Chicken eggs come in both white and brown colours. They’re both easily available at the local supermarkets. However, many individuals choose eggs based on colour. Many individuals believe that brown eggs are more natural or nutritious. In contrast, some believe that white eggs are tastier. They also think that these are cleaner than brown eggs. However, the difference between brown and white eggs isn’t shell-deep. Let us understand the difference between brown eggs and white eggs in detail.
Reason Behind the Colour Difference
The colour of the egg depends simply on the chicken breed. Similarly, the colour of eggshells depends on the pigments the hen produces. The chief pigment in brown eggshells is known as protoporphyrin IX. It is made from heme, which gives blood its red colour.
Sometimes, colours vary between the same breeds. It is due to genetic differences among hens. However, certain other factors also influence it. For instance, some hens lay brown eggs. However, as they age, they lay eggs that are larger and lighter in colour.
The diet, stress levels, and environment also affect shell colour. Therefore, the colour may be lighter or darker. However, it does not always change the colour of eggshells. The breed is still the primary factor when it comes to egg colour.
Some chicken breeds even lay blue or blue-green eggs. These hens are from the species Ameraucana, Araucana, Lushi and Dongxiang. The chief pigment in blue eggshells is called biliverdin. This pigment also comes from heme.
There is no nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. However, a hen’s diet and environment can affect an egg’s nutrition.
50 grams or one large egg contains:
- Energy: 71kCals
- Protein: 6.3g
- Carbohydrates: 0.3g
- Fats: 4.7g
Vitamins and Minerals
An egg also contains fair amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Iron: 0.8mg
- Zinc: 0.6mg
- Selenium: 15.4mg
- Folate: 23.5mg
- Choline: 147 mg
- Vitamin B12: 0.4mcg
- Vitamin A: 80mcg
Which is a Healthier Choice: Brown Eggs or White Eggs?
Many individuals prefer brown eggs over white eggs. That is because of their belief that brown eggs are more natural. People also think of brown eggs as a healthier alternative to white ones. Nevertheless, the fact is that all types of eggs are nutritionally quite similar, regardless of their grade, colour or size. Hence, both white and brown eggs are healthy choices.
A classic egg consists of various minerals and vitamins. They also contain high-quality protein with a calorie content as low as 70kCals. Several researchers have studied the differences between white and brown shells. They did it mainly to understand the nutritional difference. Some studies suggest that shell colour does not affect their quality, meaning that the colour is unrelated to its nutrient profile. The one actual difference is the shell pigment. Nonetheless, several other factors can influence the nutritional content.
Factors that Influence Colour of Eggshells
The breeding and growing environment of the hen might have an impact. For example, eggs from hens that roam openly in the sunshine have more vitamin D. They contain 3-4 times the vitamin D you’ll get in caged hen eggs.
The type of feed a hen consumes also affects the nutritional quality of eggs. For example, several studies suggest that hens on an omega-3 fatty acid-rich feed lay eggs higher in omega-3 levels than usual. The same difference has been found with vitamin D when chickens eat a diet rich in vitamin D.
Does colour affect the taste of the egg?
Some individuals believe that brown shelled eggs taste better. In contrast, some others prefer white ones. Although, just like the nutritional value, there is no difference between the taste of the two. Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that all eggs taste similar. Other factors that affect the taste of eggs include:
- Shell colour
- Type of feed
- Chicken breed
- Cooking style
- Differences in diet patterns of hens
Moreover, if you store the eggs for longer, they might develop an off-flavour. On the other hand, storing eggs in the refrigerator at a stable and low temperature can preserve the flavour. That is why some people believe that eggs from home-raised hens taste better.
Furthermore, backyard eggs do not undergo processing and shipping. Therefore they often end up in your basket quicker. As a result, they are fresher and often taste better. Although several factors affect the flavour of an egg, shell colour doesn’t.
Why do brown eggs cost more?
White and brown eggs have negligible differences. However, brown shelled eggs are expensive at the local markets. It can be the reason people believe that brown eggs are healthier. Nevertheless, brown eggs cost more because hens lay larger and fewer eggs. Therefore, stores and poultry farms sell them at a higher price. It is mainly to make up for the secondary expenses.
Nowadays, hens laying brown eggs have almost similar production expenses as hens laying white eggs. However, their eggs still have a higher price label. It can be because organic and free-range eggs tend to be brown and not white.
Health Benefits of Eggs
1. Aids in Weight Loss
Many studies suggest that eggs are full of essential nutrients. They contain vitamins A, B5, B6, D, E, and K. They also contain minerals like calcium, zinc, folate, phosphorus, and selenium. In addition, eggs are also high in protein and healthy fats. These nutrients provide several health benefits. In addition, the low-calorie count makes them a perfect weight-loss food. Studies suggest that protein boosts metabolism. Eggs contain high-quality protein. Therefore, they contribute to weight loss.
2. Increases HDL Levels
HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is also known as good cholesterol. In addition, studies reveal that eggs are good for heart health. Unlike the popular myth, it may reduce the risk of strokes and heart diseases.
3. Improves Eye Health
Eggs are rich in vitamin A, an essential nutrient for eye health. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most common causes of blindness. It occurs mainly in children. Besides, lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. These nutrients are present in eye yolk. According to a study, one egg yolk daily notably increases these nutrients in the blood.
4. Contains Choline
Eggs contain a nutrient called choline, which is lesser-known to people. It is an incredible substance. Sometimes, it pairs with B complex vitamins. Choline has various functions, like building cell membranes. They also play a role in producing signalling molecules in the brain. Choline deficiency causes adverse health outcomes. However, it is very rare. Fortunately, eggs are an excellent source of choline. One medium-sized egg contains nearly 100mg of this remarkable nutrient.
5. Has a Good Satiety Value
The Satiety Index value of an egg is relatively high. The satiety index value assesses a food’s ability to make you feel full while minimising your calorie consumption. Since eggs are nutrient-dense and satisfying, they promote a sense of fullness.
Consuming food such as eggs can also prevent snacking between meals. That is because they keep you full for a long time. In addition, a study suggests that including eggs in your diet helps weight loss.
6. Enhances Brain Function
One single egg contains 125.5mg of the mineral choline. It is about 25% of our daily requirement of this nutrient. Studies have found that choline is essential for heart health and brain function. It also helps regulate mood and memory.
According to research, choline helps in cognitive functions like verbal and visual memory. In addition, choline helps in the formation of membranes surrounding our cells. Therefore, choline is necessary for the baby’s brain development during pregnancy and lactation.
7. High in Protein
Protein is known as the building block of our body. Our muscles are made of protein, and it maintains and repairs muscles. A single egg serving contains about 6.5 grams of protein. Protein found in eggs is a first-class protein of high biological value. So, consuming three eggs gives you about 20 grams of protein.
How to choose eggs?
Now we know that colour isn’t a crucial factor. Therefore, take a look at the nutrition label before making your decision. Here’s an idea of what different labels on egg packaging mean.
Eggs are often labelled as “all-natural” or “naturally raised”. It means they are the same as other eggs.
The term “free-range” refers to eggs laid by chickens who have access to the outdoors. As a result, the chickens will have a higher quality of life, improving the nutritional value of eggs. For example, hens exposed to sunlight lay eggs with higher vitamin D levels.
3. Omega3 Enriched
Eggs with this label are laid by hens fed an omega-3 enriched, healthy diet. It nourishes the eggs, making them high in omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, these eggs provide an additional content of omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, these eggs have additional health benefits.
According to a study, eating omega-3 rich eggs increases the omega-3 content in the breast milk of lactating women. Thus, opting for omega-3 enriched eggs might offer incredible health benefits.
Nowadays, eggs are certified ‘organic’. It means they are laid by hens that get non-GMO and organic feed. These hens also have access to the outdoors year-round. In addition, they have not been given any hormones or antibiotics.
The label ‘organic’ implies that the hens have not been given any antibiotics or given only when medically required. However, no study reveals that organic eggs are more nutritious. Yet, the quality of hens certified organic might be better. In addition, their access to sunlight increases the vitamin D content in the eggs they lay.
This term can be often misleading. For example, cage-free chickens are kept in an open room. Therefore, cage-free conditions are better for hens. Nevertheless, cage-free hen eggs have the same nutritional content as ordinary ones.
6. Backyard and Local
These eggs come from backyard flocks. Otherwise, they are bought straight from local farmers. As a result, these are the freshest eggs and come from hens raised in natural surroundings. In addition, they have more access to sunlight.
The diet of these hens can be different from hens raised conventionally. Therefore, it affects the nutritional value of the egg. That may occur, especially if the hen has access to grass. However, backyard hens are not as hygienic as commercial hens. Therefore, it is best to know the source before purchasing them.
Chicken eggs come in white, brown, and even blue, depending on the chicken breed. However, despite the colour difference, there is no difference in the nutritional content of the eggs. Also, the only difference is the colour of the shell. Brown eggs are sold at a higher price than white ones due to their larger size. However, their supply is limited, another reason for their high rate.
The colour doesn’t affect its taste. Nonetheless, other factors may influence the taste of these eggs. Factors like hen’s housing conditions, diet, environmental conditions etc., influence the taste and quality. The best way to choose eggs is by the nutrition label. Henceforth, next time you purchase a box of eggs, keep these factors in mind. And remember, the egg colour may not tell you the whole truth.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs?
A. There is no scientific evidence of the nutritional difference between brown and white eggs. However, hen’s nutrition affects the egg’s nutrition. Therefore, the colour difference only happens due to the change in the nutritional diet of the hen.
Q. Which egg has more protein?
A. Both brown and white eggs have equal amounts of protein, approximately 6 grams. Therefore, there is no difference between the nutritional value and protein content depending on their colour.
Q. What can replace eggs for protein?
A. Egg is a whole food. While you can not replace the protein value of eggs, lean meats, fish, and chicken can serve as an alternative. In addition, quinoa, paneer and tofu can serve as alternative means of getting protein value in the body for vegetarians.
Q. What can I add to eggs to make more protein?
A. Eggs by themselves are an excellent source of protein. However, you can add steak and sausages to make your breakfast more protein-filled. Remember that you should check on the quantity of consumption to prevent fat accumulation in the body, leading to obesity.
Q. How much protein is in a brown egg?
A. A brown egg contains approximately 6grams of protein. The content is almost the same for white eggs. In addition, they have adequate amounts of iron, sodium, potassium and vitamin A.
Q. What has more protein, chicken or eggs?
A. Chicken is obviously a more excellent source of protein. One egg has 6 grams of protein, while one serving of chicken (100gm) has 27 grams. However, both are equally nutritious.
Q. Is 2 eggs a day enough protein?
A. Two eggs contain approximately 12 grams of protein, which is sufficient for breakfast. However, a protein intake of around 50-70 grams is considered normal for an adult man. You can have the remaining protein with other meals via other foods.
Q. Can I eat eggs every day?
A. Yes, you can eat eggs every day, but in limited quantities. Excessive consumption of eggs may lead to fat accumulation and obesity. It might also harm the stomach and the digestive system.
Q. Is 6 eggs a day too much?
A. While different people have different nutritional requirements, Six whole eggs are usually considered too much due to the high-fat content of egg yolk. However, you can consume 1-2 whole eggs in a day and have more egg whites, as per the protein requirement.
Q. Are boiled eggs good for you?
A. Yes, boiled eggs usually are rich in all nutrients provided by eggs. In addition, consuming boiled eggs can help build muscle, lose body fat as well as weight.
Q. Can you eat raw eggs?
A. Yes, you can eat raw eggs. However, raw eggs contain Salmonella bacteria, which can affect stomach functioning. Salmonella disease causes diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, etc. Therefore you should clean up before consuming raw eggs.
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