Spirit Magazine's Kathryn O'Shea-Evans helped solved the mystery regarding organic, free range and cage free eggs. Here is some pertinent information regarding these golden breakfast treasures.
Grade AA: Larger than Grade A, but not a nutritionally superior meal. Grade is purely used to denote size.
Cage-Free: Hens are able to run about inside huge chicken houses, but not outdoors.
Free Roaming: Chickens have access to the outdoors for at least 51 percent of their lives.
Organic: Hens eat feed that is organically grown and free of pesticides, animal byproducts, and chemical fertilizers. No cages allowed and birds must have constant access to outdoors.
Brown vs. White: The color of the egg is determined by the type of hen that laid it, chickens with white earlobes lay white eggs, chickens with red earlobes lay brown eggs. Nutritional value is determined by feed, not breed, so there is no difference is the proteins and vitamins inside.
Here's where it gets interesting:
The article then goes on to list the nutritional value of two types of eggs, Eggland's Best Cage-Free Grade A Large Brown Eggs, versus Market Pantry Grade A Large Eggs.
Both eggs had 70 calories and six grams of protein. But the cage free eggs had 4 grams of fat compared to Market Pantry's 4.5 grams, and almost half the cholesterol (170mg vs. 215mg). That may not sound like much, but if you are having a multi-egg omelet, things start to add up.
And speaking of omletes, egg whites contain more than half of the egg's total protein, niacin, magnesium, riboflavin, sodium and potassium. Nearly all of an egg's fat and cholesterol lie in its yolk. But so do nearly all of its calcium, zinc and vitamins A, D, and E.
So which type of eggs will you be buying this week at the grocery store? I know what I'll be reaching for.