Eggs are a natural whole food, packed full of protein, vitamins and nutrients that are essential for maintaining every day good health.
Whole foods are foods that are closest to their natural state, including unprocessed fruit, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, whole fish skinless poultry and lean red meat. Research shows that dietary patterns that include more whole foods results in higher nutrient intake and an increased quantity of antioxidants.
What is the NZ MInistry of Health agreed statement on eggs?
Eggs are a healthy, natural whole food that the New Zealand Ministry of Health Eating and Activity Guidelines state can be enjoyed by most people every day of the week
What does “most people can enjoy eggs every day “ mean – how do you define most?
It is difficult to state a universal guideline for all people as individuals have a wide array of health conditions and diets.The guideline covers the majority of the population ,ie most people can enjoy eggs every day. The key exceptions to this are;
- For those at increased risk of heart disease the NZ Heart Foundation recommends no more than six to seven eggs per week (ref 2). This means an egg a day is fine.
- The small percentage of the population classed as hyper-responders are particularly susceptible to dietary cholesterol having an impact. People concerned about this should consult with their health care professional
What are the Ministry of Health Eating Guidelines?
Agreed guidelines by a panel of New Zealand experts outlining the best diet for maintaining health based on current evidence. Within the guidelines there is plenty of flexibility to meet most people’s specific needs. For good health, the NZ Ministry of Health recommends at least 2 servings of legumes, nuts or seeds a day or at least one serving of fish/seafood, eggs, poultry or red meat a day.(ref 1)
The guidelines define one egg as one serving so at least an egg a day can be enjoyed by most people every day as part of a variety of food choices from this food group
Why are eggs so good for us?
Eggs are a highly nutritious food that can make an important contribution to a healthy, well balanced diet. They are a natural source of at least 11 different vitamins and minerals as well as high quality protein, omega-3 fats and antioxidants. (ref 7). An egg on average contains 6 .7 grams of protein, 274 kJ (65 calories) of energy and 1.1 grams of saturated fat (59.7 g egg . Ref 7 )
Eggs have the highest nutritional quality protein of all food sources = 6.7g per size 6 egg
Protein is a source of energy, but its main role in the body is growth and repair.It helps in the formation of muscles, hair, nails, skin and organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver. The protein found in eggs is considered to be of the highest quality, providing the right amount and balance of essential amino acids to match human requirements.
What is the nutritional analysis of raw New Zealand hen eggs?
|Nutrient||Two medium eggs (120g)||% Recommended Daily Intake (male-female)|
|Energy (kJ)||548||4 – 5%|
|Protein (g)||13.4||20 – 29%|
|Saturated fat (g)||2.2|
|Monounsaturated fat (g)||3.8|
|Polyunsaturated fat (g)||0.8|
|Iron (mg)||1.8||22 – 10%|
|Selenium (ug)||24||34 – 40%|
|Zinc (mg)||1.0||7 – 12.5%|
|Vitamin B12 (ug)||1.6||66%|
|Vitamin A (ug) (Retinol)||228||25 – 32%|
Food composition ref: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 12 th Edition 2017. 2. Food composition. 3. Databases. 4. New Zealand. I. Sivakumaran, Subathira. II. Huffman, Lee. III. Sivakumaran, Sivalingam IV. The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited. V. Ministry of Health.%RDI
RDI ref: National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council; 2006.
Male; 31 – 50 years (PAL 1.8,ht 1.8m, wt 71.3kg). Female; 31 – 50 years (PAL 1.8, ht – 1.7m, wt 63.6kg)
Eggs contain these essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, naturally:
Vitamin D – important in bone health
Vitamin B5 – releases energy from our food for our body to use
Vitamin B12 – for brain and nervous system functions and blood formation
Vitamin A – for growth and eye health
Vitamin E – antioxidant to protect our bodies against disease
Iodine – to ensure proper function of our thyroid gland
Phosphorous – helps build strong bones and teeth
Iron – to produce haemoglobin which carries oxygen around our bodies
Thiamine – to turn carbohydrates into energy our body can use
Zinc – helps in growth, wound healing, blood formation and maintenance of tissues
Selenium – antioxidant which protects our body and immune system
Folate – for growth and maintenance of healthy cells
Biotin – helps cell metabolism and the utilisation of fats, proteins and carbohydrates
Calcium – for building and maintain bones and teeth
Lecithin – contains acetylcholine which has been proven to help brain function
Choline – important in many metabolic processes, including thoseof the liver, heart and brain
Lutein – important for eye health
What about Cholesterol?
Studies conducted in healthy people show no effect of daily egg intake on blood cholesterol levels. (ref 3- 5). In addition, the latest scientific evidence shows no association between increased intake of dietary cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease or stroke (ref 6)
The NZ Heart Foundation advise “A prudent recommendation is a limit of six to seven eggs per week for people at increased risk of heart disease.” (ref 2)
What about Saturated Fat?
The NZ Ministry of Health Guidelines recommend limiting foods high in saturated fat (ref 1). Eggs contain only 1.1 grams of saturated fat per egg (59.7 g egg; ref 7)
Can kids and older people eat eggs every day?
Due to their high quality protein and 11 vitamins and minerals, eggs are a great choice for kids and those over 60 and can be enjoyed by most people every day
- Ministry of Health. 2015. Eating and Activity Guidelines for New Zealand Adults. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
- Heart Foundation. 2015. Evidence Paper: Eggs and the Heart. Auckland, New Zealand: Heart Foundation.
- Katz, D.L., et al., Egg consumption and endothelial function: a randomized controlled crossover trial. Int J Cardiol, 2005. 99(1): p. 65-70.
- Rueda, J.M. and P. Khosla, Impact of breakfasts (with or without eggs) on body weight regulation and blood lipids in university students over a 14-week semester. Nutrients, 2013. 5(12): p. 5097-113
- Clayton, Z.S., et al., Influence of Resistance Training Combined with Daily Consumption of an Egg-based or Bagel-based Breakfast on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases in Healthy Untrained Individuals. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2015. 34(2): p. 113-9.
- Berger, S., et al., Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2015. 102(2): p. 276-94.
- SIVAKUMARAN, Subathira The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 12 th Edition 2017. S. Sivakumaran, L Huffman, S. Sivakumaran, Palmerston North, New Zealand. The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited and Ministry of Health, 2017.