Recommendations for the use of eggs in the diet

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Author: Carrie Ruxton
Date: May 19, 2010
From: Nursing Standard(Vol. 24, Issue 37)
Publisher: Royal College of Nursing Publishing Company (RCN)
Document Type: Article
Length: 5,787 words

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Recommendations about consuming eggs have evolved over the past few years resulting in some confusion. This article reports on changes to egg consumption recommendations with respect to heart disease risk, and reviews the evidence for the nutritional benefits and potential health outcomes associated with regular egg consumption. Data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey are used to highlight how eggs can best be incorporated into a healthy diet. Suggestions are given on the safe cooking and use of eggs in vulnerable groups of patients.


Eggs, food safety, nutrition, recommendations

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Aims and intended learning outcomes

The aim of this article is to collate the evidence for, and recommendations on, the use of eggs in order to dispel any confusion surrounding their consumption. After reading this article and completing the time out activities you should be able to:

* Define the nutritional benefits associated with eggs.

* Understand the evidence that links egg consumption with health outcomes.

* Inform different groups of patients how to use and consume eggs safely as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

* Appreciate how recommendations about egg consumption have changed over the years and use this knowledge to deliver current and appropriate advice to patients.


Eggs are a common food in the UK diet and are eaten by around 70% of adults and 45% of children. Average weekly intakes are fewer than two eggs in children, two to three in women, and three to four in men (Gregory et al 2000, Henderson et al 2002). Eggs are rich in a number of vitamins and minerals. Despite this, interest has focused on the cholesterol content of egg yolk, resulting in advice about limiting eggs in the diet. Recommendations have been updated by bodies such as the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to reflect new evidence about the lack of association between eggs and cardiovascular disease (CVD) (Gray and Griffin 2009).

Published studies on eggs, and the nutrients found in them, have provided justification for including eggs in a healthy diet, particularly with respect to weight management and eye health. These studies are described later. However, as confirmed by a new secondary analysis of the adult National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) (Ruxton et al 2010), nutritional intake is superior when eggs are eaten in a healthy, low fat diet rather than as part of a traditional fried dietary pattern.

This article refers to published studies and a new secondary analysis of the NDNS to explore the role of eggs in a healthy diet. Food safety aspects of egg consumption are also discussed to help nurses give appropriate advice to vulnerable groups of patients.

Nutritional value of eggs

An average medium-sized egg provides...

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