Nutrition Articles

Eggs are Egg-cellent

Healthy or Not? We Crack the Case!

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"Designer" Eggs: Are They Worth the Money? When you go to stock up on eggs, be prepared for an onslaught of choices. Beyond just white and brown, you’ll see a whole new world of choices in the refrigerator case. Are these “designer” eggs worth the extra money? It depends on the designer.
  • Cage Free, Free Range, Pastured, and Pasture Raised: You may feel like you're doing a good deed by purchasing eggs with one or more of these terms on the package. But in truth, these labels really don't mean a whole lot, as there are no rules or regulations about using these terms. If you want high quality eggs from humanely raised chickens, find a local producer whom you trust. To find one, go to www.LocalHarvest.org, and enter "eggs" in the "Name/Description/Product" box, and your zip code in the "Where?" box. A list of farmers in your area will pop up, many of whom sell their eggs at local farmers markets.
  • Certified Organic: They hens who lay these eggs are cage-free, have outdoor access, and eat a 100% organic and vegetarian diet that is free of antibiotics and pesticides. Third-party auditors enforce these standards.
  • Grade AA, A and B: Eggs in the US are classified according to quality and freshness standards established by the USDA. AA is the most superior in quality, followed by A and B.
  • Omega-3 Enhanced eggs: When is an egg not just an egg? When it's engineered to contain Omega-3s. The hens that lay these eggs eat a diet rich in Omega-3s, which includes algae or flaxseed. The eggs they lay contain higher Omega-3 content but taste like regular eggs. These eggs may help contribute to your intake of essential fatty acids, but they don’t contain enough to make up for a diet that is otherwise low in Omega-3s.
No matter what kind of eggs you choose to eat, be sure to follow proper handling and preparation guidelines to ensure that your eggs are safe to eat. Raw or improperly handled eggs can be a source of disease.
  • Avoid raw eggs, and foods made with raw eggs (Caesar dressing, homemade mayonnaise, eggnog, and cookie dough). These foods are safe if a pasteurized egg product is used.
  • Check the carton to be sure that the eggs you are buying are clean and free of cracks.
  • Store eggs in the coldest part of the refrigerator (not in the door), and use within three to five weeks, or by the expiration date on the carton. Hardboiled eggs should also be stored in the refrigerator and used within one week.
  • When cooking with eggs, don’t leave the carton on the counter during prep time. Take out the eggs you will use and return the carton to the refrigerator.
  • Wash all surfaces, cooking utensils, and skin with warm, soapy water before and after handling eggs.
  • Cook eggs until yolks are firm.
  • Cook egg-containing dishes to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy any bacteria safely.
Give yourself a break! Poached, scrambled, baked or fried—you can rely on the inexpensive and high-quality protein of eggs as part of a varied, healthy diet. "Do be careful with whom your eggs hang out," says Hand. "Bacon, sausage, and high-fat cheeses can be troublesome characters!"

This article has been reviewed and approved by Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian.
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • About 2 1/2 years ago I started raising a small flock of chickens in our backyard. With all of my sons allergies, I thought it would be good to take some control over where some of our food comes from- and what goes into it. I haven't bough eggs from the store in over 2 years and my son loves them - the eggs that is!. With 4 hens currently laying, we have more than enough for the 2 of us, the neighbors get them handed over the fence on occasion, and I sell the rest to co-workers or friends. They all swear that our eggs taste better than what you get in the store and I feel better knowing we aren't eating some chemically processed crap. - 4/29/2014 10:12:05 AM
  • what about liquid egg whites ? vs the regular common egg i eat a bowl of microwaved egg white each morning for brunch before going to my Dialysis treatment sometimes w/ perfect pinch southwest seasoning other times w/ dinosaur bbq wango tango sauce - 4/20/2014 10:17:32 PM
  • BLAIRGREINER
    Although I can agree with this article for the most part, I think there is a serious disservice being done by NOT promoting the organic egg. 93% of corn is GMO and corn us high on the chicken diet. If you want to eat a diet free of GMO's you need to eat organic. This should be STRESSED. Not all eggs are created the same and the coloring by itself is obvious to that. Eat your eggs. Don't eat pesticides built into your food! - 4/20/2014 3:28:39 AM
  • There's a lot to love about the humble bumnut or cackleberry. It's natures fast food, cheap, full of vitamins and minerals and easy to cook. A 'googie' for breakfast can keep you going right up until lunch, they are as nature intended them to be ..... perfect!! - 4/5/2014 1:24:49 AM
  • My thirteen chickens and I all agree that eggs are amazing, and that people who refuse to eat the yolk don't know what they're missing.

    And of course you have to say to cook until the yolk is firm, but I love my yolk runny and delicious. - 4/1/2014 1:42:17 PM
  • I was told by a lady that sells eggs to wash them before cracking them as well. Never thought of it before but makes sense. - 4/1/2014 6:37:47 AM
  • "Cook eggs until yolks are firm." No. If I am frying an egg, the yolk will not be firm. No. Otherwise interesting information. - 3/27/2014 8:57:42 PM
  • GREENVALLEYS
    In some cultures the eggs are served any time of the day, for example growing up
    I always had fried eggs and french fries every evening with a good chunk of crusty bread.
    - 10/13/2013 8:55:04 PM
  • Waycat .... There are several reasons why eggs are refrigerated in USA and not uk. The most notable being that in UK hens are required to be vaccinated against salmonella, US has no such requirement, refrigeration hinders the bacteria growth, if present .

    - 10/13/2013 10:18:40 AM
  • BEKKIBOO969
    I eat 3 eggs every morning, that's 21 eggs per week. Sometimes I eat the whole egg, other days I may have 2 eggs and omit the yolk for the 3/rd egg. I feel great and have a busy lifestyle. - 10/13/2013 9:22:29 AM
  • I have to disagree with the recommendation to store eggs in the fridge. Here in the UK all supermarkets have their eggs out on shelves, not in the fridge - so what's the point in putting them in the fridge when you get home?
    They are so much easier to cook with at room temperature rather than chilled.

    And forgive me, but I just can not understand why some people have such an aversion to eating egg yolks, instead just option to eat the whites. I mean, an egg is the ultimate complete food - the yolk is tasty, full of nutrition and when you think that it nurtures a growing chick, it MUST be good for you!

    I think just eating the whites and discarding the yolks is a criminal waste of good food.

    - 10/13/2013 3:32:50 AM
  • I don't think eggs are mandatory. Here the thing, certain foods are not easily available in other countries which is why God naturally made various food available for each culture. The beauty of this day and age is that we can eat foods from other cultures. I'm sure the benefits from eggs can be found in other food. If food isn't poisonous I'm sure it;s free to eat. ( not tampered by humans) - 10/12/2013 4:24:06 PM
  • Interesting article - however, it does not say anything about eating egg whites only! Because of the high cholestral - we have switched to egg beaters and egg whites only. Is there a benefit? Also - by not eating the yoke - do we lose the vision benefit and other benefits of the yoke?

    - 10/12/2013 10:10:27 AM
  • Interesting article...
    I find it sort of interesting that it conflicts with the advice given via the SP nutrition tracker. If I had two eggs for breakfast I'd already be over the amount of dietary cholesterol recommended for my calorie range. When I do go over the range, the nutrition feedback cautions to be careful how much cholesterol you consume.

    If all the studies quoted in this article are true about dietary cholesterol not necessarily raising blood cholesterol, why is the nutrition tracker and feedback cautioning me? - 12/19/2012 8:06:11 AM
  • I love eggs and never really gave them up. Read 'The Fat Flush' by Ann Louise Gittleman and she wrote that the main reason the industry demonized eggs was to promote the cereal industry and I truly believe that to be true. Long live the egg. I usually eat and make Egglands Best eggs because of the higher Omega 3 content and lower Saturated fat due to the fact that the hens are fed an all-natural, all vegetarian diet with no animal fats or animal by-products, hormones or antibiotics. That sells me. - 12/8/2012 9:53:58 PM

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