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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. All this confirms is that a diet poor in energy, fat and protein is inadequate.This is 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 that don’t have the health risks associated with eggs.
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!
Veronika Powell MSc is a researcher and campaigner at Viva! and Viva!Health specialising in the links between diet, health and disease. Veronika is a biologist and a qualified teacher; she has worked on a number of major campaigns since 2004. After spending several years campaigning against animal experiments working with schools, universities, cosmetics companies and politicians, she moved on to vegan nutrition and health to show people that a plant-based diet is the best possible. Her research and campaigning efforts have been focused on diabetes, bone health, benefits of vegan diets and also the dairy industry in the recent years, specifically on exposing the reality of dairy farming, its environmental impacts and the consequences of dairy consumption on human health.
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