In the fitness world, there are several protein mainstays from chicken breast, to Greek yogurt, to whey, and the king of protein, the egg. Back in the day egg whites were sought after for a low-fat boost of pure protein. Now though we know the whole egg has a variety of health benefits. In reality as much as 80% of the fat in the yolk comes from monounsaturated and saturated fat. While eggs contain cholesterol and fat they also have compounds that lower the risk of heart disease. Do you know your egg facts? What do the terms really mean and could different types of eggs change your health.
We are not here to champion of vilify eggs but rather to educate. What we will look at is the debate of different egg’s health. For a while now there has been a trend of promoting cage free, organic, or brown eggs as healthier alternatives.
In late February 2017, an ABC new affiliate in Las Vegas aired a report looking at the level of nutrition in eggs.
According to Darrin Karcher, former head of a Michigan State University poultry research facility, and now a professor at Perdue concluded that eggs laid from hens in cage-free environments or open pasture raised environments aren’t significantly more nutritious than regular eggs laid by hens kept in a cage.
On average cage free eggs cost $2.00 more per dozen.
The Egg Facts
According to Jessica Crandall, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, pasture raised hens lay eggs that contain slightly higher levels of vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. However, Crandall’s research has showed the levels to not be significantly higher than cage laid eggs. Certainly, not enough to warrant the price hike. Fatty acid and vitamin levels did not show much of a difference.
According to Crandall you can get higher levels of Vitamin E from nuts and higher Omega 3 from salmon and tuna.
Crandall did note that cage free eggs can have a richer taste but that this is strictly a personal preference and has no reflection on nutrition. Could this be truth or fact?
The Color Conclusion
While white is the popular color of eggs they can come in other colors like brown or even blue. There is a belief and even marketing philosophy that brown eggs are healthier.
A study by Consumer Reports broke down the color confusion and discovered only a variation in yolk taste.
There is no known nutritional benefit in brown eggs versus white. Difference in yolk color and thickness comes from the chicken’s diet. Various things the hen eats can cause variances in the yellow color of the yolk.
Karcher claims that one exception to the nutritional difference lies with the Eggland’s Best brand.
This difference as stated by the company comes from special diets that are fed to their hens. Eggland’s claims to have higher levels of Vitamin E, D, Omega 3s and B10.
Egg Facts – Key Words
Like with any food eggs have different marketing key words.
- Cage Free- Hens are not caged but usually kept indoors in a closed facility with little access to outdoors.
- Grade A/AA- Depends on yolk thickness and shell condition. This is a voluntary system by the Department of Agriculture.
- Omega 3- Hens were fed diets with added flax, fish oils, and marine algae.
- Pasteurized – The eggs are heated to kill pathogens
- Pastured eggs – There is no required standards to make these claims – however, the idea is that these hens are raised in natural ways. No grains, just bugs. They are free to roam the earth and eat naturally. Make sure you read the packaging! If it says something about “Free to roam, raised on grass” this would be a green light.
Food Allergies and Eggs – if you are gluten intolerant, it’s best to stay away from animals that are raised on grains. Grass fed beef and pastured eggs cause the least amount of impact on allergies and food intolerances.
Eggs are one of the best natural sources of protein. As you read, many claims don’t amount to much on the carton of justification of price. If you can afford it then by all mean buy what makes you comfortable. In reality the real gold mine of eggs is protein. The average egg no matter what color contains an average of six grams.
A good option for breakfast is to scramble 3 whole eggs in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. To increase the protein, add in 1-3 egg whites. This will give you an excellent boost of protein in the morning as well as healthy fats for heart health and even testosterone production.