Wednesday, March 24, 2010

An Egg is an Egg? Part One

I have been wondering about eggs lately. People save egg cartons for me. The other day I got a stack of various brands and types. I have a variety of brands and types from the "loaded models" to the "basics." You might be surprised as to what I have learned.

Note: Disclaimer! I am not a scientist or an egg expert! These are my own findings and conclusions. Don't take my word for everything, be informed and do some of your own investigations! I am in no way promoting or demoting any of these eggs or brands. Clearly I feel in my own opinion that the best eggs are those that you buy from your local egg farmer like me!

Here are the ones I decided to compare and what all they advertise on their cartons:

Eggland's Best
  • Farm Fresh
  • All Natural
  • America's Superior Tasting Egg/American Masters of Taste Gold Superior Taste
  • High in Vitamin E
  • 100 mg of Omega 3
  • 25% Less Saturated Fat than Regular Eggs
  • Vegetarian Fed Hens
Sparboe Farms Cage Free Brown Plus with Omega and Lutein
  • Omega-3 250 mg per egg
  • Lutein 300 ug per egg
  • Rich in Vitamin E
  • Hens are Raised with Antibiotics
  • All natural Vegetarian diet
Great Day Naturals, All Natural Omega-3 Eggs
  • 350 mg Omega-3 per egg
  • Hens fed multi-grain diets
  • Rich Golden Yolks
Sparboe All Natural Farm Fresh Brown Eggs
  • All Natural Farm Fresh
Shurfresh White
  • Fresh eggs
All eggs were Grade A and Large

I wish I knew how much they all cost. That would be interesting as well. But I didn't go that far.

This is a table I comprised from the Nutrition Facts from each carton.

You'll have to click on the table to enlarge it and then hit your browser's back button to return to the blog.

Okay let's check this out! Points I found interesting and questions that were raised in my mind!
  • Did you notice that they are all exactly the same except for the Eggland's Best? Even when we are comparing the brown eggs to the white eggs. Hmmmm, interesting!
  • How come the Omega-3 and Lutein is not listed on the Nutrition Label?
  • How is the Omega-3 and Lutein produced? It is from the hen's diet or does it exist naturally in all eggs?
With these questions I decided to do a little more research and since this is not a true research paper I am not including the sources where I gathered my information because of times sake. You will just have to take my word for it.

In conventional hens most of the added Omega-3 content comes from feeding the chickens a flax diet. You cannot get the benefits of Omega-3 eggs unless you eat the egg yolks. I read one report that said there had been "multiple complaints urging the FDA to crack down on various egg producers who market their eggs as "healthy" omega 3's. Among the complaints: quite often the eggs have been shown to have far less omega-3 than is advertised on the package (although even the advertised amount is extremely low.) Omega 3 derived from flax is a different type of omega 3 (ALA) than that present in fish (EPA and DHA), and is regarded as being less beneficial.
Bottom line, "omega 3" eggs are basically regular eggs with a small amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) present. A consumer would get much better benefit for much less cost by simply taking flaxseed oil, (or alpha-linolenic acid, which is available in capsule form.)"

I also read that a serving of two omega-3 enriched eggs still has less than half of the omega-3 fatty acids found in a 3 ounce portion of salmon.

Then I ran across this! Eggs produced by chickens fed a diet of greens and insects produce higher levels of n−3 fatty acids (mostly ALA) than chickens fed corn or soybeans. In addition to feeding chickens insects and greens, fish oils may be added to their diet to increase the amount of fatty acid concentrations in eggs. The addition of flax and canola seeds to the diet of chickens, both good sources of alpha-linolenic acid, increases the omega-3 content of the eggs.

And this!

"The ideal egg is one that comes from a hen raised outdoors (often on pasture), in a place where she can eat a variety of green plants and insects. Hens raised this way typically still eat grain-based feed, but supplemented with a significant amount of foraged food. This dramatically increases the nutritional value of the eggs." Just like we raise our chickens!!!!

I also want to make a couple of more observations. "Free Range" supermarket eggs are not the same as "pastured" eggs. Free Range in the commercial flocks means that the hens have access to "range" outside their smelly gigantic barns but generally they do not go outside. Hens raised in commercial flocks are not even allowed outside until they are several months old and by the time they are given the opportunity, they don't even know what to do outside. Lets face it, who would want to venture outside of the only thing you had ever know? And generally the "range" consist of small strips on the side of the massive barns. We are not talking unlimited pasture here folks or an entire backyard and there is no "free ranging", they are restricted as to where they are allowed to go. So these "ranges" do not provide the grass and insects that a pastured hen would receive. Pastured hens know how to forage and live outside of a coop. So let face it, "free range" supermarket eggs are nutritionally similar to conventional eggs. The reason "pastured" eggs are so nutritious is that the chickens get to supplement their diets with abundant fresh plants and insects. Having little doors on the side of a giant smelly barn just doesn't replicate that.

All eggs are not created equal. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that. Anyone who has seen the tall, yellow/orange richly colored yolk, viscous white, and tough shell of a true "pastured" egg know they are profoundly different than any supermarket egg! Oh and lets not forget to mention the taste of a true "pastured" egg!

Here are two posts I found in a blog that I really liked.

Whole Health Source: Pastured Eggs

Whole Health Source: Omega-3-eggs

I have more things to bring up, but since this is getting a little lengthy, I'll close for now and do a part two to this post.

Let me know what your thinking. I am always open to discussions!

Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another."


  1. Thanks for the info. Very interesting.... I have been reading up on omega-3 and found out humans have to grind their flax seeds before eating them in order to get the benefits. Maybe chickens' gizzards do that for them but who knows????

  2. Hmmmm...That's a fine diversity of premium egg cartons! Do I get research/inspiration credits? :^P) They cost between $2.50 to $4.00 per dozen, but I never buy without a free to $1 off coupon.

    The non-organic cartons were recycled from friends. Bargain eggs are typically produced with commercial non-vegetarian feed, the meat for which is centrifuge extracted from commercial trimmings & bones. In my opinion, such eggs are a health risk to consumers, due to prion disease risks and the hen's poor nutrition.

    Do you know about prions' disease spreading capability? I studied them in microbiology. From that lesson on, we began to eat only vegetarian-fed eggs and meats, no antibiotics or hormones, plus NO MECHANICALLY SEPARATED MEAT for our health's sake. This is why I'm so grateful for your and Dan's ranch and egg products. The closer to the way God designed us to eat, the better!