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Sunny Side's Up: Americans Eat Nearly 300 Eggs a Year

Government forecasts say Americans eating the most eggs in 5 decades
By Richard Kemeny,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2019 9:45 AM CST
This undated photo shows the darker orange yolk of a homegrown chicken egg, left, compared with the lighter yolk of a store-bought egg in Gillette, Wyo.   (Pete Rodman/Gillette News Record via AP)

(Newser) – Poached, scrambled, sunny, or not: whatever the preference, Americans are eating the most eggs in almost five decades. The average number of huevos consumed is 279 per person per year, reports the Washington Post, the highest since 1973, though well down from the post-World War II peak of 405 in 1945. The low was 229 in 1995. The results, released in USDA forecasts, follow an upward four-year trajectory. The recent egg-naissance could be due to shifts in federal nutrition guidelines on, and our understanding of, cholesterol. In 2016, the government suggested that eating high-cholesterol foods such as eggs wasn’t all that bad, and in the same year egg consumption grew 6%. The view among nutritionists is shifting, to one in which high-cholesterol foods don’t necessarily raise cholesterol levels, and may not lead to increased risk of heart disease.

Brigitte Zeitlin, a private nutritionist from New York, explains that protein-heavy diets have also boosted the appeal of eggs. "Eating healthy fats doesn’t make you fat,” she adds, such as those found in eggs, fish, and olive oil. And a growing taste for eggs with avocado toast is likely to be boosting numbers. US egg production surged to 9.1 billion in January alone: Bloomberg reports that's "enough to go to the moon and halfway back," if stacking eggs is your thing. Some 8.2 billion of these were used for eating, the rest to hatch more chickens. The FDA is currently reviewing its health guidelines, after realizing that health recommendations have changed. "Healthy" labels don’t currently apply to egg producers, as the levels of fat and cholesterol exceed the agency’s regulation levels. (Read more eggs stories.)

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