New research on the benefits of eggs in the diet to be presented at FENS

New research on the benefits of eggs in the diet to be presented at FENS

Two new abstracts relating to egg consumption in older people will be presented at the 13th European Nutrition Conference, FENS (Federation of European Nutrition Societies) this week. 

The first abstract highlights a randomised controlled intervention study designed to increase egg and protein intake among community-dwelling adults over 55 years. Participants in the intervention group were given recipes for protein-rich egg-based meals alongside single-use herbs/spice packets for 12 weeks. 

Protein is needed for the growth and repair of body cells and tissues, and as people age, protein requirements increase. An adequate intake of high-quality protein from sources such as eggs could help to slow the development of various age-related health conditions, including the degeneration of skeletal muscle.  

Results showed that egg intakes increased by 20%, which was sustained in the intervention group up to 12 weeks after the end of the intervention period. Those who increased their intake during the invention were more likely to take external reports and recommendations about eggs and health from media and health professionals more seriously, and to have had a higher BMI and a lower health-related quality of life prior to the intervention. Those who increased their egg intake during the follow-up period had a lower availability of eggs during their upbringing.

One of the researchers from Bournemouth University, Emmy van den Heuvel, will be presenting her poster at FENS on 16th October. She says, “These results are a positive sign that recipe-based interventions may be particularly beneficial for certain groups of older people. Feedback from participants also suggested that greater future benefit may also be obtained from recipes that are for smaller dishes, using familiar ingredients, and that cater to a range of culinary skills and preferences.”

The second abstract investigated whether food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) are appropriate for foods that are consumed irregularly, such as eggs. 

Intake data were compared from a validated FFQ with three questions on egg intake, and an FFQ specifically designed to measure egg intake which had 18 questions on eggs including mixed dishes. A sample of 100 community-dwelling healthy older adults with a mean age of 70 years completed both questionnaires. 

Results found that mean monthly egg consumption for the validated FFQ was 16, while the egg FFQ showed an egg intake of 22 eggs/month. The validated FFQ results were more in line with the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) data which found that British adults aged 65+ years consume 33g of eggs/egg dishes per day which is equivalent to 16 – 17 eggs per month. 

Dr Katherine Appleton says, “FFQs are often only validated for total nutrient intake rather than individual foods. With only a few questions and without including questions on mixed dishes, the validated FFQ may under-estimate egg intake, although a more comprehensive measure may also over-estimate intake. More research is needed to explore the most appropriate methods for measuring intakes of foods that are irregularly consumed, such as eggs.”
Dr Katherine Appleton will be presenting this abstract on 17th October. 

Both abstracts were prepared by E van den Heuvel, JL Murphy and KM Appleton from Bournemouth University.