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A misleading nutritional headline this week claims ‘An egg a day appears to help young children grow taller’.
The report the story is based on is a study of malnourished children in Ecuador being fed eggs to see if they help growth and development. In this study, 83 infants (six-nine months old) were fed an egg a day for six months while 80 others stuck to their usual routine.
Six months later it seemed the inclusion of eggs in the diet had helped improved growth in the young children.
Supplementing an inadequate diet with eggs improved the growth and development of malnourished children. So does this answer the question ‘are eggs healthy?‘ No. All this confirms is that a diet poor in energy, fat and protein is inadequate. These results are like finding that Coca-Cola benefits thirsty children suffering in a drought.
Protein-rich plant-based foods such as peas, beans, lentils, tofu or a soya based meat-substitutes are all excellent sources of protein, iron and other nutrients without the health risks associated them.
It’s not a good idea encouraging people to feed babies eggs as they are a common cause of allergy (affecting up to 2.5 per cent of children) and salmonella poisoning, are rich in unhealthy saturated fat and are linked to type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of early death in adults.
All major health bodies agree we should be striving to lower the amount of saturated fat (animal food) in the diet while increasing antioxidant- and fibre-containing fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds that protect against disease.
In short- how likely are we to hear that eggs are a superfood? …..very unlikely!