A single large egg provides 12 percent of the daily requirement of protein for 70 calories. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest Americans “eat a nutrient dense breakfast.” Evidence suggests that the high-quality protein in eggs provides steady and sustained energy because it does not cause a surge in blood sugar or insulin levels, which can lead to a rebound effect or energy “crash” as blood sugar levels drop. Recent research shows that eggs eaten at the start of the day help people feel more satisfied, allowing them to reduce their caloric intake for the rest of the day and prevent snacking between meals.

Eggs contain the highest quality protein and are often used as a standard to measure the quality of other protein sources. Eggs also have the highest biological value of any protein, meaning that the essential amino acids they provide are used very efficiently by the body. Eggs also contain varying amounts of vitamins A, D, E, K, B6, B12, folate, and a variety of minerals (particularly riboflavin, phosphorus, and iron). Because eggs are very easy to digest, they are frequently included in therapeutic diets.

The yolk makes up just over one third of an egg. It provides three-fourths of the calories, all of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), and all of the choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin. The yolk also provides most of the phosphorus, iron, and folate and almost half of the protein and riboflavin. The white (albumen) provides more than half of the total protein and riboflavin. Choline, an essential nutrient, is shown to be important for proper brain development in the fetus and newborn and may play a role in memory function throughout life and into old age. Lutein and zeaxanthin may prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly in the U.S.

Though these nutrients are present only in small amounts in eggs, research shows that they may be more bioavailable, or absorbed and utilized by the body, when obtained from egg yolk than from richer sources.

Learn more about the nutrition content of a large egg.

Choosing the Right Eggs

Choosing the Right Eggs


The quality of an egg is determined by the grade of the egg and is not related to size. All eggs are classified according to the U.S. Standards for interior and exterior quality factors. This determines the grade of the egg as AA, A or B. Only eggs packed in official USDA plants and sampled by official USDA graders can be packed in cartons bearing the USDA grade shield. USDA grading is a voluntary service offered to processing plants that meet minimum USDA equipment, facility, sanitary, and processing requirements.


When purchasing shell eggs, follow these guidelines:

  • Accept only clean, sound and odor-free eggs.
  • Purchase eggs according to grade and size desired and only in the quantity needed for one to two weeks.
  • Accept only eggs delivered under refrigeration at a temperature of 45° F or below. Transfer to refrigerated storage promptly.
  • Accept only eggs packed in snug-fitting fiberboard boxes to reduce breakage. Eggs are generally packed and purchased in 30-dozen cases or half cases of 15 dozen.
  • Consider size and grade in relation to use and price. Also, compare prices for different sizes of eggs of the same grade.
  • Check the grade of eggs delivered to you. Inspect the shells and then randomly break a few. These eggs should meet the guidelines for their given grades.

Eggs & Egg Products

The term “Egg Products” refers to processed or convenience forms of eggs obtained by breaking and processing shell eggs. Egg products include whole eggs, egg whites, and egg yolks in frozen, refrigerated liquid, and dried forms available in a number of different product formulations, as well as specialty egg products. Specialty egg products include: pre-peeled hard cooked eggs, egg rolls or “long eggs,” omelettes, egg patties, quiches, quiche mixes, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and others.

Egg products are becoming increasingly popular in foodservice operations. That’s because they are convenient to use and also provide a cost savings with regards to labor, storage, and portion control. Frozen, refrigerated liquid, and dried egg products are similar to shell eggs in nutritional value and most functional properties.

Large Eggs

For more information on REAL egg products, click here.

What You Should Know

Egg Composition


Egg facts

Egg Products & Specifications

Baking with Egg Whites