Get ready to crack open an egg - for new official data shows that they are healthier than they used to be, containing more than 70% more vitamin D and double the amount of selenium than when eggs were last tested 30 years ago.
They also contain around 20% less fat, more than 20% less saturated fat, around 13% fewer calories and more than 10% less cholesterol than previous surveys suggested. An average medium egg now contains 66 calories (compared to the previous figure of 78 calories) and an average large egg 77 calories (previously 91 calories).
The data, produced by the UK Foodcomp project consortium, funded by the Department of Health as part of their rolling programme of nutrient analysis surveys, provides the first update on the nutrient content of eggs since the 1980s.
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Two medium eggs can provide around two-thirds of the RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) for vitamin D - useful, since many of us in the UK suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
The improved quality of our eggs is due to an incfrease in the ratio of white:yolk in the average egg, and better chicken feed. Vegetable oils replaced meat and bonemeal in UK hens’ feed in the 1980s. It is believed that better quality oils, plus with other enhancements to their diet, have improved the birds' absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and increased their ability to take up nutrients.