Are Brown Eggs "Healthier"?

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Eggs with pristine white shells are the norm when shopping for eggs in the supermarket. However, for those who have a keen yet curious eye, you might have also noticed that there are chicken eggs available that have brown shells that cost more than your usual white eggs

If you believe the myth that all brown food are healthier than white, this is one instance that that myth is not true. The biggest difference between brown eggs and white eggs is color

Despite common belief, most chicken eggs are nutritionally the same, including the ones that have brown shells. According to Egg Farmers of Canada, it's the breed of hen that determines whether the eggs produced have brown shells or white shells. In general, most white chickens produce white eggs while most brown-feathered hens produce brown eggs. 

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This shell color doesn't mean that these eggs are nutritionally better. Unless the eggs have been modified through the chickens' diet to be more nutritionally better, as in the case of specialty eggs that have been enhanced with vitamins and omega-3 for example, most chicken eggs are usually identical with regards to their nutritional values.

This includes chicken eggs from cage-free or free-range chicken eggs. "Cage-free" and "free-range" eggs just mean that the chickens were raised in farms with these living conditions. Even "organic eggs" are eggs from chickens fed with an organic diet. None of these terms however change the nutritional value of the eggs. 

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What's more, the color of the egg yolks when you do finally crack it open does not mean it's nutritionally better either. All it means is that the chicken's diet contained food that has carotenoids, the pigment that makes carrots orange and egg yolks more bright yellow. This brighter, more golden egg yolk doesn't affect the overall nutritional value. 


So, why do brown eggs cost more? 

The size of the chicken and the resulting egg may be the reason why brown eggs are more expensive than white eggs. The Egg Safety Center states that brown chickens are usually larger than white chickens, which means larger eggs. Plus, this also means the chickens eat more than their smaller white cousins which means more feed. The higher price of the egg also rides on the belief in this myth, that brown eggs must be more nutritionally better than white eggs. 


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