Monday, November 17, 2014

Brown or White?

Egg farmers produce a wide variety of eggs to meet consumer demand. Brown eggs are preferred primarily in the Northeast United States, while white eggs are preferred across the rest of the country. Shell color has no effect on nutrient content as nutrient content is determined by the hen’s feed. The only difference is white-feathered hens lay white eggs and red-feathered hens lay brown eggs. Brown and white eggs have virtually identical nutrient profiles, but studies show consumers perceive brown eggs to be more nutritious, have greater flavor and fat content, and believe they come from less conventional farm practices. Hens that lay brown eggs are larger and require more feed; as a result, brown eggs may be more expensive.

America’s egg farmers produce eggs using a variety of production methods. Consumers may recognize USDA-defined terms such as “cage-free” or “free-roaming” eggs laid by hens in indoor floor operations; and “free-range” eggs that are laid by hens with access to the outdoors in accordance with weather, environmental or state laws. Studies have been conducted to determine if housing and production methods affect nutrient quality. The findings indicate that housing type had no effect on cholesterol, vitamin A or vitamin E content. Fatty acid composition, however, did vary between housing types: eggs from the free range production system had slightly higher total fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat than eggs produced by caged hens. The research suggests that these differences in fatty acid composition reflect the free range hens’ access to wild seeds and insects. There is little nutritional difference between certified organic and conventional eggs.

While people will always have their own egg preferences, the preponderance of current research suggests that all types of hen-laid eggs offer high-quality protein with varying amounts of 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Let your conscience (and pocketbook) be your guide.

More information (sponsored by the egg industry - keep that in mind).

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Kidney Stones

There is universal agreement: kidney stones are the most painful experiences known. Once someone has a kidney stone he will make all efforts to prevent it from happening again. There are some current recommendations lending scientific credence to widely held beliefs.

Drinking more fluid to increase urination may decrease the risk of recurrence of kidney stones. Patients who have had kidney stones should drink enough to produce at least two liters of urine daily.

Researchers reviewed published literature from 1948 to March 2014 to create the evidence-based guideline, which appeared in the Nov. 4 Annals of Internal Medicine

Stone recurrence may also be prevented by reducing dietary oxalate, such as that found in chocolate, beets, nuts, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, tea, and wheat bran; reducing dietary animal protein and purines; and maintaining normal dietary calcium, according to the guideline.

The evidence also showed that patients who decreased intake of soda that was acidified by phosphoric acid had reduced kidney stone recurrence. The benefit was limited to patients who drank soda that was acidified by phosphoric acid (typically colas) rather than those acidified by citric acid (typically fruit-flavored sodas).  Even though colas are the bad actors in these studies, there doesn’t appear to be any role for any type of soda in the diet.