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

D Every Bite Counts Webinar 2098x963

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?

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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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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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Research Around the World

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Research Around the World

Eggs May Be an Important Part of the Solution for Mothers and Children

JEN HOUCHINS, PHD

Nutrients in Eggs

Nutritious Dietary Patterns

Childhood stunting impacts approximately 144 million children under the age of 5 around the world, a condition that “puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections; it is also associated with poor cognitive development.”1  Almost all stunting occurs within the first 1000 days of life,2 a period of rapid growth and development.  The impact of stunting can be lifelong, as cognitive and social development may also be impacted, so prevention is critical.  Improved nutrition is one factor that has the potential to positively impact growth and development for children, and around the world, current research demonstrates eggs may be part of the solution.3

In 2015, a randomized controlled trial was conducted in Cotopaxi Province, Ecuador to evaluate early introduction of eggs and the impact on growth in young children.  This intervention provided one egg per day to infants (beginning at 6 to 9 months of age) in the treatment group over a 6-month period.  The children in this egg treatment group had improved growth outcomes compared to the control, including a 47% decreased prevalence of stunting.4 

As a follow-up, another study was conducted in rural Malawi in order to evaluate if these initial results could be replicated in other populations at risk of stunting.5  Again, infants aged 6-9 months were randomized to an intervention of one egg per day, or a control group, over a 6-month period.  Although this intervention did increase reported egg consumption in the treatment group, there was no impact on linear growth and no effect on stunting prevalence.  The investigators noted that the children in Malawi had a higher mean baseline length-for-age than previously observed in this population, which might have limited the ability to measure a difference.  Importantly, though, fish consumption was very common in Malawi.  This is a significant difference between the Ecuador and Malawi studies, as the authors mention that in Ecuador, consumption of animal sourced foods other than the intervention eggs was low. 

Preliminary data from the study in Malawi also indicate that children who were in the egg intervention group consumed more choline as compared to the control group, although median intake levels remained below Adequate Intake levels.6  This observation raises new research questions, as a difference in physical growth was not detected in the intervention group that consumed eggs, but brain development and cognition were not measured.  Choline is one nutrient critical for brain health and development,7,8 and there is preliminary evidence that choline intake during pregnancy, and possibly lactation, could possibly have lasting beneficial neurocognitive impact.9,10  More research is needed, however, to evaluate how adequate choline intake might improve cognitive outcomes in children at risk of stunting.  Further, the study in Malawi indicates the combination of animal-sourced foods could be important in the context of interventions aimed at reducing risk of stunting in young children.

Overall, these studies build on existing evidence that eggs, and other animal sourced foods, have the potential to be an important part of the solution for sustainable nutrition for mothers and children around the world.

  1. United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals Report. 2020; Available from: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/The-Sustainable-Development-Goals-Report-2020.pdf.
  2. Black, R.E., et al., Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet, 2013. 382(9890): p. 427-451.
  3. Iannotti, L.L., et al., Eggs: the uncracked potential for improving maternal and young child nutrition among the world’s poor. Nutr Rev, 2014. 72(6): p. 355-68.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. Iannotti, L.L., et al., Eggs in Early Complementary Feeding and Child Growth: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics, 2017. 140(1).
  5. Stewart, C.P., et al., The effect of eggs on early child growth in rural Malawi: the Mazira Project randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr, 2019.
  6. Bragg, M., et al., Choline Intake in Malawian Children Aged 6–9 and 12–15 Months in an Egg Intervention Trial. Current Developments in Nutrition, 2020. 4(Supplement_2): p. 816-816.
  7. 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.
  8. Schwarzenberg, S.J. and M.K. Georgieff, Advocacy for Improving Nutrition in the First 1000 Days to Support Childhood Development and Adult Health. Pediatrics, 2018. 141(2).
  9. Wallace, T.C., et al., Choline: The Underconsumed and Underappreciated Essential Nutrient. Nutr Today, 2018. 53(6): p. 240-253.
  10. 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).

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4 Nutrients that are Vital for Healthy Aging

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4 Nutrients That Are Vital for Healthy Aging

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

Nutrients in Eggs

Cognition

The Egg Nutrition Center partnered with Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD to write this blog post.

September is Healthy Aging Month! No matter your age, it’s never too late to take charge of your health. Throughout the decades, several nutrients become more and more crucial to maintain physical and cognitive health. Luckily, including eggs in the daily diet is a good way to consume these vital nutrients. In fact, the American Heart Association recently provided recommendations for how eggs can fit into a heart healthy diet, and while an egg a day is recommended for most adults, AHA recommends up to two eggs per day for healthy older adults. Not to mention that eggs are affordable and easy to prepare, making them a great staple for anyone. Below are some nutrients in eggs that are beneficial for aging.

 

 

1. Choline

More than 90% of Americans fail to take in the recommended amount choline,1 and adults 71 and older  only consume about half the daily requirement.2 The adequate intake for people over 19 years old is 550 mg/day for men and 425 mg/day for women.

Research has found that low concentrations of free choline in the blood is associated with poor cognitive performance in older adults.3 In other words, consuming the recommended amount of daily choline can have potential cognitive benefits for older adults. Fortunately, two large eggs contain about 300mg of choline, or more than half of the recommended daily intake.

 

2. Lutein and zeaxanthin

These two carotenoids are plant compounds that have been shown to improve eye health, as well as cognitive function in older adults. Lutein and zeaxanthin are selectively taken up into the macula – the central area at the back of the eye. There, they make up the macular pigment, which provides the central vision necessary for activities like reading and driving. Studies suggest that lutein consumption improves age-related macular degeneration.

In addition, several studies suggest that lutein-rich foods may prevent or delay cognitive decline in the elderly.4  Eggs have both lutein and zeaxanthin, and eating eggs regularly has been associated with improved cognitive performance in adults.5 It’s important to point out that the lutein is found in the yolk, so make sure to recommend eating the whole egg!

 

3. Protein

People over the age of 30 can lose 3-8% of muscle mass per year, and the rate of decline is even more significant after the age of 60. Not only are muscles important for exercise and physical activity, but they are also necessary for everyday tasks, like picking something up off the ground or opening a jar. In other words, maintaining muscle mass throughout the years helps you stay strong and healthy.

Eating enough protein is an important element of muscle mass with a minimum requirement of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 per pound of body weight) each day. One large egg has 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids. Plus it’s easy to add to any meal since it cooks in minutes.

 

4. Vitamin D

Although many recognize calcium as a mineral essential to bone health, Vitamin D also plays a crucial role. Vitamin D contributes to bone formation and mineralization, and Vitamin D deficiency is associated with osteoporosis in seniors.6

The main source of Vitamin D is the sun, but absorption is limited based on time spent outdoors, skin tone and weather. Vitamin D isn’t naturally present in many foods, but two large eggs have about 12% of the daily value!

 

 

No matter the month, it’s always a good choice to add eggs to your diet. With their rich nutrient profile, ease of preparation and affordability, eggs are a go-to staple for everyone. Add a dozen eggs to your grocery list today to make the most of Healthy Aging Month!

 

  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. Choline, Memory & Cognitive Development. The Choline Information Council website. http://cholinecouncil.com/consumer/cognitive_development.php. Accessed May 23, 2019.

  3. Nurk E, Refsum H, Bjelland I, et al. Plasma free choline, betaine and cognitive performance: the Hordaland Health Study. Br J Nutr. 2013;109:511–519.

  4. Hammond BR, et al. Effects of lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation on the cognitive function of community dwelling older adults: A randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial. Front Aging Neurosci [Internet]. 2017 Aug 3;9.)

  5. Ylilauri MPT, 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.2016;105:476-484.

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776629

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