Have you ever looked at the endless selection of eggs in the grocery store and wondered what the difference could possibly be? A nutritionist took to Instagram to explain the different labels and help you decide which kind is best for you.
The video follows nutritionist Craig McCloskey (@craig_mccloskey) through the grocery store as he details why it’s important to understand the labels on the egg cartons.
McCloskey explains that conventional eggs typically come from chickens kept in battery cages — cramped enclosures where the birds spend their entire life, usually with two to 10 birds per cage.
“These are the lowest quality eggs you can find,” he says.
He then defines cage-free eggs, where the chickens aren’t kept in battery cages but are still confined to a very small space.
Next up in the video, he describes free range, which allows access to the outdoors but legally only requires two square feet per chicken.
All of these chickens are often fed diets of corn and soy — a cost-effective diet, but one that doesn’t benefit the health of the birds and, by extension, the eggs that they produce.
The best option for chickens, McCloskey says, is to be pasture-raised, which means that they have access to 108 square feet per chicken. This allows more humane living conditions as well as a better diet of grass, bugs, and worms — the food that chickens normally eat.
However, while eggs from pasture-raised chickens are the most humane and provide the best nutrition, they tend to be the most expensive. McCloskey also offered up the important note to work within your means, saying, “Conventional eggs are still healthier than ultra-processed foods. If that’s all you’ve got, buy them!”
If pasture-raised chickens are a financial option for you, they offer a variety of health benefits. According to Piedmont, pasture-raised chickens have more vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to heart health and overall well-being.
What’s also important is that pasture-raised chickens live better, healthier lives, and they even help out the ecosystem by turning the soil over as they hunt for worms and other bugs, improving soil health.
Comments on the post expressed varying opinions, and some pushed to ditch grocery store eggs altogether.
“The best eggs come from the chickens that live at your house!” wrote one user.
“My take is to buy from a local farmer or homestead,” added another.
Most importantly, as McCloskey says, eggs hold a good nutritional value no matter where they come from. At the end of the day, the best option for you to choose is the type that fits best with your financial, moral, and nutritional needs.
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