Eggs are the perfect food. They are full of protein, vitamins and minerals. They are easy to make in a thousand different ways. But eggs get a bad rap. I am here to set you straight on some egg myths, courtesy of Eat this, not that!
I want to say here that if you can find a local farm that pasture raises their chickens, seek it out and get your eggs from them exclusively. I realize this is not always an option. But I can tell you from experience, once you taste the difference, you will never go back. Pasture raised eggs are lower in cholesterol saturated fat and contain higher levels of vitamin A, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamins B9, C, and D.
Cage-free eggs may not be from cage-free hens
Many consumers assume the “cage-free” label on egg cartons means the chickens laying these eggs have the ability to roam around a field. Unfortunately, that’s far from the truth. “Cage Free” only means hens are required to have a minimum of 120 square inches per bird, which is not even double the area of conventional battery cages. Hens often still exclusively live indoors, either in large barns known as aviaries or crammed into bigger “enriched” cages that allow for some natural habits.
“Free-range” hens also often never step outside. They are often provided a “small door” with limited access to the outside, and that door is often not large enough to accommodate a large flock.
All Eggs are hormone free
The FDA banned all use of hormones in poultry in the 1950’s. So that claim of “hormone free on both egg cartons, and chicken packages, means pretty much nothing. It’s just a selling gimmick, like “all natural”.
Brown eggs are not superior in nutrition to white eggs
Brown eggs are not better for you just because they are brown. Brown eggs come from brown or red hens. White eggs come from white hens. That’s it. They are often more expensive because hens that lay brown eggs are often larger, and more expensive to feed.
Egg yolk color indicates nutritional differences
Free-range hens often eat more pigmented, nutritious foods that range from insects to grasses, eggs from these chickens often have richer-colored yolks. On the other hand, conventional, grain-fed chickens will produce a lighter yellow yolk.
The protein and fat counts will often remain the same regardless of yolk color, but there can be up to a 100-fold increase in micronutrient value of certain antioxidant carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene in yolks fed a more nutrient-dense diet (like in pasture-raised hens), according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Rich, dark yolks will contain more of these potent antioxidants: compounds which mop up harmful toxins that promote inflammation and fat storage. Other studies have indicated that the same healthy diet that produces richer-colored yolks results in eggs with higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3sand less cholesterol.
You don’t have to fret about cholesterol
One of the biggest perpetuated myths about eggs is that they are high in cholesterol and that you should only eat the egg white. This has been disproven in numerous studies that show dietary cholesterol has little to do with serum cholesterol. Egg yolks are high in nutrients, and in Vitamin D. So next time you make an omelet, don’t throw out those egg yolks!
Not every egg in the carton is the same size
The USDA grade eggs by weight, not size. Here are their weight guidelines:
Small: 18 ounces (about 1.5 ounces per egg)
Medium: 21 ounces (about 1.75 ounces per egg)
Large: 24 ounces (about 2 ounces per egg)
Extra Large: 27 ounces (about 2.25 ounces per egg)
Jumbo: 30 ounces (about 2.5 ounces per egg)
Bonus fun fact! The size of the egg depends on the age of the hen. The older the hen, the larger the egg she produces.
What do you think? Were you surprised by some of these facts? Share your thoughts in the comments!