Eggs are a staple of cuisines around the world, one of our most convenient and economical protein sources. In addition, they hold a place as a “comfort food” ingredient, as explained by Wilson (2020) and evidenced by Google Trends data during the early stages of the pandemic. Wilson speaks to finding “foods that make you feel special” and evoke comforting memories. She says that eggs in a variety of preparation styles fit the bill.
As you will discover in this course, eggs are an excellent source of many of the nutrients that are essential for human health. Yet eggs in the diet have also been a source of concern since the American Heart Association first recommended limiting egg intake in 1968. They were “long-vilified for their high cholesterol content by well-meaning doctors and scientists researching heart disease,” says Harvard School of Public Health (2022). Scientific thinking, while not conclusive, has evolved significantly since that time. Explains Consultant 360 (2022), “Eggs have done a complete turnaround over the past 50 years, from a food on the ‘Do Not Eat’ list to one of the best healthy food choices.”
Egg consumption has indeed shifted over the years. USDA (2019) says that in 1945, average consumption in the U.S. was 404 eggs per person. It dropped to 229 in 1991 and then rose to 245 in 2011. The American Egg Board (2022) reports that it rose further to 280.5 in 2021. “Consumers are slowly adding eggs back into their diets,” says Consultant 360, but “given their history, consumers still have questions regarding the safety of eggs.”
This course will present current knowledge about egg nutrition, including nutrients and other components, impact on health, and the state of dietary guidance about consuming eggs. While there are many varieties of eggs available for human consumption, this course focuses on the most common, chicken eggs.