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Poultry and Human Nutrition


Increased consumption of eggs and poultry meat brings substantial benefits to the human population in developing countries. Additional information about the topic is available from this website through links to information notes on specific subjects. Chicken is usually the cheapest of all domestic livestock meats. Those living in low-income countries, such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are particularly at risk from a number of diseases as a consequence of consuming a poor-quality diet. Poultry foods are usually without taboos and can be consumed by a family in a single sitting. A comparison of chicken meat with other meats shows that it is a healthy meat. It is low in total fat and in the undesirable trans fats, but high in the desirable monounsaturated fats – which make up about half of the total.

It is not difficult to enrich both eggs and chicken meat with the important omega-3 fats and with other critical nutrients such as selenium, iodine and folic acid, which are often deficient in the diet of people living in developing countries. The benefits of eggs and poultry meat in meeting the requirements for essential amino acids and some or all of the other essential nutrients can be shown with an example of an infant on a typical high-starch low-protein diet.

Folic acid in eggs can help to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects in pregnancy; a common occurrence for many disadvantaged women in low-income countries.

The question of cholesterol in eggs – a previous concern that resulted in lower consumption – is an important subject. Attempts to reduce the cholesterol in eggs have been impractical, and are now considered unnecessary. Consumption of up to two eggs per day is no longer considered a risk factor to human health for most of the population.