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Do you think that brown eggs are healthier than white eggs?

I bet you have heard this before!

Brown eggs are healthier than white ones.

But cakes turn out better baked with white eggs!

While all in all brown eggs taste better.

 

 

Is this really true?

 

 

To answer this question, I guess we have to dig in a little deeper. Why are brown eggs brown and white eggs white anyway?

 

 

Why are brown eggs brown and white eggs white?

 

It is pure genetics and depends on the kind of chicken, the species, laying the egg. It is a fact that chicken with white ear lobes lay white eggs, while chicken with red ear lobes lay brown eggs. The color of the feathers fitting the color of the eggs can be a hint but is not 100% accurate.

 

All eggs start out white in color. A pigment called protoporphyrin gives the brown color. It is added on the eggs late in the process of forming the shell.  Inside all eggs are the same. And there is the beginning of the difference. The chicken egg’s quality depends on the way the chicken is raised, fed and treated – not the color.

 

 

How did the myth start?

 

 

Brown eggs were always more expensive in supermarkets because the brown egg laying chicken are more expensive to raise and are more popular for meat production (they simply eat a lot). So more expensive is better? Did this start the ‘myth’?

 

Now a lot of organic chicken farmers do raise brown egg laying chicken. Why? Speculations are that because of the ‘myth’ that brown eggs are healthier organic farmers do offer brown eggs, making their customers happy who are ready to pay a little more for health.

 

The chicken egg’s quality depends on the way the chicken is raised, fed and treated – not the color.

 

How are eggs labeled?

 

 

As convenient as it would be to just look at the color, to be sure about the quality we have to read labels or know the production farm ourselves.

 

In the USA the egg boxes are labeled. And it is quite complicated. Here is a nice link with explanations to all the label-readings.

usa egg labeling

 

In the European Union the egg itself is labeled with a defined egg code that consists of:

  • a number indicating the method of production
  • a two letter code for the country of origin, e.g. UK for the United Kingdom
  • a registration number indicating the hen laying establishment

uk egg labeling

 

During my studies I came along India as well. There seems to be no clear labeling but interestingly, eggs are not considered vegetarian. Might there be roosters present at the farms?

 

 

You can make a conscious decision now

 

 

What will you do the next time you enter a supermarket?

Will you grab the white eggs because they are cheaper?

Will you avoid the brown eggs because I told you the difference in quality is not in the color?

Or will you take some time and read the labels and choose an egg coming from a chicken which has some quality in its life as well?

Whatever you will do, you are an educated egg-byer now and can make a conscious decision!

 

 

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simplyilka

Hi I'm Ilka, a self-development writer and lovable scientist with a knowledgeable expertise in brain science. I help people realize the power our behavior has on our brain - and the other way around.

Carl D'Agostino - April 18, 2015

Stick with colored Easter eggs.
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    simplyilka - April 18, 2015

    Haha! But would you color brown or white eggs?
    Just kidding 😉

Ella - April 18, 2015

Interesting! I thought brown eggs have more nutrients than white ones. But I will read more labels now.

    simplyilka - April 18, 2015

    I know label reading can take some time but it is so worth it.

Harleena Singh - April 20, 2015

Hi Ilka,

Interesting topic of discussion 🙂

Honestly speaking, I stopped eating eggs year back, and yes, in our country they are not considered as vegetarian, so being one, I don’t eat it now.

But yes, people have various views about the brown and white eggs as you mentioned, and it’s good to know that the eggs are generally the same in both cases – perhaps the sizes vary a little – cost is the same too.

White eggs are generally more commonly sold here, and they are not labeled at all. I guess the egg eaters wouldn’t mind any of the two, isn’t it?

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂
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    simplyilka - April 21, 2015

    Hi Harleena!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Yes, I think egg eaters would not mind which kind of labeling is on the eggs. But labeling would sure help to see how chicken are treated that lay the eggs. Of course labeling becomes complicated once products are sold at open markets.

    It is interesting how many myths are our there. So I thought it is good to tackle this one.

    Have a great day 🙂

Ikechi - April 21, 2015

Hi Iika

In my country, the brown egg is popular but its not because of the myth, it is just that the chickens we have 🙂 don’t produce white eggs.

There are still some supermarkets that sell White eggs but my people feel it is a foreign egg and not so nutritious.

Cool post. Thanks for sharing
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    simplyilka - April 21, 2015

    Thanks Ikechi!

    Yes tradition is another important factor of the popularity of a food product, like eggs. And if you are having a chicken species that lays brown eggs these eggs are popular and familiar of course. It is absolutely fascinating to see the cultural differences in something as small as an egg.

    I am glad you shared this 🙂

Sherri Matthews - April 24, 2015

Well I never knew that about the colour of a chicken’s ear lobes! But now I do, thanks to yet another wonderfully interesting post Ilka! Here in the UK all our eggs are brown and also have a brand of a lion on them in red. Nearly all are free range. The white, cheaper and mass produced eggs are sold, but only in small amounts as most people by the brown free range. Where I live we also get the local farm eggs, but when I was growing up, we had our own chickens and yes, you are absolutely right, it is the way they are fed and raised that makes for the healthiest of all eggs…the kind that have those deep, orange yolks. Mmmmmm…just perfect for dipping soldiers into 🙂
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    simplyilka - April 26, 2015

    Hi Sherri!

    Raising own chickens is wonderful. We also had our own ones when I was a child and I just loved the chicken; plus the eggs were fantastic. I know what you mean with those deep orange yolks 🙂

    I think the European labeling is pretty straight forward and lots of people avoid eggs from caged chicken. There was lots of improvement over the past years 🙂

Lea Bullen - April 29, 2015

Hi Ilka,

I never really thought about it but I think I was leaning towards thinking brown eggs are healthier. I mean it seems like everything else that’s brown is better for you, like brown sugar, wheat bread, brown rice, etc.

Wow, this is really interesting. Guess it doesn’t matter after all.

Very educational!

~Lea
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    simplyilka - July 12, 2015

    Hi Lea!

    Thank you for your great comment and sorry from my side for answering soooo late. I had some trouble here at the website.

    Great point that we are used to everything ‘brown’ being healthy. So brown eggs should be the healthier option as well.
    I am glad you found the post educational and learned that egg-color does not matter after all 🙂

    Keep in touch and have a great day,
    Ilka

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