Egg: The Universal Food

The egg is one of the nature's most nutritious, economical and versatile foods. In addition, the egg is one of the safest animal protein foods. Despite the best efforts of Mother Nature to preserve the egg in a protective shell and the U.S. egg industry's contributions, eggs remain a perishable food and should be treated accordingly. Eggs are just too important to our daily menu to be taken lightly.

Ask people from all nations to select a universal food and most would pick the egg. Virtually everywhere human beings are found, eggs are found, and for good reasons. In addition to being a versatile food ingredient which works as a garnish, side dish, appetizer and entree, the egg is also very nutritious. Eggs contain a high-quality protein and are often used as a standard to measure protein in other foods. A large U.S. egg contain 15 grams of protein and only 80 calories. Eggs contain varying amounts of 13 vitamins, including A, D, E, K, riboflavin, folacin and vitamin B12, and 12 minerals. Studies have now proven that important antioxidants are found in eggs. Lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of aged-related macular degeneration and cataracts, while choline may aid memory and brain development. Recent research from American Heart Association indicates that an egg a day will not increase the risk of heart disease.

Next to mother's milk, no other food comes closer to supplying the total needs in the human diet.

 

Egg Nutrition

While no one food (other than mother's milk, perhaps) provides everything that human beings need, the egg contains a wide array of necessary nutrients. 

CALCIUM - One large egg provides 3% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for calcium, most of which is contained in the yolk. Calcium's major role is in building and maintaining bones and teeth. It is also essential for many other body functions related to the blood, nerves and muscles. The eggshell is composed largely of calcium carbonate and contains about 2 grams of calcium. It also contains small percentages of magnesium carbonate and calcium phosphate.

CALORIES - The calorie count for eggs varies with size. Here is the calorie score for one egg in different sizes.

Egg Size

Calories

Medium

66

Large

75

Extra Large

84

Jumbo

94

CHOLESTEROL - One large egg contains 213 mg cholesterol. Cholesterol is required for the structure of cell walls, must be available for the body to produce vitamin D, is essential to the production of digestive juices, insulates nerve fibers and is the basic building block for many hormones. In other words, cholesterol is essential for life. However, dietary excesses too many calories, too much fat and saturated fat and high intakes of cholesterol may increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. Saturated fat has the greatest influence on raising blood cholesterol. In a blood cholesterol-lowering diet, cutting down on fat and saturated fat is the most important change you can make. Although egg yolks are usually restricted, it is rarely necessary to avoid them completely, and egg whites can be used freely.

FAT- A large egg contains only about 5 grams of fat - about 1.5 grams saturated and 2.5 grams unsaturated. Saturated fat increases blood cholesterol but monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats tend to decrease blood cholesterol levels. 

PROTEIN - Egg protein is of such high quality that it is often used as the standard by which other protein is measured. Egg protein contains all the essential amino acids in a pattern that matches very closely the pattern the body needs. This is why eggs are classified with meat in the food groups and why egg protein is called complete protein. Altogether, a large egg provides a total of 6.25 grams of high-quality, complete protein. For this reason, the egg is classified with meat in the food categories. One egg = 1 ounce of lean meat, fish or poultry. A large egg provides 10 to 13% of the Daily Reference Value for protein and varying amounts of many other nutrients, too.

VITAMINS - An egg contains varying amounts of 13 vitamins (but no vitamin C) plus many minerals. An egg yolk is one of the few foods which contain vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. 

 

U.S. Eggs: Distinguished Quality, Assured Safety

Egg production is a prominent and vital segment of agriculture in the United States. American egg producers manage more than 276 million hens, each of which lays about 250 eggs per year. Of all eggs produced in the U.S., approximately 70% is marketed as shell eggs for home, institutional, and food service use. The remaining 30% is processed into a variety of different egg products to be used by food manufacturers and large food service operations worldwide.

 

Why U.S. eggs?

From Atlanta to Dubai to Hong Kong, buyers know about the "egg-ceptional" qualities of U.S. eggs and egg products.

  • Not only is the U.S. the world's second-largest egg-producing country, it also produces eggs of the highest quality in the world.
  •  The American egg industry maintains strict quality control and sanitation measures that are more stringent than is required by law. Immediately after they are laid, eggs are washed, sanitized, oiled, graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and packed.
  • During processing, U.S. eggs are sprayed with a fine film of odorless, colorless, tasteless mineral oil. Oiling is an important and unique process that seals the pores of the shell to prevent the loss of carbon dioxide and moisture, which prolongs the shelf life of the egg.
  • After packing, U.S. eggs are refrigerated throughout the shipping and marketing process.

As you see through this website, you can easily see why U.S. eggs rank among the highest in the world for distinguished quality and assured safety.