Have you ever been standing in front of the egg section wondering which eggs to buy? You find yourself wondering, the white ones or the brown ones? Whats the difference? You know you should buy organic but which color? The white looks prettier. Did I actually say that?
Did you know that there are about 50 billion eggs per year in production, but the large number is achieved through the use of industrial agriculture or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)? Of the eggs sold about 70% that are produced are sold as is and the rest have their shells removed for conversion into both liquid and dried egg products. The biggest producers in the U.S. are Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and California, and the U.S. is the largest egg-producing country in the world.
It has been touted that the brown eggs are better for you because they contain more nutrients, while others are convinced they’re better for cooking fluffy things like quiches. Some believe the white eggs are better for baking cakes. Others just plain believe the opposite. So what is the real difference between brown and white eggs? An expert says there is no difference on the inside, nutrition-wise, but the way the chickens are raised can change that.
According to some scientists the thickness of both white and brown eggs is relatively the same and has more to do with the age of the chicken.
The young chickens will typically lay eggs with a harder and thicker shell while the older chickens lay thinner-shelled eggs. Interestingly enough though the chickens that lay white eggs are usually white or light-colored and also have white earlobes. The red, brown or dark-feathered hens have red earlobes. Bet you didn’t know that, did you? I sure didn’t!
The diet given to chickens will vary and affect the taste, yolk color and nutrition. Most CAFO-raised chickens get fed the same thing no matter whether they lay brown or white eggs. Those eggs laid by a pasture-raised chicken may have a difference in taste than those of the white CAFO, cheap variety.
White-lobed chickens don’t cost as much to raise, so their eggs are less expensive and usually purchased more often in the store. Unfortunately, these typically come from CAFOs. Nutrition itself has nothing to do with the color of the egg, but everything to do with the chicken’s diet and the way the chicken is raised. How a chicken is raised determines how healthy their eggs are. Most brown eggs are found at home-grown operations. The CAFO-raised chickens are fed GE grain supplemented with vitamins and possibly treated with antibiotics. You can also tell if your eggs are free-range or pastured by the color of the egg yolk. Those hens foraging in the pasture produce eggs with bright orange yolks whereas the small, pale yellow yolks are a dead giveaway that your eggs are from caged hens that are not allowed to forage for their natural diet.
Even though some doctors recommend the consumption of eggs be limited because they contain high amounts of cholesterol and might increase your heart disease, the George Mateljan Foundation noted that some large-sale diet studies suggest the cholesterol content of an egg may be less of a concern in relationship to heart disease than was previously thought. There is no increased risk of either heart attack or stroke shown in studies with intake of one to six eggs per week.
Eggs are an abundant source of vitamins, protein and antioxidants that many of us are lacking. There is about 90% of the U.S. population that may be deficient in choline, a B vitamin that plays a role in brain development and memory that’s linked to low levels.
So, the next time you are about to purchase eggs, just be sure they are organic and I wouldn’t worry so much about the color. Well, white boiled eggs may look better on the table if you are using pastel colors and flowers as a center piece. JUST KIDDING!!
Dr Fredda Branyon