Chart: U.S. Egg Prices Hit Record High As Resurgent Bird Flu Dents Production

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Chart: Egg Prices Sky-High As Breakfast Inflation Pressures American Households

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How Eating Eggs Can Boost Heart Health

Researchers have shown how moderate egg consumption can increase the amount of heart-healthy metabolites in the blood, publishing their results in eLife.

The findings suggest that eating up to one egg per day may help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain a variety of essential nutrients. There is conflicting evidence as to whether egg consumption is beneficial or harmful to heart health. A 2018 study published in the journal Heart, which included approximately half a million adults in China, found that those who ate eggs daily (about one egg per day) had a substantially lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who ate eggs less frequently*. Now, to better understand this relationship, the authors of this work have carried out a population-based study exploring how egg consumption affects markers of cardiovascular health in the blood.

“Few studies have looked at the role that plasma cholesterol metabolism plays in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, so we wanted to help address this gap,” explains first author Lang Pan, MSc at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Peking University, Beijing, China.

Pan and the team selected 4,778 participants from the China Kadoorie Biobank, of whom 3,401 had a cardiovascular disease and 1,377 did not. They used a technique called targeted nuclear magnetic resonance to measure 225 metabolites in plasma samples taken from the participants’ blood. Of these metabolites, they identified 24 that were associated with self-reported levels of egg consumption.

Their analyses showed that individuals who ate a moderate amount of eggs had higher levels of a protein in their blood called apolipoprotein A1- a building-block of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as ‘good lipoprotein’. These individuals especially had more large HDL molecules in their blood, which help clear cholesterol from the blood vessels and thereby protect against blockages that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

The researchers further identified 14 metabolites that are linked to heart disease. They found that participants who ate fewer eggs had lower levels of beneficial metabolites and higher levels of harmful ones in their blood, compared to those who ate eggs more regularly.

“Together, our results provide a potential explanation for how eating a moderate amount of eggs can help protect against heart disease,” says author Canqing Yu, Associate Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Peking University. “More studies are needed to verify the causal roles that lipid metabolites play in the association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

“This study may also have implications for Chinese national dietary guidelines,” adds senior author Liming Li, Boya Distinguished Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Peking University. “Current health guidelines in China suggest eating one egg a day, but data indicate that the average consumption is lower than this. Our work highlights the need for more strategies to encourage moderate egg consumption among the population, to help lower the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Source: Science Daily

‘Cage-Free’ Is Basically Meaningless, and Other Lies Your Egg Carton Is Telling You

Claire Lower wrote . . . . . . . . .

Eggs are both simple and complex. They’re one of the easiest foods you can learn how to cook, but can be prepared in a seemingly endless amount of interesting and complex ways. From a chemical perspective, they are absolutely bonkers, packed with all sorts of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and (some) minerals. And, with two distinct portions, they’re practically a two-for-one food.

Eggs come from chickens, the diet and treatment of which can also affect the taste and nutritional content of the egg. All the language you see printed on a carton of eggs is supposedly there to help you make your egg-related purchasing decisions, but some of those words are more helpful than others.

Egg words that mean absolutely nothing

These are the words you should ignore, as they are mere marketing terms with no real value.

  • Fresh or Farm Fresh: Even if the eggs were processed, packaged, and shipped out the moment they exited the chicken, this phrase would lose meaning with each passing moment. (The FDA grading system accounts for freshness anyway. More on that in a moment.)
  • Natural: No egg is unnatural — that is the nature of eggs.
  • Hormone-Free or No Added Hormones: The FDA banned the use of added hormones in egg-producing chickens over 60 years ago. Hormones are found in all living things but, according to upcertified.com, “no growth or production hormones are ever fed to pullets (younger hens) being grown to be egg-laying hens nor during the egg-laying period.”

Egg words that technically mean something but aren’t that helpful

These are words and phrases that may be technically correct, but shouldn’t necessarily influence you when buying eggs.

  • Brown: This tells you is the color of the eggshell, which you can figure out on your own if you open the carton. Shell color has no effect on taste or nutritional value.
  • Omega-3: The chicken that laid the egg ate something that contained omega-3 fatty acids, but that does not guarantee a significant amount of that acid made its way into the egg.
  • Cage Free: The birds that laid these eggs weren’t kept in cages, but that doesn’t mean they ever went outside, or weren’t crammed into an overpopulated barn.
  • Fertile: These chickens fucked. (There is no proven nutritional benefit to this.)

Egg words that could actually tell you something about the egg (or the chicken that laid it)

Finally, some helpful information!

  • Free Range: According to certifiedhumane.org, the USDA’s requirement for “Free Range” is “outdoor access” or “access to the outdoors.” “In some cases, this can mean access only through a “pop hole,” with no full-body access to the outdoors and no minimum space requirement.” If, however, your eggs come with the HFAC’s Certified Humane® “Free Range” label, that means the hens had access to two square feet of outside space per bird, and were outside for at least six hours per day, weather permitting.
  • Pasture Raised: Similar to “Free Range” there is no strict legal definition of this term, but the HFAC Certified Humane® “Pasture Raised” requirement is very precise. If you see this label, it means that there were no more than “1000 birds per 2.5 acres (108 sq. ft. per bird),” and that the fields they lived in were rotated. According to certifiedhumane.org, “The hens must be outdoors year-round, with mobile or fixed housing where the hens can go inside at night to protect themselves from predators, or for up to two weeks out of the year, due only to very inclement weather.”
  • Pesticide-Free: Pesticides weren’t used to grow the food the chickens eat.
  • Vegetarian: The chickens did not eat any meat, but this means they did not eat any worms, which means they were not pecking around outside in the dirt.
  • No Antibiotics: According to The Atlantic, “this labeling term means that farmers used no antibiotics in the hens’ feed or water during growing periods or while hens are laying the eggs.” This doesn’t have an immediate effect on the quality or flavor of the egg you’re eating, but buying eggs that were produced without the use of antibiotics supports farmers who “are losing some of them to disease in service of the greater idea that antibiotic overuse leads to superbugs.” In other words: Fewer antibiotics lead to fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are not the kind of bacteria you want to encourage.

What about “organic”?

According to organicconsumers.org the USDA’s “National Organic Program,” requires that organic eggs “come from chickens that are raised cage-free, fed an organic diet grown without pesticides, managed without antibiotics and hormones, and have seasonal access to the outdoors.” But things can get tricky when it comes to outdoor access.

The farms that “organic” eggs come from can look wildly different. Some hens do indeed get to live a life that looks like something out of a child’s storybook, foraging around in the soil and sun, while others spend most of their lives in barns, taking their “outdoor” time on porches.

That could change, however, as the Biden administration is reconsidering the previous administration’s interpretation that the USDA doesn’t have the authority to mandate animal welfare conditions. This would “disallow the use of porches as outdoor space in organic production over time.”

It is worth noting, however, that some experts, like the Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine interviewed by PBS for the segment above, argue that keeping hens in enclosures such as porches is safer, as it prevents them from being infected by wild birds.

If you are concerned about the amount (and type) of space egg-producing hens have, you can consult the Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Scorecard, which rates egg brands with the “organic” label on a scale from one to five eggs based on access to outdoor space, amount of indoor and outdoor space, pasture rotation, and transparency.

Size and grading

Two of the most common and easily understood markings you’ll find on a carton of eggs are its grade and size. The according to the USDA, There are three consumer grades for eggs:

United States (U.S.) Grade AA, A, and B. The grade is determined by the interior quality of the egg and the appearance and condition of the egg shell. Eggs of any quality grade may differ in weight (size). U.S. Grade AA eggs have whites that are thick and firm; yolks that are high, round, and practically free from defects; and clean, unbroken shells.

Freshness also plays a role in determining the grade, with the USDA simply stating that only the “freshest and highest quality eggs will receive a Grade AA.” All whole eggs sold in grocery stores are almost always Grade A or AA; Grade B eggs are sold a dried, frozen, and dried egg products.

Egg sizes range all the way from “peewee” to “jumbo,” with the size being determined by the average weight of a dozen:

  • Peewee eggs must be a minimum of 15 ounces per dozen.
  • Small eggs must be a minimum of 18 ounces per dozen.
  • Medium eggs must be a minimum of 21 ounces per dozen.
  • Large eggs must be a minimum of 24 ounces per dozen.
  • Extra-large eggs must be a minimum of 27 ounces per dozen.
  • Jumbo eggs must be a minimum of 30 ounces per dozen.

Most eggs sold in grocery stores are large or extra-large, though it is possible to find a medium egg in a carton that is labeled “large,” as long as the average weight of all 12 eggs works out to 24 ounces or greater.

If all of this seems like too much to remember, you can always build a coop and raise your own hens, or source your eggs from a local farm. The yolks in local farm eggs have a darker color and richer flavor than factory farmed eggs, and come with a nice smug feeling of moral superiority. (My favorite eggs come from my dad’s chickens, but Vital Farms, which is rated very highly on ol’ Organic Egg Scorecard, are a very close second).

Source: lifehacker

Study: Let Babies Eat Eggs to Avoid Egg Allergy Later

Robert Preidt wrote . . . . . . . . .

Feeding eggs to infants could reduce their risk of egg allergy later on, new research suggests.

For the study, researchers at the University at Buffalo in New York, analyzed U.S. government data from more than 2,200 parents who were surveyed about their children’s eating habits and food allergies from birth to 6 years of age.

“We found that children who hadn’t had egg introduced by 12 months were more likely to have egg allergy at 6 years,” said lead author Dr. Giulia Martone, who is scheduled to present the findings at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), in New Orleans.

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Among the more than 2,200 parents surveyed, 0.6% reported an egg allergy in their children at 1 year of age, the study found. Of the more than 1,400 parents who reported food allergy data on their children until age 6, 0.8% reported an egg allergy at that age.

Children with egg allergy at ages 1 and 6 ate fewer eggs at 5, 6, 7 and 10 months of age than those without egg allergy, the researchers reported.

“Egg allergy is the second most common food allergy throughout the world,” senior author Dr. Xiaozhong Wen said in an ACAAI news release.

“Current evidence suggests that early introduction of egg during infancy, followed by consistent and frequent feedings, seems protective against development of egg allergy. We are still investigating optimal timing of infant egg introduction and frequency of feeding,” Wen said.

The allergy-prevention strategy is a familiar one. Since 2017, allergists and pediatricians have said that parents should introduce peanut product to children around the time they begin eating solid foods to reduce the risk of peanut allergy.

Source: HealthDay