How many types of eggs do you usually see on your local grocery store shelves? At least dozens, right? Whether you’re looking for brown eggs or white conventional eggs, you’re met with all sorts of decisions. Egg guides might seem pretty silly considering they’re all just, well, eggs, but the truth is not all eggs are created equal. And the more you know about the differences between these protein-packed foods, the better.
Check out this great guide to help you decode nutritional labels found on the many different kinds of eggs available at some grocery stores.
Looking For Different Types Of Eggs? Here Is Your Go-to Guide To Various Kinds Of Egg Options
As it turns out, there’s quite a bit of variety among eggs. You may recognize some or all of the following:
- Pasture-raised Omega-3 eggs (the only eggs recommended by Dr. Gundry)
- Organic eggs
- Free-range eggs
- Standard white chicken eggs
- Standard brown eggs
- Pasture-raised eggs
- Hormone-free eggs
- Processed eggs products
Eggs are typically named according to the way the chicken that they come from has been raised, treated, and, most importantly, fed. Because there are so many different farming practices, it’s important to understand which practices are supporting your health, and which are not.
Chicken Egg Guide: Traditional White Eggs, Brown Eggs, Organic Eggs And More
Here’s a quick definition for each type of egg and how they are differentiated.
1. Standard White Chicken Eggs
These are the eggs the industry pushes hardest. They come from white hens raised in crowded hen houses. Of course, if you’re just decorating shell eggs for bunny day, these are fine. But they’re not the eggs you want to be consuming.
2. Standard Brown Eggs
The only major difference between these eggs and the standard white eggs is that they come from brown-feathered hens instead of white-feathered hens. The hen houses are similarly packed and inhumane.
3. Free-Range Eggs
Free-range eggs are the products of hens raised in “free-range” barns or warehouses – or so thought. Unfortunately, farmers evade accusations of inhumane housing by providing very minimal “access” to the outside. Sometimes that access can be a 2 ft by 2 ft window that lets in just a bit of sunlight. It is so small that most of the hens will never actually make it outside to roam freely.
Therefore, though these hens can see some daylight, they do not roam freely. Additionally, the USDA doesn’t regulate how much time the hens are given outdoors. In some cases, the window or door to the outside exists but remains closed.
In other words, these hens are caged, the cages are just bigger. The issue with being caged(aside from the fact that it is inhumane) is that the hens aren’t given their natural diet of proteins and grass — instead, they’re fed lectin-rich soybeans or corn feed. Not only does this type of feed leave the hens malnourished, but it contains tons of lectins.
And therefore, you guessed it, those lectins fed to the hens make their way into the eggs you eat. So next time you see the term “free-range” on the side of an egg carton, don’t let it fool you.
4. Organic Eggs
There’s similar deceit when it comes to the marketing of organic eggs. These hens are housed in giant pens as well, but the lectin-heavy corn and soy feed these birds eat are simply grown without pesticides. So while you’re at least skipping out on those nasty pesticides, you’re still getting eggs that are produced inhumanely, by undernourished hens. And yes, they still contain the lectin content you are trying to avoid.
5. Processed Egg Products
Steer clear of processed egg products. You’ll recognize these eggs because they are usually in a liquid format — or they might be frozen or even powdered. Processed egg products are usually full of additives like preservatives, flavoring, and even coloring. Many people turn to such products in an attempt to avoid egg yolks and simply use egg whites, but what you get could be less healthy than eating a whole egg with its yolk.
6. Hormone-Free Eggs
The USDA does not permit the use of hormones in eggs or other foods. That means, all legally regulated eggs are hormone-free, and that this is simply a misleading marketing term. You’re not getting any extra guarantee when you purchase “hormone-free” eggs.
7. Cage-Free Eggs
The USDA assumes cage-free birds may have slightly more access to roam within an enclosure, but the hens are still fed lectin-filled grains. Also, they are not guaranteed time in their natural habitat — the outdoors, so it’s best to avoid lectin-laden cage-free eggs altogether.
8. Pasture-Raised Eggs
“Pastured” or “pasture-raised” eggs are among the best eggs you can buy. The hens that produce these eggs live the majority of their lives outdoors and consume their naturally preferred diet. When it comes to pastured eggs, the hens are left to roam fields freely except in the event of inclement weather. This means they are able to forage for themselves and consume everything from bugs, grass, grit; whatever they need in the way of nutrients. Therefore, not only are pasture-raised eggs more nutritious than other types of eggs, but as a result of their free access to the outdoors, they get to eat their natural lectin-light diet.
9. Omega-3 Eggs
Omega-3 eggs are the product of hens that were fed 10-20% flax in addition to their other feed. When the flax gets digested by the hens, polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids transfer back to the yolk.
It really is the best option when it comes to eating both egg yolks and egg whites. Omega-3 eggs simply contain more omega-3 fatty acids. As you may know, omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to your health by providing:
- Heart health support
- Added protection against certain illnesses
- Vision support
- And much more1,2
So Then Should You Get Omega-3 Eggs Or Pasture-Raised Eggs? The Answer: BOTH!
Finally, the gold star egg is here! Pasture-raised omega-3 eggs are produced by hens that consume an all-natural diet supplemented with flax. Pasture-raised hens graze on fields that are rotated every few weeks to ensure the soil’s health (as well as the health of the hens). Rotating the fields means the hens can avoid their own waste. The system offers the hens a good amount of time to search for insects — which also contributes to a higher protein intake. It’s a win-win.
Dr. Gundry recommends searching for “Certified Humane Pasture-raised Omega-3” eggs. The label ensures the hens were fed the best food and had the most room to roam. A hen’s natural diet is pretty low in lectins — Certified Humane Pasture-raised Omega-3 egg yolks and whites means you’ll likely ingest fewer lectins.
In one study, omega-3 egg yolks had almost five times more omega-3 fatty acids than the standard eggs. They were also shown to help decrease blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids might also help support healthy cholesterol levels.3,4
Other Types Of Eggs To Eat: Duck Eggs And Quail Eggs
Now, when it comes to eggs, you don’t have to stick to pasture-raised Omega-3 chicken eggs on a lectin-free diet. You can also give duck eggs or quail eggs a try. Just know that the same rules about labels apply. Of course, there are some differences in the eggs when it comes to size and flavor.
Generally speaking, duck eggs are bigger than chicken eggs. The yolk is typically larger than chicken yolks, too. That’s one reason restaurants love to serve them.
Quail eggs are quite the opposite. They’re tiny, rich eggs. They look lovely on the plate as they are speckled and come in an array of colors. Many cultures think of quail eggs as a delicacy.
Omega-3 Eggs Pasture-raised Eggs For The Win
Whether you like runny yolks or crispy fried eggs, opt for pasture-raised omega-3 eggs when you can. All of the other types of eggs can be surprisingly high in lectins.
So the next time you go to the supermarket (or the farmer’s market), look for eggs from humane farms. Remember, if the farmer cares for their hens, they’re caring for your health in the end, too.