New Study Shows Value of Eggs as Part of Plant-Based Diets for People at Risk for Diabetes

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New study shows value of eggs as part of plant-based diets for people at risk for diabetes

Mickey Rubin, Phd & Jen houchins, PHD

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

A new study demonstrates adding eggs to plant-based diets in people who are at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) can improve nutrient intake without impacting cardiovascular risk.1  In this study, plant-based diets were based on the USDA healthy vegetarian meal plan, with modifications to exclude eggs and dairy products.    

This randomized, controlled trial included two dietary interventions: 1) six weeks of an exclusively plant-based diet with no animal-sourced foods or, 2) six weeks of an exclusively plant-based diet + 2 eggs per day. Participants were individuals at risk for T2DM.

Results showed that including two eggs per day in the otherwise exclusively plant-based diet had no impact on measures of cardiometabolic health, including endothelial function, lipid profile, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, or body weight, despite an expected increase in dietary cholesterol intake. This is consistent with dietary recommendations that indicate eggs can be part of overall healthy diet patterns.2 Importantly, including eggs in a plant-based diet did significantly improve selenium and choline intakes, while there was a decrease in calcium and vitamin K intake.

Choline is important for the brain, nervous system and membranes that surround the body’s cells.3,4  Importantly, the plant-based diet + eggs significantly improved dietary choline intake, but at 410 mg/day, this still does not reach the Adequate Intake (AI) for women. These data show that careful planning is required to meet choline intake, and it might be especially difficult to meet the AI without eating eggs or taking a dietary supplement.5 Additionally, selenium has wide ranging functions and can support overall cardiovascular and immune health.6

This study is particularly strong in demonstrating the value of eggs as part of plant-based diets because other animal-sourced foods have been removed from the intervention. In this way, these new data were able to isolate the impact of eggs and showed no impact on indicators of cardiometabolic health.  However, animal-sourced foods can be important for meeting nutrient needs, as illustrated by inadequate calcium during this study potentially due to exclusion of dairy foods. 

Overall, this new study demonstrates that consuming two eggs daily as part of plant-based diets does not impact cardiometabolic risk factors in adults at risk for T2DM. The authors state, “Eggs could be used as an adjuvant to enhance plant-based diets that are typically recommended for those at risk of T2DM.1”  While larger trials are needed, these new data build on existing literature demonstrating the value of eggs as part of healthy diet patterns for people who have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes.7-11

  1. Njike, V.Y., et al., Egg Consumption in the Context of Plant-Based Diets and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Adults at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes. J Nutr, 2021.
  2. Carson, J.A.S., et al., Dietary Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Risk: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation, 2019: p. Cir0000000000000743.
  3. National Institutes of Health. Choline: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. 2021; Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/.
  4. National Institutes of Health. Selenium: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. 2021; Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/.
  5. 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).
  6. Weeks, B.S., M.S. Hanna, and D. Cooperstein, Dietary selenium and selenoprotein function. Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research, 2012. 18(8): p. RA127-RA132.
  7. Baghdasarian, S., et al., Dietary Cholesterol Intake Is Not Associated with Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in the Framingham Offspring Study. Nutrients, 2018. 10(6).
  8. Lin, H.P., et al., Dietary Cholesterol, Lipid Levels, and Cardiovascular Risk among Adults with Diabetes or Impaired Fasting Glucose in the Framingham Offspring Study. Nutrients, 2018. 10(6).
  9. Pourafshar, S., et al., Egg consumption may improve factors associated with glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in adults with pre- and type II diabetes. Food Funct, 2018. 9(8): p. 4469-4479.
  10. Fuller, N.R., et al., 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): p. 705-13.
  11. DiBella, M., et al., Choline Intake as Supplement or as a Component of Eggs Increases Plasma Choline and Reduces Interleukin-6 without Modifying Plasma Cholesterol in Participants with Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, 2020. 12(10).

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Make Every Bite Count – Information & Resources for Healthcare Professionals to Share with New Parents

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Make Every Bite Count:

Information & Resources for Healthcare Professionals to Share with New Parents

Katie Hayes, RDN

Eggs Across the Lifespan

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

At the Egg Nutrition Center, we commend Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and their unwavering commitment to science as they make practical recommendations to their patients and clients. Staying abreast of current evidence is critical as HCPs craft their guidance and education. 

In order to help HCPs offer their patients and clients comprehensive information on eggs as a first food for growth and development, allergy risk reduction, and feeding tips, we created “Make Every Bite Count” booklets (download here) and a poster (download here) that can be printed and shared. Why is this information important to share with parents and caregivers? Keep reading! 

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.1 This historic recommendation, coupled with the evolving evidence about infant feeding and allergen guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, arms practitioners with a clear message, “Parents can make every bite count by feeding eggs as a fundamental first food.”

In 2019, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their policy on the introduction of potentially allergenic complementary foods. Feeding common food allergens, such as eggs, when a baby is developmentally ready (between 4-6 months) may actually reduce the chances of developing an allergy to that food.2

Additionally, in their 2018 policy statement advocating for improving nutrition in the first 1,000 days, the AAP stated: “Although all nutrients are necessary for brain growth, key nutrients that support neurodevelopment include protein; zinc; iron; choline; folate; iodine; vitamins A, D, B6, and B12; and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Failure to provide key nutrients during this critical period of brain development may result in lifelong deficits in brain function despite subsequent nutrient repletion.”3

Eggs are affordable, accessible, and versatile. Eggs contain various amounts of all the nutrients listed by the AAP as essential for brain growth, including being an excellent source of choline, which plays a vital role in neurocognition during the first 1,000 days of life. With 90% of brain growth happening before kindergarten, eggs help make every bite count, especially when babies are just being introduced to solid foods. These recommendations 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. 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 lactating moms.

Eggs are a nutrient-dense powerhouse. They provide an excellent source of vitamin B12, biotin, iodine, selenium, and choline; a good source of high-quality protein, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid; as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.4

For more information and shareable handouts, videos, and more visit our materials page

  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. 
  2. Greer, F.R., S.H. Sicherer, and A.W. Burks, 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. 143(4).
  3. Schwarzenberg SJ, Georgieff MK. Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days to Support Childhood Development and Adult Health. Pediatrics, 2018. 141(2)
  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. 2019; Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/index.html. 

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FREE Class: First Steps to FEEDing Your Baby

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Nutrients in Eggs

To view the recorded class click here.

Handouts associated with the class can be accessed here and here

Once you have viewed the recorded class, please fill out this short survey

Do you work with new parents or caregivers looking for information on how to introduce solid foods to babies? Or maybe your family has welcomed a new addition and you’d like a refresher on “nutrition for baby” 101? Egg Enthusiasts and Registered Dietitians Sara Haas and Lara Field of FEED Nutrition Counseling discuss the basics of feeding babies in this free class. Lara breaks down the science of feeding new babies and provides expert tips on when and how to start solid foods, while Sara brings the conversation to the kitchen and shows how to put these concepts into practice.

Feel free to share this on-demand class with your clients and audiences!

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Free Webinar: Every Bite Counts – Nutrition During Pregnancy and Birth to 24 Months

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Mickey Rubin, PhD

Nutrients in Eggs

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

To view the recorded webinar click here.

Continuing education certificate can be found here.

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report includes for the first time dietary guidance for women who are pregnant and infants and toddlers from birth to 24 months of age, highlighting the importance of optimal nutrition during these life stages. Health professionals play a critical role in educating expectant mothers and the parents, guardians and caregivers that help shape dietary intake during for the first few years of life. This webinar will equip health professionals with clear and practical guidance for educating these groups on the latest research and key dietary recommendations from the Scientific Report.

After attending this webinar, the attendee will be able to:

  • Identify important nutrients and foods during pregnancy and birth to 24 months
  • Explain the importance of introducing potentially allergenic foods early and often
  • Describe practical ways to close nutrient gaps during pregnancy and birth to 24 months

This webinar has been approved by CDR for:
1.0 CEU

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Transitioning to Family Meals: Nutrient-Dense Foods for Infants and Toddlers

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Transitioning to Family Meals:

Nutrient-Dense Foods for Infants and Toddlers

Jen Houchins, PhD

Eggs Across the Lifespan

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

Key Messages

  • The 2020 DGAC says “every bite counts” when it comes to feeding infants and toddlers because it is a critical period for growth and development that is characterized by high nutrient needs in relation to the amount of food consumed.

  • The DGAC emphasizes offering developmentally appropriate forms of nutrient-rich animal- sourced 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.


 

While children develop at different rates and individual circumstances can influence feeding needs, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee summarizes, “A general principle is to view the period from ages 6 to 24 months as a continuous transition from diets appropriate for infants to diets that resemble family food patterns.”1

6 to 12 Months: Provide Complementary Foods with High Nutrient Density

During the first year of life, human milk or infant formula contribute a substantial proportion of total energy. When an infant is developmentally ready (around 4 to 6 months), complementary foods can be introduced.1

The 2020 DGAC recommends:

  • “…consumption of meat, egg, and seafood is an important strategy” for providing key nutrients such as iron, zinc, choline, and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • “Fortified infant cereals can contribute a substantial amount of some of these nutrients, particularly iron and zinc…”
  • “…fruits and vegetables…rich in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C…not only to provide adequate nutrition but also to foster acceptance of these healthy foods.”
  • “Introduction of peanut products and egg is advised…” to help reduce the risk of allergies to these foods and “to provide good sources of fatty acids and choline.”
  • “…diets at this age include no remaining energy for added sugars and little energy for added oils or added solid fats.”

12 to 24 Months: Continue to Provide a Variety of Complementary Foods and Beverages with High Nutrient Density

In their analysis for 12 to 24 months, the 2020 DGAC started with the same proportions in the 1,000 kcal pattern for 2 years and older and then adjusted in order to meet nutrient needs for toddlers. Guidance was provided for caregivers1:

  • “Provide a variety of animal-source foods (meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy),
    fruits, and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and whole grain products, beginning at ages 6 to 12 months and continuing thereafter…”
  • “For toddlers ages 12 to 24 months whose diets do not include meat, poultry, or seafood, provide eggs and dairy products on a regular basis, along with soy products and nuts or seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains and oils.”
  • “Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars during the first 2 years of life.”

Overall, these carefully crafted guidelines emphasize “every bite counts” – that is, infants and toddlers are not able to eat large amounts of food, but require significant amounts of essential nutrients during this critical period for growth and development.

Importantly, the 2020 DGAC provided examples of what infants and toddlers should eat, and suggest research is needed to better understand how infants and toddlers should be fed. The Scientific Report states, “Establishing healthy eating habits during the first 2 years of life is critical. Although the individual experience shapes food preferences (e.g., tastes), the collective modeling of food choices in young childhood through direct observation of food intake by peers and adults also is paramount.” This statement is supported by research that indicates caregivers can play an important role in helping to shape children’s eating habits by providing healthy food in the home and by modeling eating behaviors.2,3  In other words, one of the best ways to help baby learn to eat healthy is by providing nutrient-rich options for the entire family!

  1. 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

  2. Scaglioni, S., et al., Factors Influencing Children’s Eating Behaviours. Nutrients, 2018. 10(6).

  3. Yee, A.Z., M.O. Lwin, and S.S. Ho, The influence of parental practices on child promotive and preventive food consumption behaviors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 2017. 14(1): p. 47.

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Every Bite Counts: Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report Highlights Eggs as a Food that can Help Close Nutrient Gaps Across The Lifespan

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Every Bite Counts:

Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report Highlights Eggs as a Food that can Help Close Nutrient Gaps Across the Lifespan

Mickey Rubin, PhD

Nutrition Across the Lifespan

Nutrients in Eggs

This past July, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released their Scientific Report1 which will serve to inform the development of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans due out at the end of this year. The Committee examined the latest nutrition science using a life-stage approach, making dietary recommendations for Americans of all ages. Importantly, for the first time in the history of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, these recommendations will include guidance for children from birth to 2 years of age.

Contained within the Scientific Report were several important conclusions regarding the role of eggs in healthy diets across the lifespan. The Committee highlighted science supporting eggs as a fundamental first food for infants and toddlers. Eggs provide several nutrients noted as important during this time of rapid brain development including high-quality protein, choline, and iodine. The Committee’s thorough review of the science recognized eggs’ role in providing these critical nutrients, including eggs in recommendations from the very moment infants are ready for solid foods.

Choline is under-consumed by most Americans, but the Committee noted that this poses special challenges for infants, toddlers, and pregnant women. A recent survey commissioned by ENC showed low levels of awareness of choline among both new and expecting mothers and the health professionals who care for them. Over 70% of these moms and over 40% of OBGYNs and pediatricians were unfamiliar with choline. With less than 10% of pregnant women meeting the Adequate Intake, this lack of knowledge represents a barrier to adequate choline consumption.2 Importantly, in our survey dietitians had almost 90% awareness of choline. Clearly, dietitians should play an important role in closing this knowledge gap.

Related, the Scientific Report highlighted iodine as a nutrient of public health concern for pregnant women and as a nutrient important for infant brain development. Eggs are an excellent source of iodine, containing 20% of the Daily Value. As an excellent source of both choline and iodine, new and expecting moms would benefit greatly from education on the importance of including eggs in their diets to achieve recommendations and support brain development.

The Scientific Report also recommended early introduction of eggs to reduce the risk of egg allergy. This conclusion aligns with previous recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Given older, contradictory guidance to avoid early introduction of allergens, it will be especially important to provide clear guidance and education on this new recommendation.

The Scientific Report recognized that eggs can help Americans meet nutrient needs at all ages and move towards achieving healthier diet patterns. In children, the Committee identified the diet quality benefits if energy were to be redistributed from added sugars to the Protein Foods group – highlighting eggs as a preferred nutrient-dense option. In pre-teens and adolescents – particularly girls – eggs were encouraged for their protein and choline content. Older adults were noted for poor nutritional status related to protein and vitamin B12, two nutrients for which eggs provide greater than 10% of the Daily Value. Eggs also were identified as one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, a nutrient of public health concern for all Americans.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report represents a tremendous step forward in our understanding of the science on healthy eating. We look forward to the release of the Dietary Guidelines later this year which will provide the latest information to nutrition and health professionals about how to build healthy diets and how eggs, as a nutrient-dense food, contribute to health and wellbeing at every age and life stage in a variety of ways.

  1. 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
  2. Wallace, T.C. and V.L. Fulgoni, Usual Choline Intakes Are Associated with Egg adn Protein food Consumption in the United States. Nutrients, 2017. 9(8).

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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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What are the nutritional differences for different types of eggs?

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What are the Nutritional Differences for Different Types of Eggs?

Nutrients in Eggs

There are some common misconceptions about the nutritional value of different types of eggs. For example, some people have the impression that brown eggs are nutritionally superior to white eggs, or that cage-free or free-range eggs are nutritionally superior to conventional eggs. In reality, none of these is true unless the hens’ diets have been altered.

Brown eggs come from hens with brown feathers and brown earlobes, and white eggs come from hens with white feathers and white earlobes, but the nutritional composition of those eggs is the same. Similarly, label claims such as “Cage-Free,” “Pasture-Raised,” “Enriched Colony,” “Free-Range,” “Conventional” and even “Organic” simply refer to the way the eggs were farmed and unless the feed is fortified (see below), do not denote meaningful nutritional differences.

The cost of one type of egg relative to another type of egg is also not an indicator of nutritional value; it is a reflection of the farming method used to produce the egg (or in the case of brown eggs, it is because the birds are slightly larger and require more food).

Yolk color is dependent on the hen’s diet, and specifically, carotenoid intake.  Carotenoids are color pigments that give egg yolks their yellow-orange hue.  Hen feed (regardless of the farming method) can be enhanced with carotenoids via carotenoid-rich extracts such as marigold which can lead to a darker yolk.

The only way to produce eggs with higher levels of nutrients is by feeding the hens that lay the eggs a diet of nutritionally fortified feed. In such cases, the eggs are marketed as nutrient- or nutritionally enhanced, and their packaging will specify nutrient content. For example, certain eggs may be enriched with omega-3 fatty acids or higher levels of vitamin D. When in doubt, always check the Nutrition Facts label on the carton.

Different types of eggs are available in order to accommodate people’s preferences and budgets. But at the end of the day, from a nutrition perspective, all eggs are nutrient-rich and can be part of healthy dietary patterns. And, unless they have been nutritionally enhanced, all eggs have the same essential nutrients— regardless of the shell color of the egg or the way the egg was farmed.

Please see the Egg Nutrition Center’s labeling handout for more details, and other common terms on egg cartons.  Regardless of the hen’s diet or farming method, egg farmers are committed to providing high-quality eggs, making the health and well-being of their hens top-priority, and continue to be dedicated to supporting sustainable eating patterns.

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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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What are the nutritional differences for different types of eggs?

M Types Of Eggs 1125x1125

What are the nutritional differences for different types of eggs?

Jen Houchins, PhD

Nutrients in Eggs

There are some common misconceptions about the nutritional value of different types of eggs. For example, some people have the impression that brown eggs are nutritionally superior to white eggs, or that cage-free or free-range eggs are nutritionally superior to conventional eggs. In reality, none of these is true unless the hens’ diets have been altered.

Brown eggs come from hens with brown feathers and brown earlobes, and white eggs come from hens with white feathers and white earlobes, but the nutritional composition of those eggs is the same. Similarly, label claims such as “Cage-Free,” “Pasture-Raised,” “Enriched Colony,” “Free-Range,” “Conventional” and even “Organic” simply refer to the way the eggs were farmed and unless the feed is fortified (see below), do not denote meaningful nutritional differences.

The cost of one type of egg relative to another type of egg is also not an indicator of nutritional value; it is a reflection of the farming method used to produce the egg (or in the case of brown eggs, it is because the birds are slightly larger and require more food).

Yolk color is dependent on the hen’s diet, and specifically, carotenoid intake.  Carotenoids are color pigments that give egg yolks their yellow-orange hue.  Hen feed (regardless of the farming method) can be enhanced with carotenoids via carotenoid-rich extracts such as marigold which can lead to a darker yolk.

The only way to produce eggs with higher levels of nutrients is by feeding the hens that lay the eggs a diet of nutritionally fortified feed. In such cases, the eggs are marketed as nutrient- or nutritionally enhanced, and their packaging will specify nutrient content. For example, certain eggs may be enriched with omega-3 fatty acids or higher levels of vitamin D. When in doubt, always check the Nutrition Facts label on the carton.

Different types of eggs are available in order to accommodate people’s preferences and budgets. But at the end of the day, from a nutrition perspective, all eggs are nutrient-rich and can be part of healthy dietary patterns. And, unless they have been nutritionally enhanced, all eggs have the same essential nutrients— regardless of the shell color of the egg or the way the egg was farmed.

Please see the Egg Nutrition Center’s labeling handout for more details, and other common terms on egg cartons.  Regardless of the hen’s diet or farming method, egg farmers are committed to providing high-quality eggs, making the health and well-being of their hens top-priority, and continue to be dedicated to supporting sustainable eating patterns.

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