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Food/Nutrition Columnist Author: Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN, Food & Nutrition Columnist - Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Eggs – Did You Know?

By Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN, Food & Nutrition Columnist -
Apr 16, 2017 - 8:36:18 AM

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( - Eggs symbolize life and rebirth. They are an ancient symbol of fertility and an expected part of spring holidays. For Christians, Easter eggs represent the rebirth of Jesus from the dead. On the Passover plate a roasted egg symbolizes the offering brought to the temple. Here are a few egg facts you may not know.

Eggs do not raise your cholesterol. Many have stayed away from eggs – despite their taste, convenience, low cost, and nutrition – believing that eggs would raise their cholesterol. Over 30 years of cholesterol research has shown that eating eggs does not increase your risk for heart disease or stroke. A healthy adult can enjoy one to two eggs a day without concern. Though eggs are high in cholesterol they are low in saturated fat which is the real culprit in heart disease. In fact, recent more accurate USDA re-analysis of eggs found that a large egg has 185 milligrams of cholesterol (down from 215) and 64% more vitamin D.

Brown eggs are not healthier than white-shelled eggs. Eggshell color doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of an egg, the health of the chicken, or how the chicken was raised. From a nutrition standpoint, all eggs are equal and one of nature’s truly remarkable products. Each egg contains every nutrient needed to support life in a handy container. Eggs have the highest-quality protein, pigments that protect your eyes, 12 minerals, 13 vitamins and they are low in saturated fat and average 75 calories per egg. Egg shell color simply tells you the breed of hen. In some areas of the country you pay more for brown-shelled eggs, in other places white-shelled are more expensive. Keep in mind, you throw away the shell you may have paid a premium to buy.

Fertilized and unfertilized eggs are nutritionally equal. The only difference is that the rooster got in the hen house. Fertilized eggs are more perishable and will not be found in a local supermarket because USDA and state egg inspectors remove them from wholesale supplies. 

You can safely eat the greenish tinge around the yolk of a hard-boiled egg. The color is the result of overcooking caused by a reaction between the sulfur in the white and iron in the yolk both of which naturally occur in the egg. It does not affect taste or the quality and safety of the egg. You can prevent the green ring by cooking eggs correctly. Place the eggs in a pan and fill it with cold water until you have 1-inch of water covering the top of the eggs. Bring the water to a full boil, take the pan off the heat and cover with a lid. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 12 minutes (large eggs) to 15 minutes (extra-large). When the time is up, drain the pan and cool the eggs under cold running water. Not only will the green ring be gone but the whites will be less rubbery. This cooking method also prevents the shells from cracking and will make the eggs easier to peel.

Eggs should be refrigerated in their original carton large end up. Most eggs are placed in the carton pointy end up. Turning them upside down will help the yolk stay centered. The egg shell is porous, so if eggs are stored on the refrigerator door or in an open egg tray they can take up odors from other foods.

Raw and undercooked eggs are not safe to eat. Eggs may contain salmonella which is destroyed when the eggs are cooked properly. Salmonella does not make chickens sick but it can live in their bodies and get into uncracked whole eggs. Eating raw eggs, uncooked dough, Caesar salad dressing made with raw eggs, or putting raw eggs into health drinks could make you sick.

Eggs are safe to eat past the date stamped on the carton. All eggs displaying the USDA grade shield must have a pack date, too. This 3-digit code represents the day of the year with January 1 as 001 and December 31 as 365. Use by, sell by or expiration dates are not required by the USDA but may be a local requirement. Eggs are safe to eat for 3 to 5 weeks after these dates. When an egg is held longer it is only the cooking quality that changes. Fresh eggs have a high centered yolk and a small, thick white. As eggs age the yolk will be off centered and the white thinner and runnier.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of 30 books. Available as eBooks from iTunes and Kindle/Amazon:

Diabetes Counter

Calorie Counter

Protein Counter

Healthy Wholefoods Counter

Complete Food Counter

Fat and Cholesterol Counter

Available in print from Gallery Books:

Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd Ed.

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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