The Role of Eggs in the Diet

The nutritional contribution of eggs to a diet is determined by the per capita consumption profile of a given country. In countries such as Japan, with the highest per capita egg consumption, eggs play an important role as a source of nutrients, while in countries such as India, with very low per capita consumption, their role is minor. Worldwide there are many misperceptions and myths regarding eggs, which influence consumption patterns (Table 8).

Eggs are a nutrient-dense source of many EAA, vitamins, and minerals, and, as shown in Figure 1, eggs contribute a number of nutrients to the American diet in amounts proportionally greater than their caloric contributions. While providing only 1.3% of the calories, they provide nine different nutrients in amounts ranging from 2% to 6% of the DRI. Such nutrient-dense foods can play an

Table 8 Common myths and misperceptions about eggs

Myth

Fact

Brown eggs are healthier than white eggs; fertile eggs have less or no cholesterol; free-range eggs have more nutritional value than commercial eggs

Eggs contain the hormones they give the hen to force her to lay eggs when there isn't a rooster around

Eggs contain the antibiotics they give hens to increase the number of eggs they'll lay

Eggs in the store are a mixture of fertile and non-fertile eggs; that stringy stuff is the embryo

Eating eggs can cause liver problems Eggs with blood or meat spots are fertilized or are bad

If an egg floats in water, it is bad

There are no substantive nutritional differences between white eggs, brown eggs, fertile eggs, and free-range eggs; nutritional content is determined by the hen's diet Hens are not given hormones to produce eggs in the absence of a rooster; hens lay eggs with or without a rooster; there are no harmful hormones in eggs Antibiotics have no effect on egg production and there is no value in using them unless needed for therapeutic reasons Commercial eggs are not fertile (can be included in a lactoovo- or ovo-vegetarian diet); that stringy stuff (chalaza) is an egg protein that anchors the yolk in the centre of the egg No study has ever shown that eggs cause liver problems The tiny meat or blood spot is caused by the rupture of a blood vessel during egg formation; it has no adverse effect on the egg and can be either removed or eaten As an egg ages the air sac expands and an egg will stand on end in water; this is not a sign that the egg is bad

Additional information and facts can be obtained from the American Egg Board Eggcyclopedia. (http://www.aeb.org/).

Iron Zinc Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin B6 Vitamin E Vitamin A Riboflavin Protein Kcal r

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