Egg Nutrition Center Blog

White vs. Brown Eggs – What’s the Story?

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Egg selection in grocery stores has become increasingly complicated for consumers as the variety of eggs to choose from continues to expand with the addition of omega-3 enriched eggs, increased size variation and the development of organic brands. With myths of nutritional content differences floating around, many consumers aren’t sure if there’s a difference between white eggs and brown eggs.

In reality, the color of the egg shell is not related to the quality, flavor, nutritional content, shell thickness, or cooking properties1. Differences in shell color are due to differences in  hen breeds. Hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay eggs with brown shells, while hens with white feathers and ear lobes lay eggs with white shells – the only difference is the price1. Hens that lay brown eggs are larger and therefore require more feed than hens that lay white eggs. For that reason, eggs with brown shells are sold at a slightly higher price to cover the additional costs for feed.

Here is a recent blog/podcast about eggs that Neva Cochran, ENC Health Professional Advisor, completed with Dr. Susan Mitchell.

Some key highlights about eggs:

  • Nutritional value does not have any impact on the grade (AA, A or B). Learn more about grading here.
  • Egg sizes include: peewee, small, medium, large, extra-large and jumbo, but medium, large and extra-large are the most common sizes available in stores.
  • Basic egg recipes and scrambled or fried egg recipes can use any size egg. Some baked goods will recommend using a specific size to ensure the correct proportion of liquid to dry ingredients is maintained.
  • Decode terms like organic, cage-free and free-range
  • Having multiple egg choices allows consumers the ability to choose eggs based on their personal preferences.

For more information on egg selection, reference this article on the different types of specialty eggs that are available.

No matter what type of eggs you choose, don’t be afraid to experiment! Here is a recipe with a new twist on the classic recipe, Green Eggs and Ham that is fun for clients to experience and enjoy with their whole family!

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Green Eggs and Ham                

Ingredients:

2 to 4 eggs

2 to 4 tbsp. milk

Salt and pepper

1 or 2 tsp. butter

2 to 4 tbsp. tomatillo salsa, warmed

2 to 4 tbsp. chopped ham

Directions:

  1. Beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper in bowl until blended
  2. Heat butter in nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Pour in egg mixture. As eggs begin to set, gently pull the eggs across the pan with an inverted turner, forming large, soft curds.
  3. Continue cooking – pulling lifting and folding eggs – until thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly. Remove from heat.
  4. Top eggs with tomatillo salsa and ham. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories: 116, Total Fat: 7, Saturated fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 199mg, Sodium: 163mg, Carbohydrates: 3g, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Protein: 10g, Vitamin A: 358.1IU, Vitamin D: 49.9IU, Folate: 24.3mcg, Calcium: 47.6mg, Iron: 1mg, Choline: 138.4mg

References:

  1. Incredible Edible Egg. Egg Facts & Fun. http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-facts/eggcyclopedia/c/color Accessed April 16, 2013.
  2. Incredible Edible Egg. Egg Facts & Fun. http://www.incredibleegg.org/egg-facts/eggcyclopedia/b/buying  Accessed April 16, 2013.
  3. Illinois Department of Agriculture. Eggs: A Consumer Guide.http://www.agr.state.il.us/programs/consumer/egg/eggconsguide.html  Updated April 16th, 2013. Accessed April 16, 2013.

Author: Anna Shlachter MS, RDN, LDN