Infants Tolerate Adult Equivalent of 40 Eggs Per Week
July 03, 2002
By Robert A. Gibson
Egg yolks can be a source of the long chain fish oil fat DHA but many people are concerned about the consequences on their cholesterol level.
DHA is an integral component of breast milk and until Dr. Simpolous convinced the FDA, was not added to infant formulas in the US. Randomized controlled trials of infant formula supplemented with DHA compared with formula containing only precursor fatty acids have consistently shown short-term improvements in visual and neural development of preterm infants.
Although the potential long-term benefits of DHA are still being explored, biochemical data indicate that breast-fed infants accumulate DHA in the brain until 12 mo of age and at a greater rate than do infants fed formula without DHA.
The most commonly cited reason for delaying the introduction of whole eggs to infants is to avoid sensitizing infants to egg white proteins and hence the development of egg-related allergies
Although an egg yolk typically contains 200 mg cholesterol and 6 grams of fat, introducing 4 eggs per week to the diets of weaning infants did not significantly alter plasma cholesterol concentrations in either breast-fed or formula-fed infants.
Egg allergy and intolerance are among the most common food allergies and intolerances. In our group of healthy infants with no known protein allergies or intolerances, only 1 of 82 breast-fed and 1 of 79 formula-fed infants were withdrawn from the trial because the parents perceived that the infants had an adverse reaction to the egg yolk intervention.
The results of the trial indicate that it is possible and practical for weaning infants to consume 4 egg yolks/week without affects on the intake of other foods such as cereals and meats.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 75, No. 6, 1084-1092, June 2002