Nutrition Unscrambled

2011 Egg Nutrition Center Dissertation Fellowship and Research Grant Recipients

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

2011 Egg Nutrition Center Dissertation Fellowship and Research Grant RecipientsENC is committed to sponsoring research related to nutrition and health. Below are the grants ENC recently awarded. We have a good variety of projects this year and are excited for the work to begin.

Dissertation Fellowship
Gina Wee, Penn State University
“Diet and health attributes of egg consumption”

Research Grants

Ellen M. Evans, PhD, University of Georgia
“The E-PHIT Study: Eggs, Protein and High Intensity Training: A Diabetes
Prevention Program for Postmenopausal Women”

Maria Luz Fernandez, PhD, University of Connecticut
“Egg effects on postprandial glucose, insulin and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic subjects”

Barbara A. Gower, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
“An egg-based breakfast maintains metabolic flexibility in older adults”

Elizabeth J. Johnson, Ph.D., Tufts University
“The effect of consumption of 2 eggs per day for 6 months on cognitive function in older adults”

Jill Kanaley, PhD, University of Missouri
“Effect of a high protein breakfast on glycemic control, insulin sensitivity, and cell function in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D)”

Tanja V.E. Kral, Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
“Comparison of the satiating properties of egg- versus cereal grain-based breakfasts for appetite and energy intake control in 8- to 10-year-old children”

Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, University of Connecticut
“Effect of incremental increases in dietary carbohydrate on saturated fat levels and blood borne risk markers for cardiovascular disease”

We will begin the process for next year’s grant process, so continue to check our website if you are interested in submitting a letter of intent for a project related to one of our research areas.

AAFP Conference 2011

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
September 20th, 2011

This past weekend we exhibited at the American Academy of Family Physicians conference in Orlando. We were part of the first ever nutrition pavilion, which allowed practitioners and other health professionals find us easily. Having all the nutrition related booths in one area drove traffic to our booths and had a positive impact.

These health professionals from different areas of practice were quite receptive to our messages; although many still had perceptions that whole eggs were not “good” for a person. This was a key area of education and they were happy to see our research and materials discussing this, well as other nutrition issues. Many participants were impressed with our commitment to research as we discussed previous studies and showed those most recently funded. It is interesting to see how each group responds and what information they would like from us.

Overall, it was a successful conference and we were able to educate health professionals once again! We had over 200 people sign up for our newsletter and complete our survey to donate eggs to a local food pantry.

Here is a photo of one of the MDs completing the survey.

Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
September 19th, 2011

This part of the Lancet reviews goes into detail about the economic burden of obesity. We’ve already seen some of the implications but it is projected that medical costs will increase costs by $48-66 billion/year in the USA and by 1.9-2 billion/year in the UK by 2030.
• The obesity epidemic affects both high and middle to low income countries, which will cause stress on many health systems if the trend continues.
• The health conditions also continue to increase as obesity rises. There is expanding evidence that excess body weight is linked to many additional disorders. This spans from newborn to elderly.
• The cost of treatment for fatal and non-fatal death will increase as the number of overweight and obese utilizes treatments. It is estimated that obese individuals has medical costs 30% higher than normal weight individuals. In addition there will be costs associated with productivity (loss of time at work, ability to do jobs, etc).
• Combined with the shift in age structure (baby boomers) projections suggest that there will be 65 million more obese adults in the US in 2030 than in 2010 (and 24 million of whom would be older than 60 years). In the UK it is projected that up to 11 million more would be obese= (3.3 million would be older than 60 years) in 2030.
• The population’s healthy life span will be threatened. Estimated trends would lead to a present loss of 2.2-6.3 million quality-adjusted life years in the UK and 24.5-48.2 million in the USA in the next 20 years.
• Healthcare costs are sure to increase but would a decrease in obesity lead to net cost savings? The issue is one of debate about calculating costs related to obesity. However, we do know that obese individual have higher healthcare costs.

These estimations overall appear to be well calculated. These costs are startling, although not surprising! The article is full of figures if you’re a numbers person.

Choose MyPlate

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
September 16th, 2011

What constitutes a healthy diet has been up for debate probably since the Stone age. The US government began to advise us about what makes a healthy diet prior to World War II when our nation needed to ration food and the need for a healthy armed services became a concern. Since then, dietary guidance has been provided as a joint effort by the US Health and Human Services and Agriculture departments every 5 years based on the most current recommendations from a panel of nutrition experts and known as the US Dietary Guidelines.

Communicating the US Dietary Guidelines has been just as difficult as establishing the criteria for a healthy diet. When the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines were released, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion was tasked with making the dietary guidance document applicable for public usage. The expectation for the communication program was that not only should the latest dietary guidance be understood by everyone in the country but also followed.

Prior to June 2011, the Food Guide Pyramid was an attempt to put dietary planning into a context of meeting daily nutritional goals. One basic weakness of this tool for communicating a healthy diet was that most consumers plan their meals not diets, so it was hard to adapt the messages into daily life. Since June 2011, the release of the program suggests that a healthy meal involves eating a balanced intake of foods from each of the 5 food groups; fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. A plan to extend the reach of the program was developed by USDA to invite partners from the community which will use the MyPlate icon and 7 accompanying messages (*see below). It is hoped that a high visibility of the MyPlate icon will serve as a reminder, endorsed by all members of the local community including its business members, to eat a healthy meal and include exercise daily. If we all become familiar with the concepts represented by the MyPlate icon, it will serve to show our support for improving the health of our nation and will help build our national, community and individual pride at a time when it is so sorely needed.

The Egg Nutrition Center is a Strategic Partner of the program and collaborates with other partners to incorporate the MyPlate messages into educational tools which are shared with health professionals and their patients or clients around the nation.

*● Enjoy your food, but eat less. ● Avoid oversized portions. ● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. ● Make at least half your grains whole grains. ● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. ● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers. ● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Beyond Restriction: Setting the stage for kids to Self Regulate food intake

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
September 13th, 2011

Hi Readers – today we have a post written by one of our Registered Dietitian Advisors, Mary Donkersloot. Enjoy!


When a child is overweight, truly overweight, what is the remedy? The first reaction is often restriction. A doctor may send the patient to my office with a calorie prescription; “put this kid on a 1200 calorie diet” the note will say. But we dietitians (and Oprah) know that restriction often backfires. Restriction promotes eating in the absence of hunger. When food becomes available, the child (or adult, for that matter) is likely to overeat; such is the body’s primal need for food. Hence, the phrase, diets don’t work.

The trust model
When I was studying nutrition in college, several decades ago, we were taught about the trust model, developed by Ellyn Satter. I still use this model with my patients today. It goes something like this: It is the job of parents or caregivers to provide meal structure, breakfast lunch dinner and snacks. The parent is also the gatekeeper, determining what food is in the house, and what is on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The child’s job is to decide what and how much they will eat at these meals and snacks. According to this philosophy, children know what their bodies need to grow and feel good. If provided a balance of food, in a structured setting, they will eat an appropriate amount of food. By giving the child autonomy, the child learns to self-regulate their appetite. Sometimes we can correct weight and feeding issues simply by working with the parent to implement this routine.

We proceed based on the assumption that young children will naturally adjust their food intake over a day’s time to result in a consistent number of calories. But researchers are observing that this long relied upon regulatory system is being altered by our changing feeding patterns and the foods we feed our children today. We know the ability to self-regulate decreases with age, year after year, especially with girls.

Susan Johnson directs the Children’s Eating Laboratory at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, said that research as evidenced a population-wide shift over time. She told me in the 1980’s children were compensating for about 90% of extra calories they were getting. By the 1990’s they were compensating for about 45% of the excessive calories.

The reward system
In my own practice, I have found that what children eat doesn’t depend solely on the body’s desire to balance its calorie equation. There is something else we must factor in to the trust model. This is known as the reward system. And in many overweight children (not to mention adults) the reward system is winning.

What makes the child want more when we know their calorie needs are met? There are three things the parent needs to factor into the trust model:

1. The lack of structure can predispose the child to what we call chronic over-feeding. The child wants food frequently and may use the food to self-soothe.

2. The super-stimulating effect of the food may cause the child to want more and more. When we eat food that is high in sugar, fat and salt, a cookie for example, we stimulate neurons, the basic cells in our brain. These neurons are part of larger circuits that form a complex communication system, that create a positive feeling when we eat the cookie. This information, the yummy factor, is stored in the brain and helps to control behavior in the future. Studies with rats and sweet foods have shown that the more these neurons fire, the more sugar a rat will consume. In other words, we will work harder to get more of the cookie, steal another when mom isn’t looking. But you may note that not everyone goes after those cookies with the same gusto. Some people are more likely than others to find the food reinforcing. What we know from scientific research is that sugar and fat can condition the behavior of those who are vulnerable.

3. Kids may have become accustomed to large portions. When they are served more, they eat more. We nutritionists call this “portion distortion”. We become accustomed visually to a certain volume of food, and tend to expect a similar portion size it on at subsequent meals. Some kids lack the control only to eat when they are hungry. Those are the kids that are more vulnerable to eating beyond their calorie needs when they are served large portions.

Does my child have a problem?
Ask your pediatrician. First he or she will assess your child’s weight and body mass index (BMI). You might expect them to plot your child’s BMI on a special pediatric growth chart to show you the category of weight your child is in. They can advise you how to proceed. If your child is considered at risk of overweight or overweight, you may be referred to a registered dietitian to help you map out a plan to improve your child’s weight and health through a better diet.

September 11th- 10 Years Later

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
September 9th, 2011

United We Serve - September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance

National Day of Service and Remembrance

I am sure we can remember where we were ten years ago on September 11th. My roommate woke me up and said “we’re being attacked”. We watched it on TV in awe. A little later we were gathered in the “quad” with hundreds of other students and professors praying and mourning together. There were several other gatherings over the next few weeks as well. I do not think I’ll ever forget how it felt that day. In a way it was amazing to have everyone come together, although the occasion was obviously one of fear and sadness.

September 11th is now a day of National Day of Service and Remembrance. This year, more than one million Americans are expected to serve in their communities in honor of 9/11. Service projects will range from food drives and home repairs to neighborhood cleanups and disaster preparation activities. In many areas, volunteers will honor veterans, soldiers, or first responders by collecting donations, assembling care packages, and writing thank you letters.

I hope you’ll take the time to do this. Imagine one million people gathered together, much the way we were ten years ago. If you need help deciding how to donate your time; you can visit and search by zip code or for events happening in your area. Virtual events are also a great option. As health professionals, many of the events affect our community and often the clients we work with. Donating time at a food pantry, soup kitchen or group home are all things I have done and they have been very rewarding.

Stop and Remember

Marking the 10th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution calling on all Americans to participate in a Moment of Remembrance at 1:00 PM EDT on September 11, 2011.

The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments

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

The Lancet has created a series of articles, intended to state the case for action on obesity.  The first article reviews the aspect of global drivers and local environments. The UN and its agencies will be meeting in September 2011 to discuss non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as it affects population health and development to help solve the obesity challenge.

Below are highlights from the article.  We as health professionals already know many of these. I think the approach of looking at obesity in the large picture rather than pieces is long overdue. There have been many “smaller scale strategies” and some of those have been successful in targeted areas.  I think the approach of looking at obesity in the large picture rather than pieces is long overdue.  What does this really mean though?

We’ve all seen the numbers and generally are aware of the history of obesity.  Obesity began in most high income countries in the 1970-80’s, but now most middle and low income countries also have obesity.  Three years ago, in 2008, it was estimated that 1.46 million adults globally were overweight and 502 million were obese.  Children were estimated at 170 million as overweight or obese.  Other trends within obesity are prevalent as well, but these numbers tell the story.

A Hoad, Somerford and Katzenellenbogen article (Aust NZ J Public Health) drives home that obesity has overtaken tobacco as the largest preventable cause of disease burden in some regions.

What are some key indicators in this report?

  • Economic Effects
    • Sufficient wealth-this has been an enabler for obesity.  This however, is not always indicative as shown in the Pacific Island nations and others. 
    • Some countries are faced with a substantial burden of undernutrition also has an emerging burden of overnurition and related diseases to both forms of malnutrition.
    • Obesity is the result of people responding to the obesogenic environment and the obesogenic environments arise because governments and business are responding the economic and politic environments.
    • Drivers of the obesity epidemic
      • Several studies have shown that technological changes have created cheaper and more available food calories and have driven forces towards overconsumption. 
      • The “built environment” Changes in our overall habits- less physical activity (driving instead of walking) as well as increased of the food supply starting in the 70’s.  Interestingly enough if everyone was following the fruit and vegetable recommendations of the dietary guidelines, there would not be enough fruits and vegetables for everyone.  What does this say about the oversupply of food? 
      • Cultural preferences such as (body size) can have a significant effect in different regions. 
      • Marketing-On the marketing question-Is the market failing children”?  You decide
      • Genetics- an article by Bray GA states genetics loads the guns but the environment pulls the trigger.
      • Approaches and implications to address obesity
        • The figure below shows a framework to categorize determinants and solutions of obesity.
        • Sustainability and affordability remain to challenges for programs.
        • The major strategies available to directly affect behaviors aim to increase motivation to make healthy choices and include social marketing health education and promotion programs.
        • Realistically policy interventions can be directed at the environment (rather than the individual).
        • The article suggests the solution to obesity should be developed on a global level.

Stay tuned for reviews of the next articles in the series.


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.