It’s April, which means eggs will begin to make their appearance for Easter egg hunts and Passover Seders.
For many cultures and religions, the egg symbolizes the season of spring. Of course, from a food perspective, it’s also associated with breakfast.
How did eggs become such a popular breakfast food in the United States?
Numerous sources say that advertising and marketing played a role, and that it was originally more about bacon than eggs.
According to “The Eater,” before the 1920s, Americans had light breakfasts of usually just a fruit, coffee, and a grain, such as a roll, oatmeal or boxed cereal, which was still relatively new.
In the 1920s, a company that produced pork wanted to increase sales, and so they hired public relations expert Edward Bernays, who is considered the pioneer of public relations and marketing. He also happened to be related to Sigmund Freud.
Knowing that the mornings weren’t a common time to eat meat, and with the rise of physically demanding jobs, such as factory and farm workers, he knew it was a good marketing opportunity to get people to eat bacon and eggs for a filling breakfast.
His strategy? To persuade the company’s physician that a heavier breakfast is better, and to make bacon and eggs the best example of what a heavy breakfast should look like to provide needed energy for the day.
The doctor agreed, and Bernays influenced him to spread this message to thousands of other physicians to have them confirm that a heavier breakfast is better.
Newspapers starting running headlines about it, and Americans began having heavier breakfasts — with bacon and eggs becoming the biggest breakfast staple.
The pork company achieved its goal of increasing sales, thanks to this PR move.
Of course today, we may not want or need such a heavy breakfast. But, eggs have stuck around as a symbol of breakfast.
Here’s a little nutritional information about eggs.
In one large egg, you can find 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, antioxidants, amino acids, and 13 vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients, including vitamin D (important for bone health and immune function), choline (for DNA synthesis) and selenium (good for thyroid health).
And, the protein helps us feel full, warding off hunger for longer periods of time. So, if you still feel hungry after having breakfast, consider adding more protein, such as eggs.
So, what about cholesterol from eggs?
You might have heard of that new study that was released in March that said eggs raise cholesterol.
But, there were a few things in that study that should be noted: It looked at six different studies that didn’t look at all aspects of participants’ lifestyles, it was based on people going back several weeks and remembering what food they ate, and it doesn’t directly prove eggs cause high cholesterol, just that there’s an association.
Yet other studies show that despite eggs being high in dietary cholesterol (about 186 mg in a large egg), they do not necessarily raise blood cholesterol; more research shows that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol.
And, while there is a little saturated fat in eggs (about 1.5 grams), there are other foods that are much higher in saturated fat, which can negatively impact your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, such as the bacon you had with your eggs.
So what should we do?
Enjoy eggs in moderation. Also, consider cutting out the calories from butter or oil by making them hard boiled or poached.
If the cholesterol concerns you, you can still enjoy egg whites, since the cholesterol is contained in the yolk.
One egg a day for healthy adults is within the current guidelines, but if you want to go by that latest study, limit to three or four eggs per week.
More research is needed on egg consumption in diabetics and for those with heart disease. Anyone with those health concerns should talk with their doctor or dietitian.
By Shari Bresin
Shari Bresin is the Family & Consumer Science Agent for the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension Pasco County
Easter Bunny Eggs in a Basket
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons parsley, minced
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 sourdough baguette, about 24” long
- 6 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 400° F
- Mix the garlic, parsley, salt and pepper with olive oil
- Sauté in a small saucepan until garlic is slightly browned
- Place baguette on a sheet of foil and roll up the sides to keep bread in place
- Cut 6 holes on top of baguette with a small serrated knife, spaced out evenly (make sure hole is wide and deep enough to hold one egg, and don’t cut through the bottom of the bread)
- Press down on the bread in the hole to make room for the egg and olive oil mixture
- Spoon olive oil mixture into each hole
- Crack one egg into each hole
- Cover baguette with one large piece of foil to create a “tent” for the first 5 minutes in oven
- Open the tent and cook until egg white is set and yolk is firm, between 15 and 20 minutes
Source: IncredibleEgg.org (check the website for other egg recipe ideas)
Note from Shari Bresin: In the image, the yolk is runny. From a food safety standpoint, it’s safer to have the yolk firm.
Published April 10, 2019