achieve optimal health. Unfortunately, most people do not consume enough choline. In fact, more than 90% of Americans (including approximately 90% of pregnant women) fail to meet the adequate intake.1 The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has classified choline as a nutrient that poses special challenges for Americans due to underconsumption and encouraged eggs for pregnant women, as a complementary food for babies and toddlers, and for pre-teens and adolescents.2 Many foods offer choline in small amounts, however, only a few foods are significant choline sources.  Furthermore, most multivitamin supplements contain little, if any, choline. Fortunately, eggs are convenient, affordable, accessible, and an excellent source of choline.

Beginning in fetal development, Choline is critical to good health and remains essential throughout the lifespan. This nutrient is important in many ways.

  • During pregnancy, choline helps the baby’s brain and spinal cord develop properly and supports brain health throughout life.
  • Infants and young children need choline for continued brain development and health.
  • Choline is part of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which is important for muscle control, memory and mood.3
  • Choline is also important for the support of membranes that surround your cells, the transportation of fats throughout the body and for liver health.
  • New research is exploring how choline throughout life may have lasting effects on cognition and prevention of cognitive decline.4

HOW MUCH CHOLINE DO WE NEED?

The amount of choline an individual needs depends on many things, including age, gender and stage of life. Table 1 lists the current Adequate Intakes (AIs) for choline.3

WHAT FOODS HAVE CHOLINE?

People of all ages need adequate choline for good health, but very few consume enough through food and supplements. While many foods contain some choline, only a handful of foods are considered good or excellent sources. Fortunately, two large eggs (about 300mg of choline) contain more than half of the recommended intake for pregnant women and can help them meet their needs. The table below lists food sources of choline.2

CHOLINE & COGNITION

Choline plays a role in early brain development during pregnancy and infancy. There is evidence that infants exposed to higher levels of maternal choline (930 mg/day) during the third trimester have improved information processing speed, an indicator of cognitive function,4,5 during the first year of life.

The American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates recommended the addition of choline to prenatal vitamins because of its essentiality in promoting cognitive development of the offspring.6 This recommendation from AMA highlights the increased recognition of choline as a nutrient of concern. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) also list choline as a nutrient under consumed by most Americans. The DGAs recommend individuals shift to healthier eating patterns to help meet nutrient needs, including choline.7

Interested in more information about choline?

  1. Wallace TC, Fulgoni VL III. Assessment of total choline intakes in the United States. J Am Coll Nutr 2016, 35(2), 108-112.

  2. National Institutes of Health. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals: Choline. Version current 26 September 2018. ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/Accessed June 22, 2020.

  3. Wallace TC. A comprehensive review of eggs, choline, and lutein on cognition across the life-span. J Am Coll Nutr 2018, 37(4), 269-285.

  4. Caudill MA, et al. Maternal choline supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy improves infant information processing speed: a randomized, double-blind, controlled feeding study. FASEB J. 2018;32:2172-2180.

  5. AMA Wire. AMA backs global health experts in calling infertility a disease. https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/ama-backs-global-health-experts-calling-infertility-disease

  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.

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Eggs: An Essential Complementary Food

Jessica Ivey Feeding Baby Article

Eggs: An Essential Complementary Food

Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN

Egg Allergies

Eggs Across the Lifespan

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jessica Ivey, RDN, LDN to write this blog post.

Some parents are excited to introduce their baby to solid foods, while others find the process nerve-wracking. No matter where they fall on the spectrum, this is an important milestone for baby and can be a fun family experience.

Most babies are ready for complementary foods around 6 months of age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is not enough information to suggest which foods should be introduced first and in what order, but rather, it’s best to introduce a wide variety of single ingredient foods in any order.1 Different foods contain different nutrients, so a more varied diet will be more nutritionally complete. Also, food and flavor preferences are established early, so exposing infants to many different textures and flavors from an early age can help establish lifelong healthy eating patterns.

Previously parents were told to wait to introduce allergenic foods to their infants, especially if there was a family history of food allergies. But groundbreaking research2,3 has found that early introduction of potential allergens, including eggs, to an infant around 6 months of age helps to reduce the likelihood of developing an allergy to that food.

When considering first foods, parents should choose nutrient-rich foods with essential nutrients for growth and development. Eggs are a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including choline and lutein, nutrients that are important for brain development, learning, and memory. Plus, eggs have all of the nutrients that the American Academy of Pediatrics lists as key nutrients that support neurodevelopment – which are protein, zinc, iron, choline, folate, iodine, vitamins A, D, B6 and B12, and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.4

There are several ways to incorporate eggs into an infant’s diet. Here are some ideas to consider:

If parents are having trouble getting their child to try new foods, remember that many babies and toddlers need to be exposed to the same foods multiple times before accepting them. Encourage parents to keep offering nutrient-dense foods, like eggs, and eat nutritious foods themselves! Babies and toddlers are more likely to try foods that they see their peers, siblings, and parents eating.

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Every Bite Counts: Why Eggs are an Important First Food

Shutterstock 269062799 Scrambled Egg In Kid Bowl (1)

Every Bite Counts: Why Eggs Are An Important First Food

Jen Houchins, PhD, RD

Eggs Across the Lifespan

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

The 2020-2025   Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) says “it’s important to make every bite count” when it comes to feeding infants and toddlers. This is the first time in Dietary Guidelines history that  recommendations for the Birth to 24-month lifestage have been made.  DGA indicates “…complementary foods and beverages are essential to meet the nutrient requirements of infants starting at about age 6 months and should be selected carefully to help meet these needs.”

The DGA specifically recommends eggs as an important first food for infants and toddlers as they are a rich source of nutrients like choline and because early introduction (after 4 months of age), when baby is developmentally ready, may help reduce the risk of developing an allergy to eggs.

The following breaks down DGA recommendations based on age group.

BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS

For approximately the first 6 months of age, human milk, infant formula, or a combination of the two are an infant’s sole source of nutrition. Once developmentally ready (>4 months of age) – baby has good head and neck control, can sit upright, has lost the tongue-thrust reflex, and shows interest in food – complementary foods can be introduced.


6-12 MONTHS

During the 6-12 month period, an infant continues to receive human milk, infant formula, or a combination of the two, and also starts transitioning to a varied diet that includes complementary foods and beverages. This is where nutrient-rich foods with essential nutrients for growth and development come into play.

For infants fed human milk, the DGA recommends complementary foods that contain iron and zinc, such as meats, seafood, beans, and fortified infant cereals. For all infants, DGA recommends offering a variety of foods from all food groups starting around 6 months.  Protein foods, including meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, and soy products contribute iron, zinc, protein, choline, and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids to the diet.  Fruits and vegetables, particularly those rich in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, should be offered to help provide adequate nutrition and foster acceptance of these healthy foods. Yogurt, cheese, and grains also provide important nutrients starting around 6 months.

During this time, age-appropriate peanut-containing foods and other potentially allergenic foods like eggs should be introduced, to help reduce the risk of developing allergies to these foods. Additionally, introducing baby to complementary foods like eggs, which are high in choline, supports brain health.2,3 It should also be noted that complementary feeding not only provides additional nutrients, but introduces different textures, and models healthy eating behaviors, as well.

12-24 MONTHS

As baby moves past the 12-month mark and into the second year of life, many move away from human milk and infant formula entirely and transition to a fully varied diet of nutrient-rich foods and beverages. Others may choose to continue offering human milk in addition to a varied diet of nutrient-rich foods and beverages. Either way, careful choices of foods should be selected to meet nutrient needs. The DGA emphasizes offering developmentally appropriate forms of nutrient-rich animal-source foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products, as well as nut and seed containing foods, fruits, vegetables, and grain products in age-appropriate forms. For toddlers whose diets do not include meat, poultry, or seafood, the DGA recommends ”…regular consumption of eggs, dairy products, soy products, and nuts or seeds, in addition to vegetables including beans, peas, and lentils, fruits, grains, and oils.” The tables below outline approximate amounts of foods and beverages for toddlers between the ages of 12 to 24 months, for those not receiving human milk or infant formula and for those following a vegetarian style eating pattern.

EGGS AS A FIRST FOOD FOR INFANTS AND TODDLERS

Eggs are recommended after four months and when baby is developmentally ready for complementary foods, and throughout infancy and toddlerhood.

  • Eggs are a nutrient-rich choice providing a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients.
  • Eggs provide various amounts of all the nutrients listed by the American Academy of Pediatrics4 as essential for brain growth.
  • Introducing eggs early and often may help reduce risk of developing an egg allergy.
  • Eggs are an affordable source of high-quality protein.
  • Eggs are versatile and can be used to make a wide variety of dishes and can be adjusted to fit various developmental stages and age-appropriate textures.

Interested in more information?  

Check out these recipes for infants and toddlers:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020 – 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available from: https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf

  2. Wallace, T.C., A Comprehensive Review of Eggs, Choline, and Lutein on Cognition Across the Life-span. J Am Coll Nutr, 2018. 37(4): p. 269-285.

  3. Wallace, T.C., et al., Choline: The Underconsumed and Underappreciated Essential Nutrient. Nutr Today, 2018. 53(6): p. 240-253.

  4. Schwarzenberg, S.J., et al., Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days to Support Childhood Development and Adult Health. Pediatrics, 2018. 141(2)

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How To Help Selective Children Learn To Love Eggs

M Help Selective Children Learn To Love Eggs 1125x1125

How to Help Selective Children Learn to Love Eggs

Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RD

Eggs Across the Lifespan

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Jennifer Anderson, MSPH, RD to write this blog post.

Have a picky eater?

Kids who are selective, often have a hard time getting what they need to be healthy. That’s why I help moms and dads teach their kids to like foods like eggs. Eggs are one food that I highly recommend to parents of small children.

Why eggs?

Eggs are a naturally nutrient rich choice providing a good or excellent source of eight essential nutrients, including high-quality protein. It’s especially important to know that eggs are one of the most concentrated food sources of choline. Choline is essential for children for proper brain development. The Adequate Intake of choline for children ages 1-3 is 200 mg per day. A large egg has about 150 mg of choline. So, including eggs regularly in their diet is a great way to ensure a steady source of choline for your little one’s brain development.

Some selective children may reject eggs. There are tools you can use though. You can help your child move beyond the initial rejection and learn to like them.

No pressure

First, allow your child to decide whether to eat a piece of egg or not. I like to refer to this as the “no pressure” policy. My favorite thing to say to my own children if they reject a food is, “You don’t have to eat it.” Make sure that there is at least one food at every meal that your child does like. Removing pressure is important, because even being forced to take one bite can cause kids to dislike a food for a long time.

Exposure

Once there is no pressure, your child will be much more likely to start to explore new foods. At that point, make sure that you are serving eggs frequently. This is called “exposure.” You want them to see eggs often enough that eggs become routine and normal, not new or scary.

Variety

Next, think about what your child does and doesn’t like. There may be specific things about eggs that children don’t like. It could be the shape, temperature, or texture. So, try changing things up! Serve hardboiled eggs warm and cold. If the shape is the problem, you can use some mini cookie cutters to cut new shapes into an egg cooked flat. If texture is the problem, you can try different textures such as hard boiled, scrambled, or an omelet. If you experiment, you may find a method of preparing eggs that your child loves.

Novelty

Finally, find a way to make eggs novel. Give them a new name like “super hero eggs” or serve them with a new utensil. Cut them into a new shape. Have your child come help you in the kitchen and cook them together. Dye eggs together. All of these little things can add up to a child learning to taste and explore eggs.

Make sure and give your child time to learn to like eggs. Sometimes it can take a lot of exposures before children learn to like something new. In the meantime, you can include eggs in bakingand casseroles to make sure your child is getting all of the nutritional benefits of eggs.

_______________________

Jennifer Anderson is the registered dietitian nutritionist behind @kids.eat.in.color on Instagram and mom of 2.

  1. National Cancer Institute. Usual dietary intakes: food intakes, US population, 2007–10. Available at http://appliedresearch.cancer.gov/diet/usualintakes/pop/2007-10

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5391775/

  3. Sievenpiper JL, Kendall CWC, et al. Effect of non-oil-seed pulses on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled experimental trials in people with and without diabetes. Diabetologia.2009;52:1479–1495.

  4. https://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2716

  5. Fuller N, et al. Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study—randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018;107:1-11.

  6. Sabaté J, Oda K, Ros E. Nut Consumption and Blood Lipid Levels: A Pooled Analysis of 25 Intervention Trials. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(9):821-827.

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