The Difference Between Brown And White Eggs
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The Difference Between Brown And White Eggs

Nutrition
Lakshmi Devan
2 min read

The Difference Between Brown And White Eggs

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Is one type of egg better than the other? Or is it just plain ol’ po-tay-to/po-tah-to?

We’re all programmed to think that the brown version of everything is healthier. Be it rice, bread, or sugar, brown is just automatically taken as the exotic, rare, and much healthier variety of the food item. So much so that if you ask me to choose between white cardboard and brown, I would instinctively pick the brown one. Don’t ask me why; I just would.

Now let’s come to the case of eggs. White eggs are laid by white-feathered chickens (hens) with light earlobes, and brown eggs are laid by brown-feathered chickens with red earlobes. Please note that I said, “Brown eggs are laid by brown-feathered chickens”. So brown eggs are laid by chickens, and not unicorns, even though people make it seem like they are nothing short of magic.

So, what is the difference between brown and white eggs?


  1. The source – Like I said before, the type of chickens that lay the respective eggs differ. It is not so much the feather that decides the colour of the egg, but the ear lobes. The egg colour is determined by genetics, and genes strongly correlate the 2 attributes. The brown-feathered chickens are also bigger than the white ones, on an average.
  2. Availability and price – Yes, brown eggs aren’t widely available. It’s not that they are rare, just that the brown ones come with a monstrous appetite, and so they eat several times of what the white ones eat. Hence, they’re expensive to keep, and while most farmers simply opt for the white variety of chickens, the few that keep the brown ones naturally price the eggs higher, to cover costs.
  3. Taste – Yes, they taste quite different, no thanks to nutritional difference though. The only reason they have distinct tastes is because the chickens have to be fed different kinds of diets. Scientists suggest that if both the chickens are grown on similar diets, their eggs would taste similar as well.
  4. Yolk colour – Usually, the yolks of brown eggs are significantly darker, because the hens are fed more corn. Some people also believe that the shells of brown eggs are harder, but it could not be any further from the truth. The shells of eggs laid by younger hens tend to be harder, and hence, tougher than those laid by the older lot. And this applies to all hens, irrespective of their colour or variety.


What about nutrition – the most important factor of all? Well, that’s the only thing that remains quite unchanged. There are no (at least, none that are significant) benefits of eating brown eggs over white ones. Pasture-raised hens that are fed green seeds, plants, insects, and worms produce nutrient-rich eggs, while in most cases, the eggs you get in the market are from hens that are crowded in cages, raised in unsanitary conditions, and fed genetically-engineered corn and soy. They’re also injected with hormones and antibiotics to avoid the spread of disease, and this can potentially contaminate the eggs.

Remember, when it comes to eggs (and people), colour doesn’t matter. All that matters is how your chicken was raised. The happier your chicken, the better your eggs.

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