The Differences Between White and Brown Eggs

We're going to tell you about the differences between white and brown eggs, as well as some suggestions regarding the consumption of these foods.
The Differences Between White and Brown Eggs
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 15 June, 2023

You may have noticed that the color of eggs can vary, as some are white and some are brown. Today, we’re going to tell you the differences between them and what determines whether or not they present a certain tonality. Anyway, keep in mind that eggs, in any of their presentations, are considered a healthy food with a high nutritional density. So, what’s the difference between white and brown eggs?

Before answering this question, the first thing you have to be clear about is that the presence of eggs in the diet is recommended by almost all nutrition experts. These manage to provide a good amount of essential nutrients, which reduces the risk of developing a deficit that can lead to a complex disease.

The differences between white and brown eggs

Whether an egg is white or brown depends mainly on the breed of hen from which it came. As a general rule, white hens lay white eggs, while brown ones are capable of producing eggs of the same color. It’s even possible to find some blue or speckled variants, although they’re much less frequent.

For this reason, the main difference between these types of eggs allows us to know the origin of the hen. However, there’s no significant variation in the nutritional value of the food in question. Nor will the shell have different properties. It can be more or less hard and resistant, but this will depend more on the age of the hen than on its breed. Young hens generally lay eggs with a harder shell.

Now, you may have noticed that brown eggs tend to be more expensive. This isn’t because they’re better than white eggs, but because of the chicken’s diet. Normally, those that lay eggs of this color tend to be larger in size, so they need a greater energy supply. This increases production costs and is reflected in the final price of the product.

The benefits of eggs

Now that you already know the main differences between white and brown eggs, we’re going to talk to you about the benefits that are derived from the inclusion of eggs in your regular diet. It’s important to introduce them in the context of a varied and balanced diet in order to avoid deficits at the nutritional level.

1. They manage to improve the health of lean mass

A man flexing his arm muscles.
There are many athletes who consume eggs daily to increase their muscle mass. In fact, it’s also possible to find their proteins in the form of sports supplements.

Eggs are a source of protein. In fact, they contain the protein considered to be of the highest quality. They have all the essential amino acids inside and have a good score for digestibility. For this reason, they’re the perfect way to satisfy the requirements of the muscle, especially under intense exercise contexts.

According to a study published in the journal BioMed Research International, it’s important to ensure optimal protein intake to avoid losses in muscle strength, as well as the catabolism of lean mass. In the opposite case, the incidence of sarcopenia could increase, a disease that negatively affects a person’s functionality.

At the same time, when we talk about athletes, egg protein can help promote recovery and adaptation processes to different stimuli. Among the latter is hypertrophy, which is nothing more than an increase in the cross-section of the tissue, which causes a greater percentage of muscle mass in the body. For athletes, this mechanism is often very beneficial.

2. They help prevent complex pathologies

Eggs are one of the few foods in the diet that contains vitamin D inside. This nutrient is quite scarce, and its digestibility isn’t always good. However, its impact on the state of health is really decisive. A deficiency in it this vitamin is related to a higher risk of developing complex diseases, as indicated by a study published in the journal Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America.

The best way to ensure that the body’s vitamin D  requirements are met is through exposure to sunlight. Radiation stimulates endogenous synthesis of the nutrient, which can then accumulate in adipose tissue. It’s important that the exposure is carried out without protection in the form of sunscreens, as these elements would block the rays responsible for starting the aforementioned reactions.

However, it’s essential to emphasize that exposure to sunlight must be a progressive and continuous process. There’s no use accumulating hours the first days of summer, and then staying at home throughout the winter. It’s best if this habit is developed on a regular basis throughout the year, if possible. Otherwise, taking a supplement of the nutrient may be necessary.

3. Eggs improve the quality of sleep

Eggs are one of the foods that contain the greatest amount of the amino acid tryptophan in its interior. This element acts as a precursor for important neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. In turn, it actively participates in the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that has been shown to regulate sleep and wake cycles in the body.

As if this weren’t enough, melatonin also has a marked antioxidant power. It’s capable of neutralizing the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the body’s tissues. This process underlies the development of many complex diseases, so it’s important to avoid it in order to maintain good health in the medium term.

In any case, it must be taken into account that there’s also the option of supplementing with melatonin to improve the quality of sleep. Just eating eggs may not be enough. There’s evidence that melatonin supplements have a high safety profile and are useful for the treatment of sleep problems in a large part of the population.

Do Eggs Raise Cholesterol?

Eggs don't increase blood cholesterol.
The increase in cholesterol in the blood and its accumulation are more related to certain lifestyle habits than to the consumption of eggs.

There’s a myth that eggs increase plasma cholesterol by containing this nutrient inside. However, today, experts know for sure that this statement is totally false. The intake of dietary cholesterol doesn’t have a decisive influence on people’s lipid profile of people, as there’s also an endogenous production of this element that’s modulated by its contribution through the diet.

According to a study published in the journal BMJ, the consumption of eggs not only doesn’t increase cardiovascular risk, but it can play a protective role. These foods contain high-quality nutrients that help to modulate inflammatory mechanisms, thus achieving an improvement in health.

For this reason, the recommendations to limit the weekly consumption of eggs to 3 units have been left behind. Many nutrition experts even defend the inclusion of these products on a daily basis in the diet. This mechanism is intended to meet protein requirements and maximize the supply of vitamin D, reducing the risk of deficiency.

If the goal is to modify the lipid profile, the best thing to do is to improve other aspects of the regular diet. For example, it’s essential to limit the contribution of fatty acids of the trans type. These have inflammatory properties and are capable of increasing the incidence of many complex diseases, according to research published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome.

What’s the healthiest way to consume eggs?

It’s important to choose good cooking methods to prepare the eggs, which will allow you to take advantage of all their properties without generating toxic compounds that could put your health at risk. For this reason, it’s best to choose cooking with boiling water, a skillet, steam, or even in the oven. In all these situations, the food is subjected to a controlled temperature, practically without the absence of a fatty medium.

In this way, the transformation of fatty acids from cis type to trans type is avoided, which would be harmful to the body. Nor will the energy value of the food be increased. It must be taken into account that incurring a hypercaloric pattern could end up generating obesity or excess weight. Both contexts cause a detriment to the state of health.

The option of cooking eggs in the microwave shouldn’t be ruled out. It may not be the most common solution, but from a nutritional point of view, it’s a very respectful appliance. It’s also fast, so it can save us on those days when we’re in a rush.

What to accompany the eggs with

There are many side options for eggs. It all depends on the time of day in which they’re going to be prepared. In the morning and at noon, they can be served alongside vegetables as well as a source of quality carbohydrates. Whole wheat bread could be an option. Rice or quinoa are other alternatives to consider.

However, at night, you can opt for an option that’s less caloric and contains more protein. It’s possible to prepare a French omelet filled with tuna or spinach, as well as scrambled eggs with shrimp if you’ve exercised beforehand. Both options will stimulate endogenous protein synthesis, improving recovery processes.

White and brown eggs have few differences

As you’ve seen, there are very few differences between white and brown eggs. Their nutritional value isn’t at all altered, so both are products that must be introduced into the diet on a regular basis to avoid deficits. They’re considered healthy and aren’t capable of negatively impacting the lipid profile or triglycerides.

Finally, keep in mind that it’s best to complement the presence of eggs in the diet with regular physical exercise, prioritizing strength work. In this way, the proteins in the food will be used to stimulate tissue adaptations, which in the medium term will translate into an increase in sports performance.

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