Eggs and the fats and allergens that they carry

Whether eggs are healthy for the consumer or not depends on what the hens eat. According to a study led by Dr Niva Shapira of Tel Aviv University’s School of Health professions, when hens are fed a diet low in omega 6 fatty acids they produce eggs that may cause less oxidative damage to human health. Omega 6 fatty acids increase cholesterol’s tendency to oxidise and form dangerous plaque the arteries. Eggs from hens fed a healthier diet can lessen oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or ‘bad cholesterol’.

Eggs from hens fed a diet high in wheat, milo and barley (low levels of omega 6) were fed to a test group who were then compared to a group fed eggs from hens with a cheaper diet high in omega 6s (to mimick cheaper supermarket eggs). The results were very different. Daily consumption of two cheap eggs caused a 40% increase of LDL oxidisability. However daily consumption of two healthy eggs produced the same levels of LDLs as in the group only eating two to four cheap eggs per week. Demand for healthy eggs starts with the consumer, and in USA cheap cereals like corn and soya beans are high in omega 6 fatty acids and much more commonly fed to chickens.

If this is true for cholesterol, might it also be that eggs can carry allergens? There have been other reports on this, read more here: Soya residues in eggs

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

First published in August 2011


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