Nutrition Unscrambled

Egg consumption as part of an energy-restricted high-protein diet improves

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
July 28th, 2011

Many health professionals and consumers have upon occasion admitted to me that they thought “the egg got a bad rap” during the 1980s and 90s, when eggs were seen as an icon for dietary and serum cholesterol. They are often proud to say that they personally defied common wisdom by continuing to consume eggs. As scientific technology improved and confounding variables were better controlled, scientific findings and dietary guidance moved away from looking at egg intake as a risk factor and now focuses on the many nutritional benefits of consuming eggs. However, one curious association has continued to plague the egg. Epidemiological findings have shown, at times, an association between egg intake and cardiovascular disease in the diabetic population. No mechanism has been identified to explain this association however, the fact that eggs are often accompanied by a high saturated fat, high refined carbohydrate and sedentary lifestyle may have made egg intake in this population an artifact or marker of poorly controlled diabetes.

Fortunately, a recently published study in the British Journal of Nutrition by Pearce, Clifton and Noakes (Br J Nutr, Feb 2011, 105(4):584-92) attempted to assess the effect of egg intake on biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in free living overweight diabetic adults who have been instructed to eat a high protein, calorie restricted diet with either 2 eggs a day or a substitute source of animal protein. Sixty five subjects, average age of 60 years completed the 12 week study. All consumed 1400 calories/d with a macronutrient distribution of 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, 30% fat. Subjects were allowed to continue taking diabetic and lipid lowering medication as prescribed by their physician. The treatment group received 2 eggs/day with an average cholesterol intake of 590mg of cholesterol while the control group received a similar quantity of protein from chicken, meat or fish without eggs and an average cholesterol intake of 214mg/day.

As one would expect, both groups that consumed a high protein, calorie restricted diet, lost an average of about 6 kg or 13 pounds. The key finding was that a diet high in dietary cholesterol from eggs did not adversely affect blood lipids or cardiovascular disease risk in adults with type 2 diabetes. In fact, a diet high in dietary cholesterol from eggs improved several biomarkers of health including increased blood levels of HDL, lutein and folate more effectively than the isoenergetic diet which included alternative animal sources of protein. The authors conclude “These results suggest that a high protein energy restricted diet high in cholesterol from eggs may have nutritional benefits and assist in metabolic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.” Many of us knew it all along.

“Kids LiveWell” Aims to Improve Eating Habits in Children through Healthier Restaurant Options

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
July 22nd, 2011

Family meals seem to be becoming more popular again; however they have a new face.  Many families are sitting together, but not at home. They are dining out in restaurants.   New measures are being taken to help the consumers make better choices.  “Kids LiveWell” was released this past week by the National Restaurant Association (NRA).  It is a new nationwide initiative that provides parents and children with a growing selection of healthful menu options when dining out.

Registered Dietitians assisted the restaurants in creating the choices for the kids menu and the restaurants are offering and promoting a variety of items that meet the qualifications.  The qualifying criteria are based on leading health organizations’ scientific recommendations, including the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Full Kids’ Meals (entrée, side option and beverage):

  • 600 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 770 mg of sodium
  • 2 or more food groups (see below)

Kids LiveWell Nutrition Criteria for Side Items:

  • 200 calories or less
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
  • ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
  • < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
  • ≤ 35% of calories from total sugars (added and naturally occurring)
  • ≤ 250 mg of sodium
  • 1 food group (see below)

Entrees must include two sources & sides must include one source of the following:

  • Fruit: > ½ cup = 1 star (includes 100% juice)
  • Vegetable: > ½ cup = 1 star
  • Whole grains: contains whole grains = 1 star
  • Lean protein (skinless white meat poultry, fish/seafood, beef, pork, tofu, beans, egg whites/substitute): > 2 ounces meat, 1 egg equivalent, 1 oz nuts/seeds/dry bean/peas = 1 star (lean as defined by USDA)
  • Lower-fat dairy (1% or skim milk and dairy): > ½ cup = 1 star (while not considered low-fat, 2% milk is allowed if included in the meal and the meal still fits the full meal criteria)

Healthy Dining Finder has listed the “Inaugural Leaders” and new restaurants are going to be added weekly.   There are a variety of options for children.  Admittedly, it would have been nice if more eggs were included. Packed full of nutrients and affordable, eggs would be a great option for restaurants and parents.  Upon review, I only noted one restaurant had a regular egg option at breakfast.  The majority had egg white or substitute as related to the criteria of lean protein.  It is possible that a restaurant could include an egg if they were able to meet other criteria, but it could be difficult based on the food selection that a particular restaurant may have.

I personally see some benefits to this program.  Often the caloric content of adult meals is underestimated, as are kids meals. I think this awareness is a step in the right direction.  However from my previous experiences in working with families, I know that it often does not work for one person in the family to eat differently that the rest.  Will this help others in the family choose healthier choices?  If the adults or older teens are eating the high calorie, high fat options; what does this say to the child?  Perhaps more adults will utilize the Healthy Dining Finder website, not just for their kids but for themselves.

CFBAI Releases its Uniform Nutrition Standards

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
July 20th, 2011

I think it’s a natural instinct to want to give your child a good start to life. In doing so, one tries to select and prepare healthy foods which will start the child on a path toward becoming a strong and healthy adult. However, the days of preparing foods from scratch are gone. Today’s parents are challenged to balance the benefits of convenience with those of nutrition and cost. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more difficult to make an informed selection in a marketplace that is stocked with foods screaming healthy claims but are not really nutrient dense.

In this regard, the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) has made a first attempt to establish uniform standards for marketing and advertising to kids by member companies. Previously all member companies had their own standards so this move toward uniform standards will give parents some assurance that the food they choose is not packed with unnecessary excesses in sodium, sugar, saturated and trans- fats. The standards affect foods in the following categories: dairy; grains; fruits and vegetables; soups and meal sauces; seeds; nuts, nut butters and spreads; meat, fish and poultry; mixed dishes; and prepared main dishes and meals, such as macaroni and cheese, with each category having its own criteria. If approved, the new CFBAI standards, will affect at least 1/3 of the products now advertised as food for children requiring them to improve their nutrient profile.

Since taste sells, prepared foods have often increased their appeal at the expense of health. This has led to a backlash against prepared foods, which have been blamed for many of our societies’ ills. In fact, it is not the technology but the competitive need to attract the largest market that is the problem. By instituting the agreement, foods designed for children will be more like the food that we would have made if we had had the time and skill to prepare them. This agreement, although not as strict as those recommended by the Interagency Working Group earlier this year, can help children to appreciate the taste of nutrient dense foods so they can grow up to be adults who appreciate the taste of simple flavors and voluntarily limit excessive intake.

 Take a look at these other articles on the recent news:

  • ABC News: Companies Propose Curbing Junk Food Ads for Kids
  • US News & World Report: Food Industry Sets Standards for Advertising to Kids
  •  LA Times: Consumer Confidential: New limit on food ads, ‘cramming’ is costly, Spotify arrives

Historic Agreement Hatched

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
July 18th, 2011

Recently information was released regarding the proposed federal legislation that would affect all 280 million hens involved in US egg production. If passed into law it would be the first of its kind addressing the treatment of animals on farms.

 The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers are working together on this comprehensive new federal legislation.   Here is information directly UEP’s article of the proposed changes that would affect all 280 million hens involved in US egg production:

  • require conventional cages (currently used by more than 90 percent of the egg industry) to be replaced, through an ample phase-in period, with new, enriched housing systems that provide each hen nearly double the amount of space they’re currently allotted. Egg producers will invest an additional $4 billion over the next decade and a half to effect this industry-wide make-over;
  • require that all egg-laying hens be provided, through the new enriched housing system, with environments that will allow hens to express natural behaviors, such as perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas;
  • mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens,” “eggs from hens in enriched cages,” “eggs from cage-free hens,” and “eggs from free-range hens”;
  • prohibit feed- or water-withholding molting to extend the laying cycle, a practice already prohibited by the United Egg Producers Certified program adhered to by a majority of egg farmers;
  • require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia for egg laying hens;
  • prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses;
  • prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don’t meet these requirements.
  • In addition the groups will jointly ask Congress for federal legislation which would require egg producers to increase space per bird in a tiered phase in, with the amount of space birds are given increasing, in intervals, over the next 15 to 18 years. Currently, the majority of birds are each provided 67 square inches of space, with roughly 50 million receiving 48 square inches. The proposed phase-in would culminate with hens nationwide being provided a minimum of 124 – 144 square inches of space, along with the other improvements noted.

Many of you may have probably heard this from multiple media feeds, however I felt it important to share the actual document from the United Egg Producers (UEP) website

If you have questions, please contact Ashley at UEP [email protected].

Love Food Hate Waste

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
July 11th, 2011

Hi Readers!  Today we have one of our Registered Dietitian Advisors, Mary Lee Chin, blogging.  Enjoy!



Love Food Hate Waste

As a registered dietitian who likes to get the most nutrition bang for the buck, I was particularly intrigued when I can across this government sponsored awareness program from the United Kingdom to reduce food waste. The Love Food Hate Waste campaign is funded by WRAP- “Working in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency.” WRAP encourages and enables businesses and consumers to be more efficient in their use of materials and to recycle with the goal of reducing landfill and improving the environment. Love Food Hate Waste cites that the United Kingdom throws away 8.3 million tonnes of food each year, most of which could be eaten.

Curious, I searched the statistics for the United States. A report issued in May 2011 by the FAO, found that about one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is lost or wasted. In developing countries, most of it is food loss during production, harvest, post-harvest and processing phases. But in developed countries such as the United States it is lost through food waste, mostly caused by retailers and consumers throwing edible food into the trash. Between 209- 253 pounds per person a year is wasted in North America.

While retailers are responsible for discarding much of the food, especially produce due to cosmetic reasons, consumers also waste an astounding amount of food in our own home kitchens. As bargain hunters, we are encouraged to buy more food than we need. “Buy one; get one” free promotions are attractive draws. We also fail to plan food purchases well, resulting in food thrown away when “best-by” dates expire.

And who doesn’t have a carefully wrapped package of leftovers shoved in the back of the refrigerator. Discovered after contents have turned green, it can then be tossed away without guilt as it is too spoiled to eat. Food losses also happen because of over-preparation, plate discard, cooking losses, keeping stale half-eaten boxes of crackers and sprouted potatoes and onions that end up in the landfill. And I acknowledge having created “brown lettuce soup” in a plastic bag when salad greens become bruised and melt into a slimy goop.

It varies according to different studies and the methods used to analyze, but estimates range from 14 – 27 % of food is wasted in the home. At the high end, that is the equivalent of bring home four bags of groceries and immediately throwing one of the bags away.

What a waste of lost money and lost nutrients. I resolved to embark on a campaign to find practical everyday things to do in the home to waste less food, which will ultimately benefit the purse and the environment too.  And during this recession, when the food budget is biting us back, decreasing household food wastage is one strategy to make the food dollar stretch farther.

Happily here are some easy and practical ways to save money by wasting less food and help the environment as well

Portioning: By measuring ahead, you can avoid cooking too much and having a lot of leftovers.

Too often we have good intentions but usually leftovers end up being thrown out. Use handy measuring equipment to accurately make the amount of food you need. For example, ¼ cup of raw rice makes one adult serving. Use a Spaghetti Measurer to determine how much pasta to cook. Large amounts of extra noodles end up in the trash because you have run out of the sauce. Breakfast? One perfectly portioned egg, along with a slice of toast and glass of juice.

Planning: Reserve some time to plan meals. Many people buy a stock items of groceries, with no thought of what dishes will be made that week. Too often ingredients are not used, and go to waste. Plan menus. Shop your cupboards, refrigerator and freezer first before going to the store which helps you avoid purchasing foods you already have, but forgotten. And those jars of gift jelly, boxes of gourmet wild rice and cans of vegetables used to can be turned into tasty meals. Make a list and shop your list. Impulse buying can add a lot to the grocery bill.

Leftovers are makeovers. If you know you are not going to eat the leftovers within 2-3 days, seal in freezer wrap, date and freeze at 0 degrees. These will make a great for a meal for one.

Treasure hunting: This was an exercise in creativity and a lot of fun to do. Periodically hunt through the fridge and pull out all those scraps of leftover cheese, vegetables and meat.

Beat a few eggs and start an omelet. The chopped, leftover veggies made a great filling. Sprinkle with the bits of cheese, fold over. Serve topped with the last spoonfuls of the bottled salsa.

Line a pie plate with leftover rice or polenta. Beat a few eggs with milk, add the leftover diced luncheon meat and chopped onions. Bake a quiche.

Warm flour or corn tortillas. Beat a few eggs and scramble with chopped veggies form the leftover salad (it’s OK to discard the limp lettuce). Roll into the tortillas and enjoy your breakfast burrito with some more of that salsa.

Spare fresh tomatoes about to wrinkle can be added to some canned ones and turned into spaghetti sauce. I also heated the fresh and canned tomatoes with sautéed onions and garlic, whirred in blender and served a great cold tomato soup, topped with a spoonful of Greek yogurt from the last in the container.

Bits and dabs of leftover vegetables, added to canned soup with milk produces a nourishing, quick and nutrient-rich soup.

For a free lunch, take leftover salad, meat and cheese and make a wrap.

Spread the last of the preserves on rounds of toasted French bread. Top with cheese and a crisp slice of tart apple. Voila! Appetizers!

Berries just have a short shelf life in the refrigerator. Ditto for those plums that started to overripe on the counter. Cream ¾ cup sugar with ½ cup butter. Beat in 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and two eggs. Spread in 9” spring form pan and top with berries and/or chopped fruit. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 350 degrees for one hour.

Those bananas in the freezer saved with good intentions to bake banana bread…blend with fruit, juice and yogurt for a refreshing smoothie.

Take time to look at use by and expiration dates

At the store, buy dates with longest shelf life. Then if changing mind about using it immediately, there is still time to eat it before it goes bad.

Periodically check the use by and expiration dates of the food in your refrigerator. If you know you are not going to use it by the date, then freeze it, using appropriate airtight containers and bags and mark with masking tape/pen. Use within 2 months.

Buying in bulk saves money on a per item basis, but not if you don’t use it up before it spoils.

It took planning and thinking through on how our family uses food, rather than shopping and cooking on automatic pilot. It did take a bit more time—but not a whole lot. Mainly I had to make a concerted effort to seek and use those leftovers before they went bad, and periodically explore my kitchen cabinets. Food waste in home kitchens is not just banana skins and tea bags.  Most of the discarded food could be eaten. Spend a little time planning ahead, and save money and calories, plus get a healthier diet.


Love Food Hate waste           

The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact

Global Food Losses and Food Waste

A Success Story:Achieving a Negative Blood and Skin Allergy Test for Eggs Now…Ryan is Able to Enjoy Eggs

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
July 8th, 2011

Today’s blog is a success story from my friend and previous coworker Jill.  Her son Ryan is 10 years of age and has several food allergies.

When he was one he was diagnosed with many food allergies through blood and skin testing. One of these allergies was egg. Ryan has continued to go yearly to his allergist for repeat blood and skin testing. These tests continued to come back positive until this year. This past May, he had a negative skin and blood test for eggs and the allergist suggested that he participate in an oral food challenge in her office. In June, Ryan participated in an egg food challenge where he was given bites of egg that started out very small and ended up bite size. He finished an egg in 3-1/2 hours without any reactions.

Ryan is now able to eat eggs regularly and loves them. He is an avid soccer player, so having an extra and easy source of protein available to eat before practice or games is really important. He is a happy kid!

Time Crunch or No Motivation-No Worries-Fast and Easy Breezy Recipes for These Times

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
July 6th, 2011

Many of us love to try and share new recipes.  During my time in WIC; I was asked for recipes daily. I quickly learned it was necessary to have affordable, easy to use, healthy and yummy recipes that I had tried at my fingertips!

This week, especially after a long weekend; I found it difficult to be motivated in the mornings to make breakfast.  Luckily, motivation ended up being just click away-breakfast recipes that take less than 3 minutes to prepare. A couple weeks ago, Keith Ayoob discussed the importance of protein at breakfast. offers professionals and consumers great recipes for protein rich egg-based breakfast ideas!

We know that “fast and easy” is what everyone seems to want.   I like the concept of reclaiming the term “fast foods” and emphasizing options like the above recipes, as well as other quick, healthy (prepared at home) foods.  Many people are concerned about the “ingredients” in the foods and by taking a few minutes at home; they can control what goes in the food.  Another selling point is that these recipes take less time than it would to order at a drive-thru!  So the next time you hear “there is no time cook or eat breakfast” you can show them “healthy fast food made with their own ingredients”.  They can start their day out right for work, school or play!

Also if you have a little more time than I allowed the last couple of days, there are simple 10 or 15 minute breakfast ideas as well!   

I hope you can enjoy and share some of these recipes!  Tell us what your favorite recipes are.

recipe image


Nutrition Unscrambled  is written by nutrition experts with the Egg Nutrition Center, which is funded by the American Egg Board. It is monitored and maintained by the public relations agency of record. The mission of the Egg Nutrition Center is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information and the acknowledged leader in research and education related to eggs. For more information, click here.

About the Bloggers

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about
Mitch, click here.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD is the Senior Director, Nutrition Education at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Marcia, click here.
Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Anna, click here.

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All information provided within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or before making changes to your diet or health behaviors.