Nutrition Unscrambled

New Gluten and Soy Allergen information on ENC/AEB’s Website

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 31st, 2011

Egg Nutrition Center and the American Egg Board often get questions about the possibility of gluten and soy in eggs. Dr. Steven Taylor from The Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska provided us some insight, which we have also placed on our website. Essentially people with gluten and soy problems can enjoy eggs without worry.

Childhood Obesity Roundtable

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 28th, 2011

ENC hosted a roundtable on October 24 and 25th to discuss obesity and nutrition in children. Participants included research and clinical experts from Harvard, University of Illinois and University of Missouri, two Registered Dietitians – a school nutrition director and a private practice practitioner. We had a great discussion about strengths and gaps in current research, nutrition in schools, counseling strategies and overall nutrition issues. It is clear that the school nutrition program is working hard to improve children’s nutrition, but what happens when they go home? We also discussed that more studies have been completed in adults but not children. At best guess we assume that the adult studies can translate to child nutrition.

These conversations are good to have especially with the researchers and practitioners. It really brings perspective to areas that each can contribute a great deal of information. This can lead to future ideas for research and health related materials we can provide our health professionals for their patients. ENC will continue to promote overall health, including fighting the obesity epidemic. We know eggs have a great role in child nutrition, affordable, 70 calories and full of valuable nutrients.

October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
October 27th, 2011

Hi readers! Today we have one of our Registered Dietitian Advisors, Helenbeth Reynolds, blogger.


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; more than 200,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. It is imperative that women do their monthly breast self- exams in addition to getting their mammograms. Lifestyle changes can prevent nearly half of cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society’s Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention there are some general guidelines to help reduce your cancer risk:

• Maintain a healthy weight and stay physically active. Obesity is linked to numerous types of cancers; therefore the best approach to weight management is stay physically active. According to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (aged 18-64) adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous aerobic physical activity. To achieve a healthy weight avoid eating more calories than your body uses; for weight loss, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn each day.

• Eat a healthful diet, with an emphasis on plant sources. Vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans) and whole grains, in addition to a high-fiber diet, typically low in fat, may protect you from colon and rectal cancer. Fiber helps move waste through your digestive tract faster, so harmful substances don’t have much contact time with your intestinal walls. Also, because fiber makes stools bulkier, potentially harmful substances are diluted. As important, plant-based foods contain a complex mixture of cancer-fighting nutrients and phytonutrients.

• Eat your veggies- and fruits. Vegetables and fruits have a complex composition of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients, which appear to protect against various cancers. In addition, fruits and vegetables are low in fat.

• Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages. People who drink alcohol should limit their intake to no more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink a day for women (based on their smaller body size and slower breakdown of alcohol). Alcohol is a known cause of cancers of the: mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver and breast. Alcohol may also increase the risk of colon and rectum cancer.

• Consume less salt. In addition to affecting blood pressure, eating too much salt increases your risk of stomach cancer. So limit salt, salt-cured, salt-pickled, smoked and salty foods. Read food labels so you know exactly how much sodium is in a product. Limit yourself to 2,400 milligrams a day.

Recess Returning to Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 26th, 2011

Some of the CPS schools are preparing to implement an important part of the school day that has been abandoned, recess (activity). Although I am happy to hear about this, at the same time it is a mere 20 minutes for the entire 7.5 hour school day. I do feel this is a step in the right direction, but of course more could be done. Think of how you would feel if you only got a 20 minute break during a daylong workshop!

What can a child do in 20 minutes? A LOT!! I have been to seminars recently where they have been discussing recess before lunch. I am not sure when CPS is considering their 20 minute break, but I think they would appreciate better attention spans , better behavior and expected less plate waste.

CPS is taking this seriously with many roadblocks including space, equipment, getting children to be active during the time and more. The first year may be challenging, but I believe it will overall improve the school environment. I am happy they are being creative with small spaces and equipment. Kids will play if you give them the ability (more so time and approval to be active).

One thing I was very pleased to see is that parents had an impact on this decision. They felt unruly children were a result of silent lunches and no recess. The parents and community organizations like Community Organizing and Family Issues started advocating for recess in 2004. It is great to see parents taking a role in the health and education of their children

*Photo Credit: Playworks

ENC’s Last Exhibit of the Year:American College of Nurse Practitioners Conference (ACNP)

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 21st, 2011

Although ACNP is a smaller conference our message was very well received. Within the first hour of the hall opening we had over 80 participants come and talk with us. They were quite interested our research and information we could give them to talk about with their patients. This group was very receptive to cholesterol messages and many were using it so we were able to highlight some of our other key areas of research and education.

This particular conference serves lunch in the exhibit hall, so we had good traffic during the “lunch” break. I actually was in the row where the line formed for lunch, so I was able to talk with people as they were in line. Our “Give an Egg Poster” also sparked their interest while in the lunch line and many returned after eating to take the survey and talk more. At the conclusion of the show more than 200 NPs and students had stopped by our booth.

Mythbusters: The Truth About Eggs

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

Wouldn’t it be fun to do the TV show Mythbusters but focused on Nutrition??

A recent “Eat this Not That” posting from Men’s Health looked at the Egg/Cholesterol myth. Kudos to them for busting the myth (you cannot eat eggs because of the cholesterol). As we say “An Egg a Day is OK!!” There are a multitude of studies showing this same message, but unfortunately consumers and even health professionals are still hesitant to eat eggs. So here’s to hoping these mythbusting messages continue to spread!

Here is an example of a study showing this message:

A study published in Medical Science Monitor including 9,500 people demonstrates that eating one or two eggs a day does not increase the risk of heart disease or stroke among healthy adults. The study notes that eating eggs may actually be associated with a decrease in blood pressure. Qureshi A, et al. “Regular egg consumption does not increase the risk of stroke or cardiovascular diseases. Medical Science Monitor. 2007; 13(1):CR1-8.”

Another parallel message to think about is the additional benefits an egg can offer. In the article they also mention weight management. Satiety/weight management is an area that is being actively researched. Other benefits from the varying 13 essential vitamins and minerals include muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function and more.

Check out the information on “An Egg A Day” to share with patients and fellow health professionals. Also, we will be launching a new cholesterol specific section on our website in the future, so check back.

A new look at middle aged weight gain

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
October 18th, 2011

Books about middle age weight gain or abdominal fat accumulation, as it’s known in professional circles, are flying off the shelves as a record number of the US population enters their golden years. This generation, brought up on the fat phobic diet that made fat intake of any kind an inexcusable excess, is now seeing the result of this mistaken dietary guidance. By avoiding the demonized macronutrient (fat) in an effort to avoid heart disease in later life, today’s baby boomers may have set themselves up for sarcopenia or age related muscle loss and the dangerous abdominal fat accumulation, a contributor to heart disease. How is this possible? The answer lies in the unintended consequence of reducing protein intake while avoiding fat.

During the years 1970-2000, Americans were advised to lower their fat intake which resulted in reducing intake of foods high in protein like beef, pork, eggs, milk and butter. The assumption had been and still remains, that Americans consume a surplus of protein and protein recommendation need only keep Americans from negative protein balance. Optimal protein intake for supporting health was not a goal. However, recent research is beginning to accumulate which indicates a role of protein, in particular the level of specific branch chain amino acids (BCAA) in proteins, that is associated with a lower prevalence of obesity and overweight in middle age adults.

A recent study published in Journal Nutrition1, looked at the association between BCAA intake and the risk of overweight/obesity status in a cohort of 4429 Asian and Western adults. The study was a part of a larger International Study of Macro-/Micronutrients and Blood Pressure Study (INTERMAP) which did not include any intervention in the methodology other than recording dietary recall and 24 hr. urinary measurement. Results confirm the hypothesis that across an international population, dietary intake of branch chain amino acid intake was inversely associated with prevalence of overweight status amongst healthy middle age adults and with the prevalence of obesity in Western adults. These results confirm earlier animal studies that have found higher leucine intake (BCAA) associated with lower body weight and fat mass gain.

1 Qin, LQ et al. J. Nutr. 141:249-254, 2011

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2011. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page,

Tricking the Body-Against Peanut and Egg Proteins Allergens

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 17th, 2011

Researchers in a new preclinical study for Northwestern Medicine have tricked the immune system. They have figured out how to turn off a life threatening allergic response to peanuts (nut proteins). The investigators used mice (that were bred to mimic one with severe food allergies) and attached peanut proteins to leucocytes and reintroduced them into the mice’s bodies. What happened next? The mice ingested a peanut extract and did not have an allergic reaction.

In a second phase of the study, the researchers successfully desensitized mice to egg proteins. The Northwestern researchers used the same tactic with an egg protein. They attached the proteins to white blood cells and infused the cells back into the mice. The mice then inhaled the asthma-provoking egg protein and their lungs did not become inflamed. Dr. Paul J. Bryce, Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Feinberg School of Medicine,noted that it appears that this approach can be used to target multiple food allergies at one time.

Each year there are between 15,000 and 30,000 episodes of food-induced anaphylaxis and 100 to 200 related deaths in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. This study may be the link regulating allergic diseases. To quote Dr. Stephen D Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor at the Feinberg School: “This is an exciting new way in which we can regulate specific allergic diseases and may eventually be used in a clinical setting for patients.”

If this were successful in clinical settings, what would it look like? People with food allergies would not have to worry everyday about coming in contact with the allergen causing food. Also, it would mean that people would be able to enjoy the “allergen causing foods” without risk!

The “Most Important Meal of the Day” is NOT so Important to Some Consumers

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 14th, 2011

A recent NPD Morning MealScape 2011 study discussed that 31 million Americans still skip breakfast. This is a huge opportunity for health professionals. The public has heard (us) and the media talk about the benefits of breakfast, but this has not motivated much change in consumption. What can we do differently to help facilitate change? One approach that I have seen incorporated in other behavior change models is to discuss the risks of not eating breakfast. Example: Children who do not eat breakfast may perform worse in school or people who do not eat breakfast consumer MORE calories throughout the day. Would this make an impact?

Among children, the incidence of skipping increases as children age with 13-to-17-year-olds having the highest incidence (14 %) of skipping breakfast. I again think it is like any other habit-breakfast should become part of a lifestyle. I feel strongly that it starts with parents showing a child at a young age that breakfast is important for the whole family. Perhaps everyone cannot sit together at breakfast, but focusing one everyone eating breakfast to start their day is important.

Of reasons not to eat breakfast “not being hungry” is one that the participants reported. It would really be interesting to see how much and how late these individuals consumed other meals. Also if you incorporate breakfast as a habit it would become second nature to eat the morning. I personally have to eat soon after I wake up or I am not a happy camper. Another reason is the “time” aspect and I would challenge those people to find 3 minutes to make a microwave coffee cup scramble.

The study also discusses that 3/4 of the people eating breakfast are doing it at home, but the others are eating away from home. The quick service restaurants could build on the groups eating away from home as well as sparking interest in those not eating breakfast at all. Why not offer an egg sandwich on a whole wheat bread/bun with a side of fruit instead of a hash brown? Perhaps breakfast skippers that feel they feel they do not have time at home, might consider this option if it were a healthier one? However on the other hand, I must say that those who eat on the run because they feel it takes too much time should consider how much time is spent at the drive-thru (bet it is about the same or more than the 3 minutes to make scrambled eggs). Of course perception is everything.

So what can we do to continue to promote breakfast consumption? Easy healthy recipes? Showing the time factor can be met? Focusing on the risks? Continuing to promote it as the “most important meal of the day” and hoping it takes hold?

Here is a breakdown of the adults in the study-as you can see males skip more often.
Percent of Adults, By Gender, Who Skip Breakfast * percent of individuals who are up, but don’t eat or drink anything in the morning prior to 11 am
Males Females
18-34 years old 28% 18%
35-54 years old 18% 13%
55+ years old 11% 10%
Source: The NPD Group/Morning MealScape 2011

National School Lunch Week

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 13th, 2011

While we reflect and celebrate National School Lunch Week, we should still consider the future. Yes, school lunches have come a long way since President Harry Truman signed the 1947 National School Lunch Act. He stated, “In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children, or more prosperous than its farmers.” This still holds true today but the problems over the years have changed so much.

Years later President Obama states “Children are America’s greatest treasure, and ensuring their health is one of our most important duties as parents, families, and community members. Our children’s continued ability to learn in the classroom, grow up healthy, and reach their full potential will depend on what we do now to secure their future.”

Schools have made changes to improve the programs but time, money, resources and even acceptance from the children have been active barriers. What can we do to help progress the school lunch program?

If you are a parent, I encourage you to go to lunch this week at your kid’s school. See how it has changed and what you would like to see. Also, every school has a wellness committee. As a health professional, your expertise is valuable and you can ensure schools can move forward not only for lunch but breakfast (including a great protein source) and summer lunch programs.


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.