Maintenance – Egss – White or Brown – Is there a difference?

On my recent trip to Europe I noticed two things about their eggs:  almost all of them were brown, and they didn’t keep them refrigerated (it was odd walking down the bread aisle and seeings EGGS)!

So this spawned the question IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

Here’s what I found:

According to the Egg Nutrition Board, “White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes. There is no difference in taste or nutrition between white and brown eggs.” The people at Crisco go further to say, “They simply come from two different breeds of chickens. Brown eggs, however, are more expensive because the chickens that lay them eat more than those that lay white eggs.” 

I also found hundreds of  websites that say the nutritional factor in both eggs are virtually identical.  They both contain roughly equal fat and protein contents and that applies to their vitamin and mineral content as well. Many have come to the conclusion that brown and white eggs are perfectly equal.  In fact, if you were to google it right now, that’s the answer you would find.

The only problem I have with this conclusion is how people are defining the word “nutrition”.  If they simply measure the protein content of both eggs and find them identical, is it fair to then conclude that the eggs themselves are equally nutritious?  I think we need to dig just a little bit deeper (especially considering how many eggs are being consumed  in our protein-rich food fad).

The question really needs to be “what are the chickens eating”.  We do know that what the chicken eats has a direct effect on the nutrients in an egg.  For example, studies, such as those conducted at Penn State University and by Mother Earth News, found that eggs from chickens that ate grass and insects contained higher levels of omega-3 fat, and vitamins E, A, and in some cases D.

We also need to look at the antibiotics and hormones that are being given to the chickens and how they affect us.  I am not as naive as I once was to think that they the way a chicken is cared for will have NO effect on the egg.  I highly recommend watching the documentary “Food, Inc.” for a closer look into that.  Even if you could care less about the treatment of the chicken,  it still leaves the question how does what we inject them with affect us.

For me, the bottom line is not the color of the egg (apparently brown eggs sell better in Europe because they simply prefer the color and vice versa here).  Rather, it is where did this chicken come from and what was it fed?  And based on those 2 answers, do I want to eat it?

People ask me all the time whether or not I eat eggs.  So I guess here is the long and short of it.  I do eat eggs; not regularly.  Certainly not the 2 egg whites I had every morning for breakfast for over 5 years.  They are still animal products, and they still have cholesterol and fat.  I also believe that there are far greater sources of protein (like beans). That said, I do still purchase eggs.  I try to buy mine from a local farmer who lets them roam around his back yard.  If those are not available, I am conscious of which eggs I buy.  I do not want my appetite for something to be the cause of improper treatment of chickens.  I am not an animal activist, but after doing a little research, there are limits to the things that I think are acceptable.  I want to be a responsible consumer.  Like all food that we eat, it is my hope that people just take a moment to stop and think and inform themselves of where their food is coming from and what affects it might have on them. Plain and simple – it’s up to us to educate ourselves and then to use that education to make informed decisions.

Source: WFM 1-10

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