Many people wonder about the difference between brown eggs and white eggs. Some think brown eggs are better or healthier. Others believe white eggs are just as good. There’s a lot of talk and confusion about which is best.
Are they the same inside? Why do brown eggs sometimes cost more? This simple question has a lot of folks scratching their heads in the grocery store. Let’s dive into the real story behind brown vs. white eggs. By the end, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which type of egg is right for you.
Are White and Brown Eggs Different?
The main difference between brown eggs vs. white eggs is the type of hen that lays them. Generally, white-feathered hens with white earlobes lay white eggs, and reddish-brown feathered hens with matching earlobes lay brown eggs.
The color of the egg is not an indicator of quality, nutritional value, or taste. Both types of eggs have the same amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals. The higher price tag on brown eggs is usually because larger hens, which require more feed, lay them. So, in terms of nutritional value and quality, white and brown eggs are virtually identical.
Egg Color Is Determined by the Chicken Breed
The color of a chicken egg is determined by the breed of the hen that lays it. The reason for this is that the color of the eggshell is determined by the pigments in the chicken’s feathers. When a chicken lays an egg, the pigments from the feathers are deposited on the eggshell. This is why brown eggs are typically laid by chickens with brown feathers, and white eggs are typically laid by chickens with white feathers.
Chicken Eggs Come In Variety Colors
Chicken eggs can come in various colors, including white, brown, blue, green, and even pink. The color of the eggshell is determined by the breed of chicken that laid the egg, as well as the hen’s diet and the environment in which she lives. For example, chickens fed a diet high in carotenoids will lay eggs with a deeper brown color.
The most common color of a chicken egg shell is white. This is because the most common breed of chicken lays white eggs, the Leghorn. However, many other breeds of chickens lay eggs of different colors. Some of the most popular breeds of chickens that lay colored eggs include:
- Ameraucana: These chickens lay blue eggs.
- Araucana: These chickens lay blue or green eggs.
- Barred Rock: These chickens lay brown eggs.
- Buff Orpington: These chickens lay brown eggs.
- Easter Egger: These chickens can lay a variety of colors, including blue, green, brown, and even pink.
Why Do Brown Eggs and White Eggs Have Different Prices?
The difference in price between brown and white eggs typically has more to do with the hens that lay them rather than any perceived quality or nutritional differences between the eggs themselves.
Brown eggs often cost more because the hens that lay them are larger breeds than the chickens that lay white eggs. These larger birds require more feed, which adds to the cost of their upkeep. Consequently, the additional cost of care is passed on to the consumer in the price of the eggs.
Additionally, many consumers have a perception that brown eggs are healthier or more natural, which can allow producers to charge a premium for them, even though the nutritional difference between brown and white eggs is minimal.
Is There a Difference in Health Benefits between Brown and White Eggs?
The nutritional contents of brown and white eggs are almost identical. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that there is no significant difference between the nutrient composition of brown and white eggs. Both types of eggs are good sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
However, there are some minor differences between brown and white eggs. Brown eggs may contain slightly more omega-3 fatty acids than white eggs. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that has been shown to have many health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Additionally, brown shells may have a slightly higher level of carotenoids than white eggs. Carotenoids are pigments that give vegetables and fruits their bright colors. They are also antioxidants, which can help protect cells from damage.
However, the differences in omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoids between brown and white eggs are relatively small. More importantly, the way the eggs are cooked and the other foods you eat will have a much greater impact on your overall omega-3 fatty acid and carotenoid intake.
Here is a summary of the nutritional differences between brown and white eggs:
- Protein: Both brown and white eggs contain about the same amount of protein, around 6.2 grams per egg.
- Fat: Brown eggs have slightly more fat than white eggs, with brown eggs containing around 5.3 grams of fat and white eggs containing about 5.2 grams.
- Cholesterol: Brown and white eggs have nearly identical cholesterol content, with brown eggs containing about 184 milligrams and white eggs containing about 185 milligrams.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Brown eggs have a slightly higher amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, approximately 110 milligrams, compared to white eggs, which contain about 100 milligrams.
- Carotenoids: Brown eggs contain more carotenoids than white eggs, with about 180 micrograms in brown eggs and about 150 micrograms in white eggs.
Is There a Difference in Taste between Different Colored Eggs?
No, there is no difference in taste that can be attributed to the color of an egg’s shell. The eggs taste is influenced more by the diet of the chicken that laid it rather than the egg color of the
Regardless of shell color, eggs from chickens that eat various foods (like those that are free-range or pasture-raised) tend to have more flavorful yolks than chickens fed on a more restricted diet. Therefore, brown eggshells and white-shelled eggs from hens with similar diets will taste the same.
Important Factors to Consider When Buying Eggs
Always check the sell-by or expiration date on the carton. Local eggs can be eaten 3-5 weeks beyond the sell-by date, but fresher eggs will have better flavor and firmer whites and yolks.
Eggs are graded by the USDA and are designated AA, A, or B. Grade AA eggs are the highest quality with firm yolks and thick, sturdy whites, ideal for frying and poaching. While Grade A eggs are similar but with slightly less firm whites, good for hard-boiling and scrambling. Grade B eggs are usually used in baking or for powdered eggs.
The size of the egg (jumbo, extra-large, large, medium, small, and peewee) can affect the outcome of your recipe, especially in baking. Most recipes call for large eggs.
Consider the hen’s diet if you’re concerned about nutritional content. Hens-fed diets will produce eggs enriched with omega-3 fatty acids.
Labels like “free-range,” “pasture-raised,” or “cage-free” indicate the living conditions of the hens. If animal welfare is a priority for you, look for labels like “Certified Humane” or “Animal Welfare Approved.”
The term “organic” eggs come from hens fed organic feed and given access to the outdoors. Organic chickens are free of antibiotics unless medically necessary.
So, Are Brown Eggs Better Than White Eggs?
Brown eggs vs white eggs, it doesn’t really matter. Both types of egg colors are beneficial for you. What matters is that eggs are a great part of your meals. They’re packed with good stuff that your body needs. So, the next time you go shopping, don’t worry too much about the color of the eggs. Just enjoy them in your favorite dishes.