Egg consumption in pregnancy and infant diets: How advice is changing


Eggs are a nutrient-dense, relatively inexpensive and convenient food, suitable for consumption by pregnant and breastfeeding women and infants. However, there appears to be some confusion among the public regarding the safety of egg consumption by these groups. Some evidence suggests that delayed introduction of potential food allergens such as eggs during weaning may be counterproductive for allergenic risk, and that introduction of the allergenic protein during a proposed 'critical window', at 4-7 months, may be necessary to induce tolerance. This hypothesis is currently being tested by two major studies, while two expert committees (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment) are also reviewing evidence on complementary feeding and allergic risk, respectively. This article discusses historic and current advice on egg consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding and in complementary feeding. It examines the evidence base for the advice in the context of both the microbiological safety of eggs and risks of egg allergy in these groups, presents a new analysis of nationally representative infant feeding data and reviews the latest nutritional composition data for British eggs in the context of the maternal and infant diet. It appears that historic concerns about food safety and allergy may have resulted in unnecessary avoidance of eggs during the introduction of complementary feeding.

Reference;article=hv_2_4_198_206 Gray J, Gibson S (2014), Journal of Health Visiting, Vol. 2, Iss. 4, pp 198 - 206

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