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Posted at 9:43 AM ET, 02/ 8/2011

USDA finds eggs better than cracked up to be

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

When I spent a few days with my mom last week helping her out after her hip-replacement surgery, there was lots of conversation about what to eat.

Her post-surgery digestive system was sensitive, prone to all kinds of unpleasant irregularities, and we didn't want to set anything off. On the other hand, she needed some nutritious food to help keep her energy up. My first evening there, we happily settled on eggs. They hit the spot and went down easy.

Because my Internet access at Ma's is limited, I hadn't yet seen the e-mail from a public relations representative of the American Egg Board letting me know about the USDA's recent reassessment of eggs' nutritional value. I learned those eggs may be even better for me and Ma than I had thought.

Turns out the USDA routinely reevaluates foods in its vast, searchable database, adjusting the listings for any of dozens of nutrients that may have changed since the agency last checked. Eggs, which hadn't been evaluated since 2002, turn out to have 14 percent less cholesterol and 64 percent more Vitamin D than before. Specifically, a large egg now has 185 mg of cholesterol and 41 IU of Vitamin D. That's down from 212 mg of cholesterol and up from 18 IU of Vitamin D.

Those changes are likely attributable to improved hen-feeding, according to the American Egg Board. But other nutrient values haven't changed: A large egg still delivers 70 calories and 6 grams of protein. And even if you buy the fancy kind in the Styrofoam carton (which you recycle, right?), eggs are really cheap. All in all, they're a pretty solid food choice (unless you are a non-ovo vegetarian or a vegan).

The impact of dietary cholesterol consumption on blood cholesterol levels isn't fully understood. It's not clear that eating an egg now and then will affect your cholesterol one way or another. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans allow for an average of 300 mg of cholesterol a day.

On the other hand, even a single hard-boiled egg wouldn't meet the standards The Washington Post follows for "healthy" recipes. Those criteria allow a serving of a main-course food to contain no more than 80 mg of cholesterol. A side dish, such as soup or salad, may contain only 40 mg.

That leaves me in a bit of a quandary. Strictly speaking, I can't call eggs "healthy." But I still think they're healthful. And sometimes nothing but a nicely cooked egg will do.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | February 8, 2011; 9:43 AM ET
Categories:  Nutrition and Fitness, Vitamins, usda  
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No pun intended, but I urge you to egg yourself forward.

Posted by: fregameeate | February 8, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

The latest Dietary Guidelines 2010 states "Independent of other dietary factors, evidence suggests that one egg (i.e., egg yolk) per day does not result in increased blood cholesterol levels, nor does it increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy people." An egg a day really is okay and in Canada and Australia eggs carry the Heart Check and the Tick respectively of the countries heart foundations. Most countries have dropped dietary cholesterol restrictions and in many promote eating 6-7 eggs a week.

Posted by: djmmcnamara | February 8, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

If yo uare white, aged 50 or over, and have no history of heart disease, and want to keep it that way, I suggest in the strongest way you take 3 minutes to read this new research:

Treating Vitamin D Deficiency Significantly Reduces Heart Disease Risk, Studies Find

Summary: Heart disease symptoms were detected immediately (in as little as 3 weeks) when circulating vitamin D levels fell below 43 ng/ml.

Heart disease is a sympton of chronic vitamin D deficiency.

The experts (not your doctor) suggest the healthy, natural level of circulating vitamin D is 50-80 ng/ml which reflects evolutionary norms.

Posted by: dokadow | February 8, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Eggs have been a daily blessing to my body. Lies, lies. The people make fake eggs lied about eggs and the USDA is covering it's lie'g butt by saying "now the eggs are lower in cholesteral." Folks wise up

Here's another one. Wood cutting boards and plastic cutting boards. Place echoli on both. Within 1.5 minutes the echoli on the wood dies. The echoli on the plastic grows. Wood has ensigms that protect it in the forest and in you kitchen. Only use mineral oil to preserve the wood NEVER vegtable oil (it molds but it makes a real pretty moldy board). NEVER bleach them. Do like the Europeans an place boards out in the sun and they will bleach.

How 'bout DDT. The chemical copies came up with all new chemicals and had to invalidate the only thing that really controls masquittos, DDT. My father worked for Montrose Chemical in SoCal who invented DDT. When the chemical companies turned in all their negative studies about DDT, my father and all the executive at Montrose and its' parent company, Stauffer Chemical, sat down with bowls of DDT and proceeded to eat one bowl after the other. The event was covered by the media EXCEPT for one thing, the media never broadcasted the event.

And there other other duping stories. American wake up.

Posted by: MissClarty | February 8, 2011 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Another thing about DDT. Back in the '50s my father would bring home gunny sacks of DDT and pour it on our gardens. We kids tooks the empty sacks and played dressup. Not one of us have ever been sick.

The Corporate power of deceit is alive and well.

Eggs are good for us. My mother sent us to school iwth egg salad sandwiches, had them for breakfast and thank God our chickens kept producing their 'complete' food for our family.

We have no high blood pressure, no diabettes, no high colesterol JUST HEALTHY PEOPLE AND WE RAISED OUR CHILDREN THE SSAME WAY.

But people are stupid and hvae a spirit of fear so living feaful lives is all they know.

Posted by: MissClarty | February 8, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

DDT lady: anecdotal evidence is not scientific. Of course not everyone is going to get sick from DDT, just like not everyone who smokes gets cancer. As for eggs, I'm tired of studies. My food philosophy is if it's natural, it's not bad for you. Everything in moderation. Eat foods as nature intended, in as whole a form as possible.

Posted by: Kat10132 | February 11, 2011 10:30 PM | Report abuse

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