22 Apr Confused About What Egg To Buy?
When I started my nutrition journey, I would pull up to the egg section as I was shopping & wonder what egg is the one I should buy! There are your regular conventional eggs, cage-free, free-range, organic, pasture-raised, and so many other claims! What should you be looking for?
Conventional eggs are usually the cheapest and simply say “large brown eggs” or “large white eggs”, etc. Unfortunately, these eggs are the lowest quality you can get. These eggs are from chickens that are cooped up in a tiny cage, can’t move, fed GMO grains, not organic, etc. They have all the living conditions that are looked down upon when raising farm animals. Not only are you getting a low quality egg, but you are supporting the farmers that treat these poor chickens badly. This chickens are usually treated with antibiotics and hormones. I recommend to avoid buying these eggs.
**The only difference between the color of the eggs are the type of chicken that hatched them! Not the nutritional value.**
The next kind of egg that is on the shelf are ‘cage-free eggs’. The chickens are still fed the normal non-organic, GMO grain. Just because the carton says ‘cage-free eggs’ doesn’t mean that their living conditions are still ideal. They are still tightly packed in a chicken house, where they don’t get their normal diet or sunlight. This term ‘cage-free’ is very mis-leading, but still isn’t ideal because these chickens are still not allowed to have outdoor access. The picture above is cage-free / free-range. This is the reality and not what the claims sound like.
The next egg on the shelf is the free-range chicken. This chicken is still fed the normal conventional diet, but the chickens do have a window of time where they can go outside & get their normal diet (bugs, insects, grass, etc). The coops are so crowded though, many are not able to reach the door to go outside.
Organic eggs is another popular kind of egg. Organic chickens are not treated with antibiotics and/or hormones. These chickens are fed organic grains. The food they eat are not GMO or have pesticides. Organic chickens may or may not be able to go outside.
Last, but not least, the best egg! Pasture-raised eggs are our happy chickens. The chickens that are treated the most humanely. These chickens are able to roam freely on a pasture to get their normal diet of bugs, insects, and grass. They get ample amounts of sun and exercise. Some chickens that are pasture-raised can still be fed a small amount of organic grains right before they lay eggs. But for the most part, these are the best eggs on the market you can get. To make it even better, try to get these pasture-raised eggs local! The fresher = the better! In this study in the Cambridge Journal, shows that pasture-raised chicken eggs hold double the amount of vitamin E, omega-3’s, less omega-6 (which can be inflammatory to us, since the standard American diet intakes more omega-6), and more vitamin A concentration.
Some other terms that are on egg cartons are…
Natural – Duh, all eggs are natural.
Omega-3 enriched – These chickens are still fed like conventional chickens, but are supplemented with an omega-3 source. These chickens still don’t have access to the outside. A study did show they have more omega-3 in their eggs versus conventional.
I hope this guideline helps & you can get the best quality egg. Support local farmers with pasture-raised chickens to support the local economy & the life of healthy, happy chickens!