What’s the Difference Between White Eggs and Brown Eggs?
Posted on: March 23rd 2018
You may have heard that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs. The truth is, all eggs have the same taste and nutritional value. It doesn’t matter if an egg is white, brown or green — eggs get their colors from pigments added to the shell before the egg is laid. The pigment does not affect nutrition or flavor.
A few factors, including the hen’s diet, can affect an egg’s nutritional value and taste. For example, a hen who eats a diet rich in omega-3s will lay an egg with a higher amount of omega-3 than other eggs. If any natural differences exist between eggs, they are so insignificant they are barely noticeable.
If white eggs and brown eggs are the same, why are brown eggs more expensive? We’ll take a look at the differences and similarities between white eggs and brown eggs. You’ll see that either way, an egg is a great addition to a healthy diet.
Why Are Brown Eggs More Expensive?
Brown eggs tend to cost more than white eggs because they come from larger hens, and because hens who carry the brown pigment gene are larger than white egg-layers, they require more feed. In turn, brown eggs are sold at a higher cost to help offset the cost of the feed. Here’s a more detailed explanation:
- White Eggs Come From White-Feathered Hens
In general, white eggs are laid by hens with white feathers or white earlobes. Some white egg-laying breeds include:
White Leghorns are the most popular white-egg producing hen in the world. Leghorns produce at least 90 percent of the world’s white eggs. Leghorns arrived in the United States in the 1800s from Italy. They are adored for certain qualities, such as:
- High rate of egg-production (up to 300 eggs a year)
- High level of fertility
- Easy to raise
- Mature fast
- Require less space than other breeds
Leghorns weigh about four to five pounds and eat around three bags of feed each month. Because it takes a lot of calcium to form an eggshell, it’s important that their diet is high in calcium. Egg-laying hens can eat less protein than chickens used for meat. They eat about three pounds of feed for every dozen eggs they produce.
Leghorns may not make the best family pets because they tend to be nervous and avoid human contact. However, because they are efficient egg-layers, they are the top choice for egg production companies. Their small size and high production rates are the reasons you can find lots of white eggs in the supermarket at affordable prices.
- Brown Eggs Come From Red or Brown-Feathered Hens
Brown-egg laying hens are typically larger, have brown or reddish feathers and red earlobes. They require more feed than white egg-laying hens. They also tend to lay fewer eggs than white breeds. This causes an increase in egg price. Some brown-egg-laying breeds include:
- New Hampshire Red
- Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red is a popular egg-laying breed and a top choice for backyard raisers. These hardy hens are comfortable in a variety of climates, are easygoing and easy to care for. They make great pets and can feed the family with their large brown eggs.
The Rhode Island Red is a good choice for chicken raisers not only because they are excellent egg-layers, but they are good for meat, too. They may be the best dual-purpose breed, laying 200 to 300 eggs a year.
Rhode Island Reds were developed in the late 1800s in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Their deep reddish-brown feathers and good egg-laying qualities quickly made them a popular breed in America. This breed was accepted to the American Poultry Association in 1904.
Rhode Island Red hens weigh around six to seven pounds. Roosters can weigh over eight pounds. They eat three and a half pounds of feed for every dozen eggs they lay.
Are Brown Eggs Healthier Than White Eggs?
Brown eggs and white eggs have the same nutritional value. However, the hen’s diet and lifestyle may make a difference in flavor and nutrition.
Have you eaten a brown egg before and felt that it tasted better than a white egg? Perhaps the egg was from a hen who had the space and freedom to roam and forage for insects, grass and vegetables. The hen’s diet may have produced a richer yellow yolk and a more flavorful egg. The egg’s flavor had nothing to do with the shell color, however.
Some factors might influence the quality of an egg or a hen’s ability to lay eggs. Hens may stop laying eggs or lay abnormal eggs due to the following factors:
- Lack of nutrition or clean water
- Lack of light
- Lack of space
- Age of the hen
It’s important for hens to have enough space to lay eggs, or they won’t lay eggs at all. Larger breeds, like some of the brown egg-layers, require even more space.
Most hen diets in the United States are made up of grains or corn and soybeans. Hens may also be given flaxseed and fish oil to enrich their eggs with omega-3s. Hens with the freedom to roam may eat plants, worms and insects. A diet that includes natural yellow pigments, like marigolds, will produce a deeper yellow yolk. However, a more golden yolk does not mean more nutrients or protein.
Hens who get lots of sunlight may have a higher level of vitamin D in their eggs. In short, the following factors might make an egg more nutritious and more flavorful:
- The hen’s diet is rich in a natural feed like insects and plants.
- The hen gets lots of sunlight.
- The hen has an omega-3-enriched diet.
These rules apply to both white-egg-laying chickens and brown-egg-laying chickens. But even with these factors in mind, an egg is, well, an egg. Any slight changes in nutritional value are not significant enough to have a major impact on flavor or overall nutrition. All eggs are made of:
- The shell: Composed mainly of calcium carbonate.
- The white or acumen: Contains a majority of an egg’s protein.
- The yolk: Contains most of the nutrients and a fair amount of protein.
A whole egg is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and protein for a low amount of calories and fat. For example, one large egg contains:
- Seventy-seven calories
- Six grams of protein
- Five grams of fat
With 77 calories and five grams of fat, you also get:
- Nine percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12
- Fifteen percent vitamin B2 RDA
- Six percent vitamin A RDA
- Seven percent vitamin B5 RDA
- Twenty-two percent selenium RDA
- Other nutrients such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese, vitamin E and folate
- Choline, which supports brain health
- Antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes
Although factors like the hen’s diet can make one egg a little more nutritious than the next egg, as you can see, eggs are inherently nutrient-dense regardless of outside factors. So, no matter what kind of hen produced your egg, you can’t lose when it comes to nutrition.
What’s the Truth About Eggs and Cholesterol?
It’s a fact that eggs provide a significant amount of cholesterol. For example, one large egg contains about 186 mg of cholesterol and it’s recommended that you consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day. However, cholesterol in eggs may not be as “bad” as one may think. In fact, heart disease is more commonly associated with a diet high in saturated and trans fats, and eggs have a minimal effect on blood cholesterol by comparison. Some studies have shown that a diet of up to seven eggs a week may prevent some types of strokes.
When you consider all the nutrition in an egg, the amount of cholesterol is not a good reason to eliminate eggs from a healthy diet. As long as the eggs are prepared healthily, aren’t served with sides like home fries and other foods high in saturated fat, and are consumed in moderation, they should not pose a risk to your health.
The healthiest foods on the planet can be unhealthy when consumed in high amounts. For example, “superfoods” like broccoli, kale and other cruciferous vegetables can hinder the body’s ability to absorb iodine if consumed in large amounts. This doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to skip a side of greens at dinner. Instead, it means that even the good things in life call for moderation.
Did you know that your body needs cholesterol to build cells, too? There are two types of cholesterol: LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). Too much LDL cholesterol can narrow and stiffen arteries and increase the risk for heart disease.
Saturated fat and trans fat cause your liver to produce excess cholesterol. Trans fats or processed fats commonly found in fried foods and baked goods are especially dangerous, as they raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. Some fats, like unsaturated fats found in fish and avocados, improve blood cholesterol levels when used as a substitute for saturated or trans fats. Other unhealthy behaviors might cause high cholesterol. These include:
- An unhealthy diet
- Lack of exercise
- Excess weight
So, before you give up eggs because of their cholesterol level, first consider the amount of protein and vitamins you’d be giving up, too. Focus on eating lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats and getting enough exercise to protect your heart and your health. If you want to enjoy lots of eggs in your diet, remember that egg whites are cholesterol-free.
What Do Different Egg Labels Mean?
You know eggs are healthy and that eggshell color has nothing to do with nutrition, but when you go to the grocery store, do you still feel unsure which eggs to buy? With so many different labels, it’s easy for egg shopping to become a complicated ordeal. Here’s a quick rundown of what different labels mean:
- Hormone-Free: All eggs are hormone-free. It’s been illegal to add hormones to a chicken’s diet for many years.
- Antibiotic-Free: Eggs rarely come from hens who take antibiotics. If an antibiotic is used, farmers must comply with Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
- Organic: Eggs must meet strict standards — for example, hens must be fed organic feed. They may have the same nutritional value as conventional eggs.
- Cage-Free: Hens are free to roam around the inside of a barn.
- Free Range: Hens have some access to the outdoors.
- Pasture-raised: Hens are raised outdoors and have the option to go indoors at night or for protection against weather or predators.
None of these labels mean that one method of egg production is better than the other. All systems present pros and cons. For example, a cage-free environment might allow hens to move around more, but it also allows hens to act out their aggression toward each other. The eggs you choose depend on your personal preference.
Here’s one last tip when it comes time to pick up eggs: The date on an egg carton is not an expiration date — it’s the sell-by date. You can keep eggs for three to four weeks after the date on the carton.
How Do You Prepare a Healthy Egg?
Different methods produce different results when it comes to whipping up some eggs. Some of these cooking styles are healthier than others and retain more of an egg’s nutrition.
In general, the best way to prepare an egg is to cook it just enough that the whites are cooked all the way, but the yolk is still runny. A runny yolk means the nutrients are still intact. Cooked whites allow our bodies to absorb the protein easier.
For these reasons, soft-boiled eggs or poached eggs are the healthiest ways to eat an egg. Boiling or poaching eggs also only require heat and water, so no high-fat butter or oil is needed. Try these recipes to enjoy eggs in their healthiest form:
You can soft-boil eggs right from the fridge with the Jammy Soft-Boiled Eggs recipe:
- Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan.
- Gently place 4 to 8 eggs in the pot with a slotted spoon, one egg at a time.
- Cook for 6 ½ minutes. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle boil.
- Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water.
- Chill for about 2 minutes.
- Gently crack eggs all over and peel, starting at the wider end.
Enjoy a soft-boiled egg with toast for breakfast, atop a salad for lunch or with pasta and a rich tomato sauce for supper.
For a gluten-free, nutrient-dense meal, skip the Eggs Benedict recipe and instead try Skillet-Poached Eggs with Spinach:
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add 2 sliced leeks and cook until tender for about 3 or 5 minutes.
- Add 5 ounces of baby spinach. Cook until slightly wilted.
- Spread out the spinach mixture and form 8 small wells.
- Crack an egg into each well.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cover with a lid and cook until the desired level, or for 5 to 8 minutes.
Feel free to add other ingredients like mushrooms, bacon or cheese for more flavor and extra protein.
Here’s how to make your eggs ultra-healthy:
- Combine eggs with veggies. Pretty much any vegetable makes a great companion for eggs, but some classic choices include bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach.
- Choose omega-3-enriched eggs when possible.
- Use oil with a high smoke point, like coconut oil or high-quality extra virgin olive oil, for frying your eggs.
- Don’t overcook eggs.
- Add eggs to your salad.
Did you know that eggs help you absorb more cancer-fighting nutrients from your raw veggies? A study conducted by Purdue University found that those who ate eggs with their raw mixed-vegetable salad absorbed more beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lycopene than those who ate a salad without eggs on top. The eggs also enhanced the lutein and zeaxanthin in the salad. Next time you eat raw veggies, pair them with eggs and enjoy the health benefits twofold.
What If You Don’t Like the Taste of Eggs?
Perhaps you or someone you know doesn’t care for the flavor or texture of eggs. You might not mind eggs as an ingredient in recipes where you can’t taste them, like in cake or mayonnaise. However, do you wonder if there’s a way to eat eggs without a ton of other ingredients so you can reap the nutritional benefits they offer?
For individuals who despise eggs but still want eggs in their lives, there are many different ways to prepare an egg without highlighting the egg’s main features. You can prepare them in a frittata, scramble them with cheese or mix them in a pasta dish to hide their flavor. Below is one idea to mask the taste of eggs without a lot of extra work or ingredients:
With this recipe, the potency of the other ingredients covers the flavor of eggs. So here is how to easily prepare Eggs for People Who Don’t Like Eggs:
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a frying pan.
- Add ¼ cup of chopped pancetta.
- Break 2 eggs into a bowl and whisk for 1 minute.
- Add ¼ cup of pizza sauce to the eggs and mix.
- Add egg mixture to the pan and scramble.
Maybe you just need to add a touch of pizazz to your eggs to discover that you’re actually an egg-lover. Consider adding one of these flavorful ingredients to scrambled eggs for a tasty surprise:
- A dollop of cream cheese, sour cream or cottage cheese for creamy eggs
- A salty sauce like soy sauce, fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce
- A splash of milk or cream for fluffier eggs
- A teaspoon of mayo for richer eggs
- Hot sauce to taste
- 1 tablespoon of club soda for every 2 eggs or 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda for every 4 eggs for super-fluffy eggs
- A pinch of chicken bouillon granules
- Sweet ingredients like cinnamon and honey
- Fresh or dried herbs like oregano or sage
Maybe after a few bites, you’ll find that you can’t get enough eggs!
How to Share Eggs With the Whole Family
Eggs are tasty and nutritious for humans and other animals. Dogs and cats may love to have more eggs in their diet, and just like people, eggs provide them with a good amount of important nutrients. Babies can benefit from eggs too, and young children who may have picky palates can enjoy eggs if they are prepared in fun and delicious ways.
Let’s look at how to treat all the members of your family to the golden goodness of eggs:
Dogs with sensitive tummies may fare well with eggs as a source of digestible protein and other nutrients. Try treating your furry friend to a mini omelet with this vet-approved recipe:
- Lightly grease a pan with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil.
- Heat the pan over medium heat.
- Break 2 eggs into a bowl and mix well.
- Pour eggs into the center of the frying pan and then tilt the pan to evenly distribute eggs.
- Add ½ cup diced green pepper and ½ cup cooked salmon or pulled grilled chicken to the top of the eggs once the egg is halfway firm.
- Fold the egg in half with a spatula and allow it to cook all the way through.
- Remove and place on a plate. Let it cool and then serve.
Be sure to cook eggs all the way through before giving them to your dog. Raw egg whites can cause a biotin deficiency in dogs. These cooked omelets are excellent sources of protein, beta-carotene and vitamin C.
Our feline friends can safely enjoy eggs on occasion, too. Try this recipe for a Kitty Breakfast for a nutritious home-cooked meal:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of nonfat dry milk powder in a bowl.
- Add 3 medium eggs and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a non-stick frying pan and cook on medium heat until done.
- Flip over and spread 3 tablespoons of cottage cheese and 2 tablespoons of grated or chopped vegetables such as steamed broccoli, cooked carrots, peas or zucchini on half of the surface. Fold over.
- Remove from the pan.
- Cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.
Although onions and garlic taste fantastic in eggs, avoid flavoring your pet’s food with these ingredients, as they are toxic to both dogs and cats.
It’s fine to feed a baby eggs around eight months of age if the child does not have an egg allergy, but it is recommended not to feed egg whites to a baby under one year of age. Here are some ideas for sharing egg nutrition with a baby in safe and yummy ways:
- Hard-Boiled Egg Yolks: Pop the yolk out of a hard-boiled egg. Mash the yolk and mix it with yogurt, applesauce, formula or other food your baby loves.
- Egg Yolk Scramble: Crack an egg and separate the white from the yolk. Mix the yolk with formula, juice or whole milk. Scramble it in a frying pan. You can also add a tablespoon of pureed veggies while scrambling.
- Veggie Eggs and Rice: Combine and mix 1 or 2 hard-boiled egg yolks, 1 cup of cooked brown rice and ¼ cup of pureed vegetables.
- Egg Yolk Mash: Mash cooked egg yolks with avocado, cottage cheese, peaches, bananas, carrots or sweet potatoes.
- Eggy Oatmeal Scramble: Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a pan. Whisk two egg yolks in a bowl. Add 1 cup of cooked oatmeal and ¼ cup of soft cooked fruit or vegetables to the frying pan. Add egg yolks and then scramble until fully cooked. Break into small pieces.
Babies ages seven to 12 months should get at least 11 grams of protein every day. Although infants receive a lot of protein from a formula, eggs are another way to ensure they get what they need. Children ages one to three need at least 13 grams of protein a day and children four to eight need 19 grams.
Eggs are a great way for children to meet their daily protein needs because eggs are soft, easy to chew and extremely versatile.
- Picky Eaters
Does your young one refuse to eat anything that doesn’t look like macaroni and cheese or pizza? Here’s a quick and simple way to make eggs more appealing to picky eaters with this Eggs in a Basket recipe:
- Heat 1 teaspoon of butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Cut shape in the center of two slices of whole wheat bread with a cookie cutter.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Place the bread in the pan, butter side down.
- In a small bowl, break one egg.
- Carefully slide the egg into the hole of a bread slice.
- Repeat with one more egg for the other slice.
- Cook until the egg is golden on the bottom.
- Flip the bread and cook the other side for about 1 or 2 minutes each side.
If your child refuses to eat anything that resembles an egg, even if the egg is a fun shape, keep your cookie cutters out and make Kid-Friendly French Toast:
- Beat an egg with about ¾ cup of milk in a bowl.
- Add a teaspoon of maple syrup and stir.
- Cut a shape out of the center of a bread slice with a cookie cutter.
- Dip bread slices in the egg mixture.
- Brown lightly on both sides in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Fill the center of toast with sliced strawberries or other fruit. Drizzle with maple syrup and powdered sugar.
Other tasty fruit fillers to try for tons of nutrition and juicy sweetness include:
And some toppings for the final touch of French toast magic:
- Peanut butter
- Maple syrup
- Whipped cream
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla ice cream
- Fruit preserve
Older children might enjoy the addition of:
- Chocolate chips
- Nuts or seeds
You can also easily turn French toast into fun dippable sticks, too. Simply slice bread into strips before dunking them in an egg mixture. For extra crunch and texture, press egg-drenched breadsticks in crushed cornflakes before placing them in the frying pan. Your picky eater won’t believe eggs were involved in these culinary masterpieces!
Finally, you may be able to skip a sugary breakfast and instead get fussy little ones to eat their eggs with this tip: serve a soft-boiled egg in a fun egg cup. If you have a collection of cute egg cups, tell the child they can pick the egg cup they like per egg they eat. Serve the soft-boiled eggs with toast strips or French toast strips for dipping.
Where to Buy Brown or White Eggs
Eggs are affordable, easy-to-prepare sources of protein and nutrition no matter what color their eggshell happens to be. There are so many ways to consume or use eggs that we almost take these little treasures for granted. And yet, for thousands of years, eggs have been loved and cherished throughout the world as a part of human life. It’s hard to underestimate the power of the egg!
At Sauder’s, we are proud to bring high-quality eggs from our family to yours. Since the 1930s, Sauder’s has lived our passion for delivering great eggs. We offer both brown and white eggs to suit every preference. Our Organic Eggs come from hens who enjoy the freedom to roam and are fed a special organic diet. Our Gold Eggs are enriched with omega-3s and other nutrients for the ultimate healthy egg. All of our eggs come from happy hens in stress-free environments to give you the highest-quality eggs.
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