by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Eggs

Oct 23 2023

Industry funded study of the week: the Pork Checkoff and Egg Board in action

Thanks to a reader, Kevin Mitchell, for sending this news item: Animal vs. Plant Protein: New Research Suggests That These Protein Sources Are Not Nutritionally Equivalent.

Scientists found that two-ounce-equivalents (oz-eq) of animal-based protein foods provide greater essential amino acids (EAA) bioavailability than the same quantity of plant-based protein foods. The study challenges the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) which suggest these protein sources are nutritionally equivalent.

I went right to the source.

  • The study: Connolly G, Hudson JL, Bergia RE, Davis EM, Hartman AS, Zhu W, Carroll CC, Campbell WW. Effects of Consuming Ounce-Equivalent Portions of Animal- vs. Plant-Based Protein Foods, as Defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans on Essential Amino Acids Bioavailability in Young and Older Adults: Two Cross-Over Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2023; 15(13):2870.
  • Objectives: We assessed the effects of consuming two oz-eq portions of pork, eggs, black beans, and almonds on postprandial EAA bioavailability in young and older adults.
  • Methods: We conducted two investigator-blinded, randomized crossover trials in young (n = 30; mean age ± SD: 26.0 ± 4.9 y) and older adults (n = 25; mean age ± SD: 64.2 ± 6.6 y). Participants completed four testing sessions where they consumed a standardized meal with two oz-eq of either unprocessed lean pork, whole eggs, black beans, or sliced almonds.
  • Conclusions: Pork resulted in greater EAA bioavailability than eggs in young adults (p < 0.0001), older adults (p = 0.0007), and combined (p < 0.0001)… The same “oz-eq” portions of animal- and plant-based protein foods do not provide equivalent EAA content and postprandial bioavailability for protein anabolism in young and older adults.
  •  Funding: This research was funded by the Pork Checkoff and the American Egg Board—Egg Nutrition Center. The supporting sources had no role in study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or submission of the report for publication.
  • Conflicts of Interest: When this research was conducted, W.W.C. received research funding from the following organizations: American Egg Board’s Egg Nutrition Center, Beef Checkoff, Pork Checkoff, North Dakota Beef Commission, Barilla Group, Mushroom Council, and the National Chicken Council. C.C.C. received funding from the Beef Checkoff. R.E.B. is currently employed by Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM); the research presented in this article was conducted in a former role and has no connection with ADM. G.C., J.L.H., E.M.D., A.S.H. and W.Z. declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.

Comment: It is very much in the interest of the Pork Checkoff and the Egg Board t,o demonstrate that animal-source food protein is better for you than proteins from plant sources—and to cast doubt on any evidence to the contrary.  Proteins, whether from animal or plant sources, contain precisely the same 20 amino acids, although in different proportions.  Animal proteins are closer in amino acid composition than are plant proteins but if you eat a variety of plant foods you will get the amino acids you need.   People who eat largely plant-based diets are generally healthier than people who eat a lot of animal-based foods.  The conclusion of this study does not change that overall conclusion.  This, then, is another industry-funded study with predictable results.

Apr 28 2023

Weekend reading: “Henfluence” for the love of chickens

Tove Danovich.  Under the Henfluence: Inside the World of Backyard Chickens and the People Who Love Them.  Agate, 2023 (223 pages).

I’ve followed Tove Danovich’s career with great interest, not least because she took a course with me in the Food Studies master’s program at NYU some years ago.

This is her first book, a nonfiction account of the chickens she raises, each named and identified, the contrast between the welfare of chickens raised in backyards as opposed to industrial batteries, and her love for chickens in general and hers in particular.

During the first year of the pandemic, chicken watching became my main hobby. (Not that there were many other options.)  When the news got to be too overwhelming, watching the chickens was how I reset  Obviously, I’m not the first one to discover the therapeutic power of chickens..Some people pour themselves a glass of wine; others stare at chickens. (p. 107)

She adopts two checkens rescued from factory farms and names them Thelma and Louise.

Some of Thelma’s and Louise’s natural behaviors came back as soon as they were given the chance to express them—dust bathing, foraging, laying in the sun—but their bodies and minds took longer to heal  A year after they were rescued, the hens’ feathers were almost completely regrown with the exception of their still sparse tail feathers.  Some things won’t change.  They will probabl always sleep on the floor of the coop.  Their beaks will never grow back.  But they’ve found a place for themselves in the flock and with me.  (p. 193)

The book has plenty to say about the political, economic, and animal-welfare aspects of factory farmed chicken raising, but mostly it’s a personal account of her enjoyment of raising backyard chickens.

She eats their eggs.  She does not eat the hens.


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Apr 25 2023

Menopause is a food marketing opportunity!

If you thought yesterday’s post about blueberries as a means to reduce hypertension in menopausal women seemed far-fetched, you are missing the point.

The food industry views menopause as a marketing opportunity.

‘We need the food industry to recognise this opportunity and step up to the plate’: Campaigner urges more NPD to embrace the menopause: The menopause represents a significant untapped opportunity for food and beverage brands, FoodNavigator’s Positive Nutrition Summit hears…. Read more

The menopause hits at a life stage when many women are particularly busy and time-poor and it is, at best, an inconvenience…This audience is now demanding more from brands – they don’t want to have to struggle and search to find items that support their symptoms. GenM research shows that 78% of women would be happy to shop for products labelled as menopause-friendly, while a further 90% of menopausal women want brands to be more inclusive to menopause. We need the food industry to recognise this opportunity and step up to the plate.

And then there’s this one:

Marketing sports nutrition products for menopausal women:  A variety of products are geared toward youth and seniors, but where do women in their 50s fit?… Watch now

Alexis Collins, director of product and brand strategy, Stratum, said one ingredient stands out to her most: NEM, the company’s flagship, branded eggshell membrane. Our ingredient is natural eggshell membrane also known as NEM and NEM is a joint health ingredient that has been specifically clinically researched in postmenopausal women to show fast exercise recovery.

Eggshell membrane.  Why didn’t I think of that?


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Feb 14 2023

Happy FoodPolitics Valentine’s Day!

And don’t miss Food Corps‘ gift of Veggie Valentine cards.  Here’s an example:





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Feb 9 2023

Egg prices! Yikes!

Thanks to Lisa Young for this:


The average price of a dozen eggs goes up and up.   It now averages $4.25 a dozen, and that’s for the cheapest kinds.

The New York Times explains

  • Inflation
  • The war in Ukraine
  • Higher feed costs
  • Higher energy costs (those hens have to be kept warm)
  • Avian flu (44 million hens died or were killed)
  • Higher-than-normal demand

It could get worse.  Avian flu infects animals as well as birds and could infect us.

How’s that for a cheery thought.

Small egg farms, anyone?

Or chickens as art, per National Geographic?


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Oct 10 2022

Industry funded review of the week: Egg proteins

The study: Health Functions of Egg Protein.  Ryosuke Matsuoka, Michihiro Sugano.  Foods 2022, 11, 2309.

Purpose: “In this review, we have summarized the available information regarding the health benefits of egg proteins based on human studies.”

Conclusion: “This review summarizes the health effects of egg proteins, especially EWP, as reported in human studies. Two major functions have been clearly identified: (1) they improve muscle mass and have muscle-strengthening and antifatigue effects when
consumed during exercise; (2) they can improve lipid metabolism by reducing visceral fat and lowering serum cholesterol levels. The intake of egg protein may, thus, contribute to the prevention of physical frailty and metabolic syndrome.”

Conflicts of Interest: M.S. declares no conflict of interest. R.M. is an employee of Kewpie Corporation. There are no other patents, products in development, or marketed products to declare.

Comment: M.S. declares no conflict but is Chair of the Japan Egg Science Society, Tokyo, respectively.  The purpose of this study was to examine the benefits of egg proteins, not to evaluate them in comparison to any other proteins or to assess the role of eggs in diets.  Studies that look for benefits invariably find them.  The Kewpie Corporation sells products using eggs.  It can now advertise them as health foods.


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Apr 12 2021

Industry-funded opinon of the week: eggs and cholesterol

Nutritional Viewpoints on Eggs and Cholesterol. by Michihiro Sugano and Ryosuke Matsuoka.  Foods 202110(3), 494;

Opinion:  This review says that although Japanese people eat more eggs than Americans, they may be protected against higher cholesterol levels due to the differences in everything else they eat (more seafood, for example?).

Conclusion: “Although randomized controlled trials with long-term follow-up are required to evaluate the association between consumption of eggs and human health, available information, at least from the nutritional viewpoint, suggests that egg is a healthy and cost-efficient food worldwide.”

Conflicts of interest: “M.S. declares no conflicts of interest, and R.M. is an employee of Kewpie Corporation. There are no other patents, products in development, or marketed products to declare. Kewpie Corporation has no conflicts of interest with this research.”

Comment: Really?  No conflicts of interest?  But Kewpie is Japan’s #1 mayonaise companyKewpie says that it “uses about four billion eggs a year. Recognizing that eggs contain all the necessary ingredients for creating life, we continually study ways of effectively utilizing such ingredients and manufacture fine chemicals for use in a broad range of food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical applications.”

One of those ways, apparently, is to get its employees to write opinion pieces like this.

With that said, concerns about eggs and cholesterol have diminished in recent years.  The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans says not a word about eggs and cholesterol; it just recommends eggs as a source of protein.  A study in the American Heart Association Journal finds no association between eggs and heart disease mortality.

The American Heart Association notes that eggs are the leading source of dietary cholesterol but their negative effects may be confounded by the fact that they are so often eaten with bacon and sausage.  The AHA egg recommendations:

  • Vegetarians (lacto-ovo) who do not consume meat-based cholesterol-containing foods may include more dairy and eggs in their diets within the context of moderation discussed herein.
  • Patients with dyslipidemia, particularly those with diabetes mellitus or at risk for heart failure, should be cautious in consuming foods rich in cholesterol.
  • For older normocholesterolemic patients, given the nutritional benefits and convenience of eggs, consumption of up to 2 eggs per day is acceptable within the context of a heart-healthy dietary pattern.

And even with that said, the authors should have disclosed Kewpie’s evident conflicted interests.

Feb 25 2021

Eggs again: Are they good, bad, or whatever?

Here’s another nutrition question that doesn’t go away.

This new study is just out: Egg and cholesterol consumption and mortality from cardiovascular and different causes in the United States: A population-based cohort study.

Its conclusion:

In this study, intakes of eggs and cholesterol were associated with higher all-cause, CVD, and cancer mortality. The increased mortality associated with egg consumption was largely influenced by cholesterol intake. Our findings suggest limiting cholesterol intake and replacing whole eggs with egg whites/substitutes or other alternative protein sources for facilitating cardiovascular health and long-term survival.

This gets right into the funny business of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.  As I explained,

the recommendation to limit cholesterol has been dropped [from the 2015 Guidelines], but the document says, confusingly, that “this change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns. As recommended by the IOM, individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern.”  Could the dropping of the limit have anything to do with egg-industry funding of research on eggs, the largest source of dietary cholesterol, and blood cholesterol?  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has just filed a lawsuiton that very point.

Well, here we go again.  My thoughts:

This is association, not causation.  The paper gives this caveat: “At baseline, participants with higher whole egg consumption had a higher BMI and lower household income. They were less educated, less physically active, more likely to smoke and have a high cholesterol level, and less likely to take aspirin. They also had higher red meat intake; lower intakes of fruit, dairy products, and sugar-sweetened beverages; and lower HEI-2015 score.”

Eggs, it seems, track with other unhealthful dietary behaviors.

The egg situation is a mess to sort out because the egg industry funds so many studies in its own defense and these invariably show no effect.

But eggs are one food in complicated diets and it’s really hard to look at them independently of everything else in the diet and lifestyle.

What to do?  Moderation is always good advice.