The expert: Nutritionist Alexandra Caspero, R.D., owner of the weight-management and sports-nutrition service Delicious Knowledge
The verdict: As far as foods—pasta, flour, bread, you know the drill—go, brown is typically healthier than white.
But open your egg carton and that nutrition rule flies straight out of the fridge. Brown eggs and white eggs are, nutritionally at least, exactly same: about 70 calories, 6 grams of protein, and a generous helping of B vitamins.
So why the different hues? “White-feathered chickens lay white eggs. Brown feather chickens lay brown eggs. It’s as simple as that,” Caspero says.
Chances are that brown eggs owe their superior health reputation to their inflated price tag. But as Caspero explains, brown eggs cost more than white eggs simply because they cost more to produce. Brown chickens are larger than their white cousins, so they eat more food, which in turn costs farmers more. And guess who pays for that? You.
Of course, this exception to the nutritional rule has its own exception. Exactly what those farmers feed their chickens, be they brown or white, influences their eggs’ impact on your health. For instance, vegetarian-fed chickens aren’t ever fed other chickens. (Gross, yes, and oddly reminiscent of Soylent Green, but it happens, Caspero says.) Meanwhile, organically raised, cage-free hens aren’t fed anything that’s been treated with antibiotics or pesticides and often have access to natural feed found in the great outdoors. The next time you’re in the dairy aisle, don’t judge an egg by its color—find out what the farmer fed the hen that laid it.