Quantcast
Food

Organic vs. Conventional: Find Out Which Eggs Are Healthiest to Eat

By Kris Gunnars

I love eggs and eat 3-4 of them for breakfast every single day.

I don't lose sleep over it because research shows that they are good for my health.

But depending on what the hens themselves ate, the nutritional value of the eggs can differ greatly.

The Different Types of Eggs Are a Confusing Mess

There are several different types of eggs, which can leave people confused.

Pastured Eggs are the best choice because chickens are allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects. Photo credit:
Photo credit: Shutterstock

What all of them have in common is that they come from chickens, but they vary depending on how the chickens were raised and what they were fed.

  • Conventional Eggs: These are your standard supermarket eggs. The chickens are usually raised in an overfilled hen house or a cage and never see the light of day. They are usually fed grain-based crap, supplemented with vitamins and minerals. May also be treated with antibiotics and hormones.
  • Organic Eggs: Were not treated with antibiotics or hormones and received organic feed. May have had limited access to the outdoors.
  • Pastured Eggs: Chickens are allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects (their natural food) along with some commercial feed.
  • Omega-3 Enriched Eggs: Basically, they're like conventional chickens except that their feed is supplemented with an Omega-3 source like flax seeds. May have had some access to the outside.

Conventional vs. Omega-3 Eggs

A study compared the fatty acid composition of three types of eggs: conventional, organic and omega-3 enriched (1).

  • Omega-3 eggs had 39 percent less arachidonic acid, an inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acid that most people eat too much of.
  • Omega-3 eggs had five times as much Omega-3 as the conventional eggs.
  • There was very little difference between organic and conventional eggs.

It is clear that hens fed an omega-3 enriched diet lay eggs that are much higher in Omega-3 than conventional eggs.

This is important because most people eat too little Omega-3.

Unfortunately this study didn't measure other nutrients, only the fatty acid composition.

Conventional vs. Pastured Eggs

In 2007, Mother Earth News magazine decided to test the nutritional value of pastured eggs and received such eggs from 14 different farms.

They were measured in a chemical lab, then compared to the USDA standard conventional egg.

As you can see, eggs from pastured hens are more nutritious than the conventional eggs you might find at the supermarket.

They are higher in Vitamin A and E and Omega-3s. They are also lower in cholesterol and saturated fat, but I don't think that matters.

A study I found on pastured eggs produced similar results (2).

Other Terms For Eggs

There are other more loose and confusing terms, including Free Range and Cage Free, which may or may not be any better than conventional eggs.

Free Range could mean that there's a small window on the hen house where the hens have the option of going outside.

Cage Free just means that they aren't raised in a cage. They could still be raised in a smelly, dirty overstuffed hen house.

Take Home Message

At the end of the day, pastured eggs are your best bet. They are more nutritious and the hens were allowed free access to the outside and ate a more natural diet.

If you can't get pastured eggs (like me) then Omega-3 enriched eggs will be your second best choice. If you can't get either pastured or Omega-3 eggs, then try to find eggs that are either free-range, cage-free or organic.

But even if that's not an option, then conventional eggs are still among the healthiest and most nutritious foods you can eat.

To sum up:

Pastured > Omega-3 > Organic > Free Range/Cage Free > Conventional

This just goes to show that what we eat isn't all that matters … it also matters what our foods eat.

This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

6 Superfoods to Keep You Healthy All Winter Long

Cranberries: One of the World's Most Powerful Antioxidants

What Is the Alkaline Diet?

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Popular
Sit-in at Rep. Hoyer's office. Sunrise Movement

1,000+ Youth Activists Storm Capitol to Demand Green New Deal

More than 1,000 climate activists with the youth-led Sunrise Movement stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington and participated in sit-ins at Democratic leaders' offices on Monday.

The protesters demanded Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and Jim McGovern support Rep-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's proposal of a "select committee" for a Green New Deal before the winter recess.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Stikine River runs through Wrangell, Alaska. Mining operations nearby threaten to poison fish in the Stikine watershed and destroy the traditions and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskan Tribes. Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Canada as Ugly Neighbor: Mines in BC Would Devastate Alaskan Tribes

By Ramin Pejan

Mining operations in Canada are threatening to destroy the way of life of Southeast Alaskan Tribes who were never consulted about the mines by the governments of Canada or British Columbia.

Keep reading... Show less
Business
Deforestation on peatland for palm oil plantation in Borneo, Indonesia. glennhurowitz / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

World's Largest Palm Oil Trader Ramps Up Zero-Deforestation Efforts

The world's largest palm oil trader released plans on Monday to increase its efforts to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain.

Wilmar International, which supplies 40 percent of the world's palm oil, has teamed up with the sustainability consultancy Aidenvironment Asia to develop a comprehensive mapping database to better monitor the company's palm oil supplier group.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Elkhorn Slough Reserve is one of California's few remaining coastal wetlands. Edmund Lowe Photography / Moment / Getty Images

New EPA Rule Would Sabotage Clean Water Act

By Jake Johnson

In a move environmentalists are warning will seriously endanger drinking water and wildlife nationwide, President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is reportedly gearing up to hand yet another gift to big polluters by drastically curtailing the number of waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
James Braund / Getty Images

40 Acres of Farm Land in America Is Lost to Development Every Hour

By Brian Barth

Picture bulldozers plowing up pastures and cornfields to put in subdivisions and strip malls. Add to this picture the fact that the average age of the American farmer is nearly 60—it's often retiring farmers that sell to real estate developers. They can afford to pay much more for property than aspiring young farmers.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy

60,000 Liters of Oil Spills From Pipeline Into Brazilian Bay

About 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) of oil spilled from a pipeline into the Estrela River and spread to Rio de Janeiro's famed Guanabara Bay over the weekend, according to Reuters and local reports.

The pipeline is owned by Transpetro, the largest oil and gas transportation company in Brazil, and a subsidiary of Petroleo Brasileiro (commonly known as Petrobras). Transpetro claims the leak resulted from an attempted robbery.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

Holiday Shoppers, the Planet Needs You to Take It Easy With Next-Day Shipping

By Jeff Turrentine

Back in 1966, the editors of Time indulged in a long-honored magazine tradition and published an essay in which experts made predictions about the future—in this case, the year 2000. By then, these experts prognosticated, a typical shopper "should be able to switch on to the local supermarket on the video phone, examine grapefruit and price them, all without stirring from her living room." But even so, they predicted, "remote shopping, while entirely feasible, will flop." Why? Because shoppers "like to get out of the house, like to handle the merchandise, like to be able to change their minds."

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Russia pavilion at the COP24 conference in Katowice, Poland. Beata Zawrzel / NurPhoto via Getty Images

COP24: U.S. Joins Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait in Blocking Crucial Climate Report

The U.S. has thrown its hat in the ring with three other fossil-fuel friendly nations to block the COP24 talks from "welcoming" the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that warned that we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, BBC News reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!