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

  • MS_GODDESS
    Another big fan of eggs here! I usually boil several at the beginning of the week so I can grab and go for mid-morning snacks. If I'm enjoying eggs with breakfast (usually a Sunday-morning thing) - then the yolks have to be runny so I can dip my whole wheat toast into them - yum!!!! - 4/6/2016 6:16:22 PM
  • I have a hard boiled egg for an afternoon snack at work most days. I add a little sriracha, which is great if you like it. But the egg is the perfect snack and has all but eliminated my desire to hit the vending machines! - 3/15/2016 2:29:35 PM
  • Eggs are often wiped ,by the producer (not referring to the chicken) lol, but washing before using is a good practice! - 3/7/2016 10:36:18 PM
  • Eggs are the Perfect Food and the yolk NEEDS to be included with the white because it is the yolk that has the ingredient (good cholesterol) that pushes bad cholesterol out of your system. They also are a good evening meal for diabetics, at least my husband, who finds his morning #s to be a lot better if he has eggs for dinner. As for firm or runny-my yolks will be soft unless they are hard boiled but my husband's will be hard no matter how they're cooked. - 3/7/2016 9:38:45 AM
  • This confirms the findings of my blood work up, year after year. I have an egg for breakfast most mornings . . . eggs really are good food. - 3/7/2016 9:21:13 AM
  • I think this article should have stressed that the yolk was not only the main source of choline in the egg, but the primary source of ALL the nutrition of the egg, with the possible exception of protein of which the white is composed. People think that eating only whites is a "good" thing, but they are getting little nutrition in whites.

    Needing to be on a low histaimine diet, I also would like to point out that, per the instructional materials given to me by my health care professionals, the whites are very high in histamines, but the yolks are a "0" on the histamine level. Therefore, I ONLY eat the yolk. Yes, it took a while to get used to tossing all those whites out, but realizing how adversely they were affecting how I felt, it became easier. - 3/7/2016 8:46:52 AM
  • A chicken that is raised cage free AND given access to natural grazing can not be vegetarian. They eat bugs, mice, small snakes, worms, etc. By nature, this is the way their diet is designed to be. Trying to raise vegetarian chickens sets them up for deficiencies in their own diets which can lead to decreaeed egg production, malformed eggs, and bodily diseases. We raise chickens so we are our own source of information ;) - 3/7/2016 7:21:46 AM
  • eggs fit into our lives easily; boiled, poached, baked, pickled... bfast, lunch, dinner, snack. What a boost. Oh, don't forget egg-nog. hahaha

    eggs are eggs-actly what we use as it still fits into our very tight budget. We two live below the poverty-level, and have over the past 8 years. For us, it is "just what the doctor ordered".

    hahaha
    May the forks be with you.
    _ga- - 3/7/2016 2:13:51 AM
  • Does Sparkpeople do native advertising? Is there somewhere on the site I can see a list of sponsors? I would particularly like to know if this article is the result of a collaboration or relationship between SP and American Egg Board or another egg group. Thank you. Trying to be an educated consumer; No offense intended. - 12/30/2015 11:39:53 AM
  • If the yolk's not dippy, what's the point?? - 5/4/2015 11:18:38 AM
  • MABLEMONSTER
    I love eggs I eat the whole thing love um - 10/16/2014 6:54:15 PM
  • 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

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