Lower fat versions

Most people over age 50 have at least some concern with the amount of saturated fat in their diet, for the well-known reasons of its strong link to heightened blood cholesterol levels and the subsequent increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Eggs have long been near the top of the list of dietary “no-no’s”, but as a study carried out for the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency shows, the Canadian egg has changed through the years.

The eggs you eat today (if you eat them) have 22 percent less fat and 31 percent less cholesterol than the eggs you ate as a child. The latest data available shows the average egg contains only 4.7 grams of fat, down more than 20 percent from the six grams recorded in Health Canada’s Canadian Nutrient File prior to 1989. In 1989, the file was updated to show that 50 grams of egg, no shell, had five grams of fat.

“Dietary cholesterol is not a health issue for most people but the level of fat in diets can be a problem for some,” says Anne Kennedy, a registered dietitian employed by the Egg Agency. “What this means is eggs fit easily into a balanced diet and can be eaten frequently,” she says.

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor might not ree with Ms. Kennedy, but the lowered fat and cholesterol content in eggs could mean that you could enjoy the odd boiled, scrambled, or even fried egg. According to Health Canada’s Nutrition Recommendations for Canadians, calories from fat should be limited to 30 percent of energy. This means a healthy woman consuming 1,800 calories a day can feel free to consume about 60 grams of fat on a given day. And a healthy man consuming 2,700 calories a day can consume about 90 grams of fat.

The egg people attribute the recent changes in egg nutrition to improvements in both laying hen breeding and changes to the feed farmers are giving their birds. The group expects that the industry will continue to improve production methods to further reduce the amount of fat and dietary cholesterol, in what for many people is a favorite food.