‘The Good Egg’

AUSTRALIA - In October 2007, the Australian Egg Corporation Limited (AECL) commissioned the most comprehensive nutritional analysis of Australian fresh shell eggs ever undertaken.
calendar icon 7 March 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

For the first time in more than 20 years, the full nutritional profile of Australian eggs has been analysed and updated, with results for some nutrients previously not evaluated now available locally.

A representative sample of eggs from each state of Australia was sourced by AECL for analysis to ensure that the nutritional profile was representative of a typical Australian egg. The results confirm that eggs are a nutrient dense food being a natural source of at least 13 different vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

With increasing obesity rates among Australian adults and children, nutrient density is a concept that is increasing in interest in the food and healthcare industries. Nutrient dense foods have been defined as those with a high proportion of vitamins and minerals for the amount of energy (kilojoules) they provide. So foods that are relatively low in kilojoules but high in nutrients, like eggs, are classified as ‘nutrient dense’.

Table 1: Nutrient content of eggs*RDIs listed are those used for food labeling purposes: Reference values for recommended dietary intakes on food labels, Food Standards Code Standard 1.1.1, Schedule to column 3.
^AI values from 2006 NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values.

Why is it important to consume nutrient dense foods?

Having a balanced diet significantly impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing. Alarmingly however, many people consume excess amounts of kilojoules but miss out on essential vitamins and minerals form making poor food choices. This in turn may lead to poor health and excess weight gain.1 People watching their weight or those with higher nutrient needs such as children, elderly people, pregnant women and athletes will particularly benefit from choosing nutrient dense foods .

The egg – a natural superfood

Key highlights from the egg nutritional analysis include the higher values identified for the long chain omega-3 fatty acids DHA and DPA than previously thought. Results show that 2 large eggs (an average serve of eggs) provide 114mg of the long chain omega-3 fats, representing 71-127% of the adequate intake (AI) for males and females respectively. Eggs therefore provide a good source of long chain omega-3 fats for ovovegetarians and people who choose not to eat fish or seafood. Testing the iodine content of eggs for the first time also revealed that eggs are a good source of this important mineral, providing 28% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).

Please see below an overview of the NIP values to be introduced to the Australian egg industry in 2008 for use on nutrition panels and incorporation into national food databases over the coming years.

The Tick of approval

Eggs carry the National Heart Foundation Tick because they are a nutritious food. They are recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet that also includes wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables, reduced fat dairy foods, lean meat, fish, poultry and unsaturated fats.

Eggs are good…for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Eggs are truly one of nature’s super foods. They are packed with nutrition, flavour and goodness. And the good news is: research shows that eggs have little to no effect on cholesterol for most healthy people. The main villains affecting blood cholesterol are saturated and trans fatty acids. Of interest is that one serve (2 large eggs) contains around 10.3 grams of fat, two thirds of which is the healthy, unsaturated type.

AECL has developed egg recipes, which provide quick and easy meal ideas, meet benchmark nutrient criteria and taste delicious. Eggs are healthy and can be fun for the whole family and as a natural convenience food, eggs also provide the highest quality protein of all food sources. Just one serve of two large eggs provides 25% of a person’s daily intake for protein.5 What’s more, eggs have been shown to increase satiety related hormones following consumption6 and along with their high protein content, eggs can therefore help you feel fuller for longer.

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