Reston Hospital Center - April 15, 2019

For years, eggs – especially egg yolks – were labeled an unhealthy breakfast choice. Now opinions are changing, and that can be confusing. We can help you crack the code on eggs.

Read on to learn more about egg nutrition, why you don’t have to worry as much about eating them, and the difference between egg types.

What’s in an egg?

One egg has 78 calories and 6 grams of protein. They’re low in sodium and contain good-for-you nutrients, including:

  • Choline, which is good for liver health, metabolism and fetal brain development
  • Vitamin D, which supports bone health and the immune system
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good for eye health

So why do eggs have such a bad reputation? One egg also has 186 milligrams of cholesterol.

The latest guidelines on egg health

Current federal dietary guidelines say to watch the amount of cholesterol you eat, but this is because foods high in cholesterol tend to also be high in saturated fats – which should only take up 10 percent of your calories per day.

Even though eggs are high in cholesterol, they are low in saturated fats and provide key nutrients. This is why they aren’t considered to be as bad for your health as once thought. In fact, the American Heart Association suggests one egg or two egg whites per day as part of a healthy diet.

The difference between free-range, cage-free, organic and brown

Now that we know that eggs can be healthy food, is it true that free-range, cage-free or organic brown eggs are better for you than the traditional white egg?

Here’s what each term means:

  • Free-range. The hens can move freely outside, but this doesn’t mean they’re outside all of the time or on grass.
  • Cage-free. The hens are not kept in cages.
  • Certified organic. Certified organic eggs are from free-range or cage-free hens that are fed an organic diet.
  • Brown eggs come from a particular breed of hen.

Free-range, cage-free and certified organic eggs may be better for animal well-being and certified organic eggs may lower your exposure to agricultural chemicals, antibiotics and hormones. But the nutritional value of these types of eggs, and brown eggs is the same as a traditional white egg.

Now that you’ve cracked the code, are you looking for more nutrition advice? Find a provider who can help.