Experts Now Say - Eggs are OK Everyday

Young school kids eating eggs for breakfast image

By Sharon Natoli, APD, Food & Nutrition Australia

Eggs are one of nature’s true super foods, providing 11 different vitamins and minerals along with omega-3s, antioxidants and the highest quality protein.

However, despite their impressive nutrition credentials, eggs have long been the subject of lingering misconceptions. It is therefore reassuring to know that after reviewing the latest science supporting the role of eggs in a healthy diet, experts agree – eggs are OK every day.

This advice comes from the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia’s peak national body for nutrition advice. When developing the Australian Dietary Guidelines1 and reviewing the scientific evidence as part of the process, the NHMRC found there do not appear to be any increased health risks associated with consumption of eggs. They also found there is recent evidence to suggest that consumption of eggs every day is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

The Guidelines further state that eggs are an economical, versatile source of protein and nutrients which can be enjoyed regularly as part of a healthy balanced diet.

So in answer to the common question ‘how many eggs can I eat in a week?’ the answer is that eggs can be eaten every day!

A cracking fact! The Australian Dietary Guidelines maintain that the everyday consumption of eggs is not associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease!

Why eat eggs?

Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food which means they contain a high percentage of vitamins and minerals in comparison to the energy (kilojoules) they provide.
In fact, just one serve of eggs contains more than 10% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for over 11 essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and E, iodine, selenium, iron, and folate. They also provide 25% of the RDI for protein for adults and a useful amount of long chain omega 3 fatty acids as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to be linked to the prevention of eye disease2. To top it off, eggs are quick and easy to cook and are very economical, making them the perfect meal base for any occasion.

How to include eggs in a healthy eating pattern

As eggs are part of the food group that also includes lean meat and poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, and legumes/beans it’s important to consider choosing a variety of foods from this food group throughout the week. This increases the chance you’ll be getting a good variety of important nutrients.

The amounts recommended from this food group vary depending on age and gender. The following table highlights this.

Age  Gender  Serves per day
2-3 years
Girls and boys
1
 4-8 years
Girls and boys  1½ 
 9-18 years
Girls and boys  2½ 
19-50 years  Men 
19-50 years  Women  2½ 
51 years+  Men  2½ 
51 years+  Women 
Pregnancy  Women  3½ 
Breastfeeding  Women  2½ 

Find out more about your specific needs here

Eggs for Specific Groups

Eggs are perfect for almost everyone but they’re particularly valuable for the following groups of people:

Kids – eggs provide valuable protein, vitamin A and omega-3s along with a range of B vitamins that help release energy for growing bodies. They are also high in folate, a vitamin that is needed during rapid times of growth.

Pregnancy – eggs are one of the best sources of choline, a substance that plays an important role in foetal and infant brain development, as well as the maintenance of nerve and brain function in adults3. Eggs provide a significant amount of the recommendations for choline during pregnancy.

Older Australians – age-related changes in the functioning of the digestive system can mean older Australians have higher requirements for certain nutrients to meet their needs. Eggs are a nutritious choice for seniors providing valuable amounts of vitamins B12, A and E which have been shown to be low in the diets of many Australian seniors. Eggs also provide the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are important for eye health and for reducing the risk of macular degeneration4. They are also soft and easy to eat as well as being economical.

What about weight?

Research reveals eggs can play a fundamental role in weight management and have great potential as an inclusion in a weight loss diet due to their high protein content which in turn assists with satiety. Eating eggs for breakfast compared to a croissant or cereal based breakfast has been shown to increase satiety, reduce hunger and reduce the desire to eat. It’s also been shown to result in fewer calories being consumed over the course of the day5.

However don’t just think about eggs for breakfast! Having an egg-based lunch or dinner may reduce the temptation to snack on unhealthy foods between meals or late at night. Eggs also make for a nutritious snack to leave you feeling full, therefore limiting your tendency to over-indulge.

Fuel your eggs-ercise…

Weight management doesn’t depend on diet alone, with regular exercise being a crucial part of maintaining a healthy weight. Eggs are a great post- exercise option because not only are they easy to prepare, but the protein found in eggs will help to maintain and build muscle6.

Overall, it’s OK to eat eggs every day and to enjoy them as part of a healthy, balanced diet that includes a range of foods including fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, dairy foods, lean meat/fish/chicken/legumes and nuts and seeds.

For more information on eggs visit www.eggs.org.au
For health professionals, visit www.enc.org.au



References:

1. National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Dietary Guidelines. 2013, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing: Canberra.
2. Stringham, J.M., et al., The Influence of Dietary Lutein and Zeaxanthin on Visual Performance. Journal of Food Science, 2009. 75(1).
3. Zeisel, S.H. and K.A. da Costa, Choline: an essential nutrient for public health. Nutrition Reviews, 2009. 67(11): p. 615-23.
4. Ma, L. and X.M. Lin, Effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on aspects of eye health. J Sci Food Agric, 2010. 90(1): p. 2-12.
5. Fallaize, R., et al., Variation in the effects of three different breakfast meals on subjective satiety and subsequent intake of energy at lunch and evening meal. European Journal of Nutrition, 2013. 52(4): p. 1353-9.
6. Moore, D.R., et al., Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2009. 89(1): p. 161-168.