What’s So Great About Eggs?

What’s So Great About Eggs?

Have you ever stood in front of the egg selection at your grocery store and thought, WTF?  Well, I have. It’s the selection: Classic White … Classic Brown? Free Range, Free Run, Omega, Certified Organic, stamped with a ✔ bird welfare?  And then there’s the price! The difference between a dozen Classic Whites at $2.69 and a dozen Organic eggs, $6.99 at my grocery store isn’t nickle-and-dime but a jaw-dropping chasm. I am used to paying more for organic food, but more than double?

Let’s just leave for the moment the debate about taste and the ethics of buying organically farmed eggs versus factory farmed eggs and take a look at the question of nutrition.

I spoke with Sobia Khan, Registered Dietitian and Professor of Food and Nutrition at the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at George Brown College. She tells me that, “ Eggs, regardless of type, are very nutritious and should be part of a balanced diet. They are a great source of protein at 6-6.5 grams per egg and contain all essential amino acids.  In addition to protein, whole eggs boast vitamin B-12, vitamin E, A, riboflavin, folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, and essential fatty acids.” And this nutritional profile, according to Khan,  is true for all the eggs on the grocery store shelf. It turns out there are no significant studies to suggest a nutritional difference between the many eggs on offer.

What about cholesterol?  Last year a study came out of the University of Western Ontario saying that one egg has more cholesterol than the KFCs Double Down Sandwich. It was a controversial lead, but it did get people talking. Obviously, an egg is a better choice than the fast food sandwich which comes with saturated fat, salt and questionable meat product as compared to an egg which comes with vitamins, minerals and protein. To my relief, Khan explains “the cholesterol found in eggs is not a major risk factor in increasing the bad LDL cholesterol. You should be more concerned about other factors like being overweight, not leading an active lifestyle, and having a diet high in saturated fats. If you are healthy, without issues of chronic illness like heart disease,  enjoying eggs as part of your diet is just fine.”

So what kind of eggs should you buy? One of the main reasons I buy organic food – especially meat and dairy – is that I worry about hormones and antibiotics given to the animals.  According to the British Columbia Egg Board’s website, I need not worry about my eggs:  “Hormones and antibiotics are not included in the feed. Any medication is only given under the direction of a veterinarian if any hens become ill and their eggs are diverted away from public consumption until the hens are well again. It has been illegal, since the 1960s, in Canada to give hormones or steroids to hens that lay eggs. This is true for all types of “Canada A” eggs available at your grocery store.”

But if  you want your eggs to be laid by happy hens the only way to be sure is to buy organic. If price is an issue, you may as well stick with the classics.  Khan tells me that, in Canada, Free Range, and Free Run eggs are not verified or inspected by a third party and therefore can’t be guaranteed.  So your $4.49 Omega Free Range hens may live in similar conditions and you may not be getting a significantly different product. And finally, if you (like me) have been buying brown eggs because all things brown are better for you, you should know that the only difference between a white shell and a brown one is the colour of the hen that laid it!

What kind of eggs do you buy?

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2 Comments

  1. Megan
    March 22, 15:09 Reply

    Thanks for all the info about eggs! I usually buy the Born Free Omega 3 Eggs.

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