Nutrition Science

Nutrition research is the underpinning of our programs and outreach. ENC is dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information on eggs, nutrition and health. Below is a collection of both ENC-funded research and relevant studies.

To learn more about our competitive research program, click here.

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Are free-range eggs more nutritious?

Blog Mineral Content of Eggs

One of the top questions we receive here at the Egg Nutrition Center is whether the nutritional profile of an egg is influenced by the housing conditions of the hen, particularly free-range versus caged.  It’s a reasonable question to ask.  Free-range hens may forage for bugs and plants, which could conceivably alter the nutritional intake of the hen and hence affect the nutritional content of the egg.  It has also been questioned whether certain housing systems affect stress levels of the hens that may in turn, lead to changes in the nutrient content of an egg.

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Cardioprotective Activities of Whole Eggs in Prediabetic Adults

Article - Cardioprotective Activities of Whole Eggs in Prediabetic Adults

Featured article in the March, 2018 Issue of Nutrition Research Update; written by Josh D. McDonald, PhD Candidate, Ohio State University

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States (US).1 While numerous risk factors contribute to the progression of CVD, epidemiological evidence demonstrates that postprandial hyperglycemia (PPH), or increases in blood sugar following a meal, are a better predictor of CVD-related mortality compared with fasting blood sugar.2 PPH results in the generation of chemicals that impair blood vessel function to increase CVD risk.3 Dietary modification targeting PPH and/or downstream chemicals are leading strategies to limit PPH-mediated increases in CVD risk.4

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Choline During Pregnancy Improves Infant Cognition

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Choline is hot! In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration established a Reference Daily Intake value for choline of 550 mg. Then in June of 2017, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates recommended the addition of choline to prenatal vitamins because of its essentiality in promoting cognitive development of the offspring. This was followed in August by a study that showed that more than 90% of pregnant women (as well as adults in general) do not consume recommended intakes of choline.

Now the story continues. This month, Dr. Marie Caudill and colleagues at Cornell University published evidence that infants exposed to higher levels of maternal choline (930 mg/day) during the third trimester have improved information processing speed during the first year of life, an indicator of cognition and intelligence. Similar studies have been conducted in rodents and shown that the cognitive effects of maternal exposure to choline last beyond infancy. Whether the same will be observed in humans remains to be determined. But one thing is clear: there’s much to learn about the role of choline in brain development. Hopefully this study will be a catalyst for other scientists to start unraveling the unknowns about this previously underappreciated nutrient.


Reference: Caudill MA, et al. Maternal choline supplementation during the third trimester of pregnancy improves infant information processing speed: a randomized, double-blind, controlled feeding study. FASEB. 2017 E-pub

Whole Eggs for Muscle Growth

Egg Whites

In nutrition science, individual nutrients are often recognized for their specific roles in physiology. We know that calcium is critical for bone health, choline is important for brain development and a lack of vitamin C will result in scurvy. However, whole foods are complex and contain numerous compounds, often leading to effects that extend beyond the sum of their parts.   Continue reading “Whole Eggs for Muscle Growth”

Eggs, Vitamin D and Diabetes

Eggs Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a number of critical roles in the body. It is essential for calcium absorption and regulation, bone growth and repair, and neuromuscular and immune function, to name a few. In recent years, new research has favorably linked vitamin D to several diseases and conditions, from cancer to obesity. This continues to be an area of active investigation. Continue reading “Eggs, Vitamin D and Diabetes”