Eggs Aren't Just for Easter, But also Weight Control
The sale of eggs increases around Easter no doubt due to the tradition of dyeing eggs pastel colors; however, a poultry science professor and nutritionist says eggs with breakfast helps with weight control.
Paul Patterson, a professor of poultry science in Penn State's animal science department, says people consume less food and calories throughout the day when they include eggs with their breakfast.
On average, someone who includes eggs with a healthy breakfast consumes roughly 500 fewer calories in the day, Patterson says.
"You feel full. You're not looking for that doughnut or whatever ... because you had a balanced breakfast," he says.
Eggs are also particularly nutritious for seniors because they are small in size but include a large amount of nutrients. That means a senior who doesn't eat much in the day may still eat an egg or two, giving them much of the nutrition they need.
"They're getting a lot of bang for their buck," Patterson says.
Generally, Patterson says it's all right to eat the entire egg with the exception of a small percentage of people who cannot metabolize cholesterol. Instead, it is saturated fats that folks should look out for.
"We wouldn't survive without cholesterol in our diet," Patterson says. "It's essential for making hormones and other things in our bodies. You can eat eggs and be healthful."
But the way you prepare an egg for eating is important. Patterson says eating raw eggs is discouraged because while the risk for salmonella contamination is miniscule – less than one in 20,000 eggs – there is still a risk.
Patterson says it's important to keep eggs refrigerated, cook them before consuming, and avoid soft yolks. Hard-boiled eggs, which are popular at Easter, are especially safe to eat.
Infants, young children, elderly and those with compromised immune systems are all a greater risk for salmonella poisoning, which can cause severe diarrhea and even death.
Pennsylvania is the third largest egg-producing state in the United States. Roughly 90-percent of eggs sold in Pennsylvania are part of the state's quality assurance program, which the federal government used as a model for the Food and Drug Administration standards.
On a related note, if there are folks who still think it's a good idea to give a baby chick as an Easter gift – it's not.
"The reality is most families are not set up to brood baby chicks or feed baby chicks," Patterson says. "Some people get into it, research it, and handle it properly. They're prepared. But baby birds are basically like little dinosaurs. They can't generate heat for the first weeks of life. They need a lamp to warm them, proper care and proper food."