They may be a staple on every grocery list, but how much do you really know about the eggs you put in your basket every week? Below, the truth about some common egg myths.
1. EVERY EGG IS A BABY CHICKEN.
Female humans are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, and their bodies release those eggs throughout their lives. The same is true of female chickens. Egg farmers don’t need to keep roosters around unless they want more chickens, because hens will lay eggs either way. Most eggs you buy are unfertilized.
2. BROWN EGGS COME FROM BROWN CHICKENS.
This is true, but it’s not the whole truth. Brown eggs can also come from white chickens, or black chickens, or any chicken with red earlobes. Yes—chickens have earlobes. And the color of their earlobe is a good way of predicting the color of their eggs. Hens with white earlobes lay white eggs. Those with red earlobes lay brown eggs.
3. THE YOLKS ARE BAD FOR YOU.
It’s true that egg yolks are high in cholesterol and fat. But scientists know now that eating high-cholesterol foods doesn’t necessarily raise your blood cholesterol, and not all fat is evil. Egg yolks are full of protein and vitamins and can be a part of a heart-healthy diet for many people. Still unsure? Ask your doctor if egg yolks are safe for you.
4. “CAGE-FREE” CHICKENS ARE HAPPY CHICKENS.
This is one of the biggest myths out there. “Cage-free” chickens are not necessarily free range chickens. Most industrial egg producers keep their birds in very close quarters, whether that means cages or “cage-free” pens, which are essentially just large cages.
5. BROWN EGGS ARE BETTER FOR YOU THAN WHITE EGGS.
Now that you know the earlobe trick, you could probably figure this out. The color of a chicken’s earlobes (and thus her eggs) has nothing to do with the eggs’ nutritional value. There are two things that affect the quality of an egg: a hen’s health, and what she eats.
6. FERTILIZED EGGS ARE NOT SAFE TO EAT.
Some farmers even sell fertilized eggs on purpose, marketing them as healthier. This is not true, either. A fertilized egg will typically contain not a chick but cells that could potentially develop into a chick. This is not dangerous to eat, but it also has no more nutritional value than an unfertilized egg.
No yolks about it: You know exactly what you’re getting with a carton of Nellie’s Free Range Eggs. Visit their website to see Nellie’s chickens in action—they’re allowed to roam around freely, which means they’re happier and healthier.