Nutrition

Everything you need to know about the goodness in your egg.

PROTEIN

OMEGA-3

CHOLESTEROL

FATS

PROTEIN

The protein in eggs is of such high quality that it forms the standard against which protein in other foods is rated. This protein gives you lasting healthy energy to do the things you want to do. Although half the egg's protein is found in the white, almost all of the egg's nutrients are found in the yolk. So try the whole egg to enjoy the full range of health benefits.

How much protein is in an egg?
A single large Canada Grade A egg (53 g) contains a whopping 6 grams of high quality protein. About half the protein is contained in the egg yolk and the other half in the egg white. Canada’s Food Guide defines 2 eggs as a single serving of Meats & Alternatives. If you eat 2 eggs, you get 12 grams of protein!

What’s so great about the protein in eggs?
The protein in eggs is of such high quality that it forms the standard against which protein in other foods is rated. Scientists frequently use eggs as a standard for measuring the protein quality of other foods. In addition to being affordable, eggs are also an excellent source of high quality protein. Protein quality is expressed as biological value which measures the rate of efficiency that protein is used for growth. At 93.7%, eggs score higher than any other food. Did you know, that eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own?

What’s an amino acid?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissue. It is also critical for proper growth and development. Muscles, organs, skin, hair as well as antibodies, enzymes, and some hormones are all made from protein. Protein is composed of 23 different amino acids.

What’s an “essential” amino acid?
Nine amino acids are considered “essential” because the human body cannot make them on its own – they must come from the foods we eat. Foods that contain all nine essential amino acids, such as eggs, are called "complete protein" foods. The nine essential amino acids are: Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Threonine, Histidine, Tryptophan, Phenylalanine, Methionine, and Lysine.

OMEGA-3

What are omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential dietary nutrients that we must get from our food since our bodies can’t make them on their own. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are required for normal growth and development, and good vision.
 
What are the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with reduced risk of heart attacks because they play a role in decreasing the clotting activity of platelets in blood.
 
What foods contain omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in food including canola and soybean oils, flaxseed, fatty fish (e.g., salmon, herring, mackerel, trout), fish oils, and fish oil concentrates. Omega-3 enriched eggs, produced from hens fed diets containing ground flaxseed, provide an alternative dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids. Canada’s Food Guide defines 2 eggs as a single serving of Meat & Alternative. Eggs are also part of the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Health Check™ Program which tells you that eggs are a healthy choice.
 
What are omega-3 enhanced eggs?
All eggs naturally contain omega-3 fatty acids, but omega-3 enhanced eggs contain more than non-omega eggs (0.4 grams vs. 0.1 grams). BC egg farmers feed hens a diet high in flaxseed, which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. The fatty acids are then transferred into the egg. As a result, the fat profile of these eggs is slightly different than classic eggs. Omega-3 enhanced eggs have a higher level of unsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. The total fat and cholesterol content remain the same as classic eggs. Vitamin E is added to the feed as an antioxidant to prevent the omega-3 fatty acids from degrading.
 
What is the recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids?
In 2002, Health Canada and the National Academy of Sciences developed new recommendations for the requirements of omega-3 fatty acids. The daily recommendation depends on age and gender. Women aged 19 to 70+ should consume 1.1 grams daily. Men aged 19 to 70+ should consumer 1.6 grams daily. These levels of omega-3 fatty acids can be reached by eating six omega-3 enhanced eggs or two fish meals per week.
 
Do omega-3 enhanced eggs have less cholesterol than classic eggs?
Not necessarily. Omega-3 enhanced eggs, however, do have a different fatty acid profile. The higher omega-3 content has been associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks because they play a role in the clotting activity of platelets in the blood.

CHOLESTEROL

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a natural, waxy, fat-like substance that is made in the liver as well as obtained through the diet. Cholesterol is essential to insulate nerves, maintaining cell walls, and produce vitamin D, digestive juices and certain hormones. Your liver produces most of the cholesterol that circulates in your blood. High blood cholesterol levels are one of the risk factors of heart disease. However, people often confuse blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol – these are two different kinds of cholesterol!
 
What is the difference between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol?
The cholesterol that circulates in your blood is called blood cholesterol. The cholesterol you get from foods is called dietary cholesterol. About 80% of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver. Only about 20% of your blood cholesterol is influenced by what you eat. Dietary cholesterol has little effect on most people’s blood cholesterol. When you eat more cholesterol than you need, your body (your liver) tries to maintain a balance by producing less. When it comes to diet, research indicates that it is the excess saturated and trans fats – not dietary cholesterol – that have the greatest impact on your blood cholesterol levels.
 
What are trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats?
Trans fatty acids are the fats that form when vegetable oils are hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is a process that allows solid fats to stay in a liquid state at room temperature. Trans fatty acids act like saturated fats and can increase “bad” (LDL) blood cholesterol levels. They can also decrease “good” (HDL) blood cholesterol levels. Trans fatty acids are found in foods containing hydrogenated oils including some margarines, shortening, french fries, doughnuts, pastries, cookies, crackers, chips, and other processed foods. The best way to avoid trans fatty acids is to limit foods containing hydrogenated oils.
 
Is cholesterol a concern?
Cholesterol is only a concern if your doctor has told you that you have high blood cholesterol levels that need to be controlled. Otherwise, most healthy people can eat food containing cholesterol. For most people, dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol levels because your body tries to maintain a balance. Eating too much fat, especially saturated and trans fats, has a significant influence on increasing blood cholesterol levels. High blood cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease. If you want to keep your blood cholesterol at a normal level, the best strategy is to limit your total intake of saturated and trans fats, increase your activity level, and maintain a healthy weight.
 
How much cholesterol is in an egg?
One large egg contains 190 milligrams of cholesterol.
 
Is there a limit to how much cholesterol I can consume? How much cholesterol is too much?
Most healthy people who have normal blood cholesterol levels are able to maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels in spite of what they eat. The most important strategy to protect against heart disease and to control blood cholesterol levels is to keep your intake of fat to less than 30% of total daily calories and saturated fat intake to less than 10% of total daily calories. Dietary fat, especially saturated and trans fats found in processed foods, have a greater influence on increasing blood cholesterol levels.
 
Do people with heart conditions have to limit their egg intake?
Actually, a recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health found no link between eating eggs and developing cardiovascular disease in healthy individuals. Limiting cholesterol in our food has only a small effect on lowering the risk of heart disease. Moreover, avoiding dietary cholesterol can lead to an unbalanced intake of important nutrients – this increases your risk of other health problems. It’s the unhealthy saturated and trans fats in foods such as pastries, whipped toppings and pre-packaged foods that can elevate the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL, low density lipoproteins) in your blood and increase your risk of heart disease. If you are concerned about your blood cholesterol level, reduce the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet.

Eggs are low in saturated fat and contain no trans fats. They’re the perfect blend of good health and great taste! If you are concerned about heart health, try omega-3 enhanced eggs. Omega-3 enhanced eggs have been shown to help manage heart disease.
 
I have been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol, how many eggs can I eat?
As long as you eat eggs as part of a healthy, well balanced diet and lifestyle, there is no limit to the number of eggs you can eat in a week. The cholesterol in eggs has very little effect on heart health. It’s the unhealthy saturated and trans fats in foods that can elevate “bad” cholesterol (LDL) levels in your blood and increase your risk of heart disease. Eggs are low in saturated fats and contain no trans fat. To keep your heart healthy, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy body weight, and choose nutritious foods more often.
 
Why do some people have high blood cholesterol and other people do not?
Many factors influence your blood cholesterol levels. The single most important factor is your family history. If one or both of your parents had high cholesterol, then you have a greater chance of having high blood cholesterol. Other risk factors include existing health problems (e.g., diabetes), age, gender, smoking, lack of physical activity, excess body weight, and a high-fat eating pattern.
 
Should I eat just the egg whites?
By eliminating the yolk, you are missing almost all of the nutritional benefits of the egg. The yolk provides the majority of the vitamins and minerals found in an egg, including half of the protein. Research has shown that eggs are not a concern when it comes to cholesterol. Instead, saturated and trans fats are the major contributors to higher blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Eggs are low in saturated fat and do not contain trans fat.
 
I use liquid eggs from the grocery store – aren’t they healthier?
There are many different egg substitutes on the market and are sold as a “low fat, yolk-replaced egg” product and promoted as a healthy alternative to real eggs. Egg substitutes are made with egg whites, contain significant amounts of protein, little fat and no cholesterol, making them potentially attractive to those who must reduce their blood cholesterol levels. While convenient, egg substitutes tend to be expensive (almost triple the cost of fresh shell eggs) due to the addition of several additives (e.g., the yolk is usually replaced with vegetable gums and emulsifiers, artificial and natural colours, vitamins and minerals, and nonfat dry milk or natural and artificial flavours).
 
Does “cholesterol-free” mean “fat-free”?
Not necessarily. Foods that boast a “cholesterol-free” label can still be high in fat. For example, a handful of cholesterol-free potato chips (28 g) may contain about 10 grams of fat! To find out what you are really eating, be sure to check the nutrition information panel on the label. Remember, it’s more important to lower total fat intake, especially saturated and trans fats, than it is to avoid cholesterol in terms of your risk of heart disease.

FATS

What types of fat are in eggs?
A single large Canada Grade A egg (53 g) contains 5 grams of fat. About 1.5 grams is saturated fat while the remaining 3.5 grams consists of the healthier mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats. There are no trans fat in eggs.
 
What’s the difference between saturated fats and mono-/poly-unsaturated fats?
Saturated fats increase LDL "bad" cholesterol levels and lower HDL "good" cholesterol levels. Meats, dairy products and many processed foods that are made with lard or palm or coconut oils contain saturated fat.

Polyunsaturated fats tend to lower overall cholesterol levels. They are found in oils that are liquid at room temperature such as corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils.

Monounsaturated fats help to lower LDL "bad" cholesterol and increase HDL "good" cholesterol levels. Olive, canola and peanut oils contain monounsaturated fats.
 
What are trans fatty acids and hydrogenated fats?
Trans fatty acids are the fats that form when vegetable oils are hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is the process that allows liquid oil to stay in a solid state at room temperature. Trans fatty acids act like saturated fats and can increase “bad” (LDL) blood cholesterol levels. They can also decrease “good” (HDL) blood cholesterol levels. Trans fatty acids are found in foods containing hydrogenated oils including some margarines, shortening, french fries, doughnuts, pastries, cookies, crackers, chips, and other processed foods. The best way to avoid trans fatty acids is to limit foods containing hydrogenated oils.