Food Myths: Eggs

Egg Myths
Egg Myths

As with everything and anything, people have spread all sorts of myths about food. One area where myths are common are eggs. These small, sometimes white, oval delights are the subject of numerous myths and superstitions. Here, I hope to shed some light on them and correct some false-hoods you may have.

Egg Colour
Egg Colour

1. White eggs are somehow different than brown eggs.

Humans are primarily visual creatures, so it stands to reason that colour makes a huge impression on us. And with eggs, there are two very distinct colours: white and brown. There are a number of theories on the reason for the difference, as well as what it means. Some think white eggs are bleached, others think that brown eggs are organic.

The answer is, surprisingly, there is no difference. The only reason for the different colours is the colours of the hen’s plumage.

A white chicken will lay a white egg, while a brown coloured chicken will lay a brown egg. That’s about it.

There is some small difference between the two types of chickens, as the brown coloured ones are slightly larger in size than the white ones. Large commercial farms are less likely to have the larger, brown hens, which is why some people assume all white eggs are commercial, and all brown eggs are non-commercial. In reality, there is no connection.

2. Eggs cause high-cholesterol and heart attacks.

This is a great debate in all circles on the Internet. It needs to be understood that most studies from the 1970’s that declared eggs (especially their yolks) as evil, did not consider what was being eaten with the eggs. Usually bacon, sausage and lots of trans fats.

We now have a better understanding of the affects of different types of fats. In general, studies show that for healthy people with no history of heart disease, diabetes or high blood cholesterol, eating an average of one egg per day does not increase the long-term risk of heart disease.

As with all food, moderation is the key. Nothing is good (even so called super-foods) if they are over consumed.

White Eggs vs Brown Eggs
White Eggs vs Brown Eggs

3. Some eggs contain chicken embryos.

To put it plainly, that is completely false in every sense of the word.

Chickens, and most birds, will regularly produce eggs, whether or not they have been fertilized. But, only eggs that have been fertilized will develop embryos.

Any commercial chickens whose purpose is to provide eggs for human consumption will not be exposed to roosters. Without roosters, fertilization is not possible. Thus, you will not crack open an egg to find an embryo.

But, if you are purchasing eggs from a farmer who has free range chickens, and he allows them to mingle with roosters, all bets are off.

4. Eggs that can make you sick will smell bad or “off”.

While a rotten egg will have a very distinct and disgusting smell, eggs contaminated with other germs like Salmonella will not. There is no way to determine if an egg has been contaminated by Salmonella.

5. Most raw eggs are contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella in raw eggs is actually quite rare (1 in 20,000). But if you get the egg that is contaminated, you could end up very sick. This is particularly important for people who are very young, very old, or have compromised immune systems.

 

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