4

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Are pastured eggs more paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 16, 2010 at 11:52 PM

Are pastured eggs more paleo? Is there really a nutritional difference between pastured eggs vs free-range/organic eggs vs regular eggs? Are CAFO eggs really nutritionally bankrupt? I'm curious what the general consensus is in the paleo community.

6d69b9d6a4913823db9096f6d229f668

(30)

on April 26, 2011
at 04:26 PM

Bad bad bad. Guess they haven't caught onto the fact that omega 3 is what we lack. Maybe playing the public for stupid.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 12, 2011
at 12:58 AM

the healthy, true free range eggs will have orange yolks, I doubt it has anything to do with marigolds.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 12, 2011
at 12:47 AM

be wary of bright yellow yolks? really? cause I get different colored eggs from the same farmer and the light green ones always have darker and slightly tastier yolks than the brown ones.

9c215d66a663fbae3a16cf5515889d7f

(260)

on November 15, 2010
at 05:32 PM

I live close to Polyface, so I've started going out there every few weeks. When I was out there a few weeks ago I hiked over to see the cows. Sure enough, the portable chicken house was in with the cows. It was pretty cool watching them running around under the cows.

C1fb8666b1ae085507a76a4c494e4f0a

on July 06, 2010
at 12:32 AM

Personal observation, but the eggs I buy at the grocery store have deep yellow yolks... same as pastured ones I've bought direct from local farmers. Mind you our grocery store ones are local as well, so perhaps it's something local that they are all being fed.

46fe06f485fdc33eaf7eafbd434376d9

(65)

on April 07, 2010
at 12:09 AM

I buy local, pastured, antibiotic-free eggs from my local co-op. The yolks are much more vividly yellow, and they taste so much better than CAFO eggs. I've grown so used to them, I almost can't eat eggs unless they are from pastured chickens. It really does make a difference.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 26, 2010
at 03:10 PM

In the summer, the eggs I buy from the farm have almost orange yolks. These chickens are not fed corn. They are totally free-roam. So where does that color come from? The farmer says that they have marigolds all over the property and the chickens eat them. Is he telling me the truth? I've been to his place and done business with him for years.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 25, 2010
at 12:28 PM

Vivid yellow can come from eating marigolds, not corn. My local farmer doesn't feed his chickens corn. They are totally free roam and eat all sorts of things, including marigolds, and the yolks are deep yellow.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on March 25, 2010
at 12:09 PM

It has been my experience that eggs from locally-farmed pastured birds (who, like nearly all farm chickens in the US, eat some corn, but who also eat bugs and all sorts of other stuff) have more vividly yellow yolks than supermarket eggs. And my experience otherwise matches up with AnnaA's.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 25, 2010
at 10:35 AM

Unfortunately vivid yellow yolks are a sign that they have been corn fed. Really fresh boiled eggs (i.e. boiled on the same day they were laid where the only transport was in my hand from chicken coop to kitchen) are absolutely impossible to peel - the shell really 'sticks' to the white.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2010
at 03:57 PM

And as a non-scientific observation, the flavour is better, the yolks are vivid yellow, and they hold up better in the pan when cooked.

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12 Answers

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19
03591e15b7650ac61d96dd0141427cf0

(355)

on February 17, 2010
at 12:08 AM

I think that anytime an animal has access to it's natural food source, the end result is going to be healthier.

Here is a post from Whole Health Source on the subject: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/05/pastured-eggs.html

Vitamin A: Conventional: 487 IU Pastured avg: 792 IU

Vitamin D: Conventional: 34 IU Pastured avg: 136 - 204 IU

Vitamin E: Conventional: 0.97 mg Pastured avg: 3.73 mg

Beta-carotene: Conventional: 10 mcg Pastured avg: 79 mcg

Omega-3 fatty acids: Conventional: 0.22 g Pastured avg: 0.66 g

It's important to note that "free range" supermarket eggs are nutritionally similar to conventional eggs. The reason pastured eggs are so nutritious is that the chickens get to supplement their diets with abundant fresh plants and insects. Having little doors on the side of a giant smelly barn just doesn't replicate that.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 18, 2010
at 03:57 PM

And as a non-scientific observation, the flavour is better, the yolks are vivid yellow, and they hold up better in the pan when cooked.

95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on March 25, 2010
at 12:09 PM

It has been my experience that eggs from locally-farmed pastured birds (who, like nearly all farm chickens in the US, eat some corn, but who also eat bugs and all sorts of other stuff) have more vividly yellow yolks than supermarket eggs. And my experience otherwise matches up with AnnaA's.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 25, 2010
at 12:28 PM

Vivid yellow can come from eating marigolds, not corn. My local farmer doesn't feed his chickens corn. They are totally free roam and eat all sorts of things, including marigolds, and the yolks are deep yellow.

C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 25, 2010
at 10:35 AM

Unfortunately vivid yellow yolks are a sign that they have been corn fed. Really fresh boiled eggs (i.e. boiled on the same day they were laid where the only transport was in my hand from chicken coop to kitchen) are absolutely impossible to peel - the shell really 'sticks' to the white.

46fe06f485fdc33eaf7eafbd434376d9

(65)

on April 07, 2010
at 12:09 AM

I buy local, pastured, antibiotic-free eggs from my local co-op. The yolks are much more vividly yellow, and they taste so much better than CAFO eggs. I've grown so used to them, I almost can't eat eggs unless they are from pastured chickens. It really does make a difference.

C1fb8666b1ae085507a76a4c494e4f0a

on July 06, 2010
at 12:32 AM

Personal observation, but the eggs I buy at the grocery store have deep yellow yolks... same as pastured ones I've bought direct from local farmers. Mind you our grocery store ones are local as well, so perhaps it's something local that they are all being fed.

4
Medium avatar

(7073)

on March 25, 2010
at 08:48 AM

Pastured eggs are far superior to battery, 'free-range' or organic eggs. "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Micheal Pollan, outlines the way in which consumers are duped into thinking 'free-range' mean more nutritious (and cruelty-free), by a variety of clever marketing ploys, which succeeds in keeping the truth about the farming techniques away from the public eye:

Nor is organic agriculture necessarily the answer: Pollan visits big industrial organic operations that hardly differ from their nonorganic counterparts. Many chickens advertised as "free-range" never touch a patch of grass in their short lives.

http://www.michaelpollan.com/press.php?id=43

In the book Pollan describes visiting a free-range egg producing outfit where there is a strip of grass next to the henhouse (holding tens of thousands of chickens) and a small access door which the hens never use, because they do not know how. The fact that the strip of grass is there means that the eggs receive free-range status, but the chickens never see daylight and are fed exclusively on corn. He goes on to tell how pictures of woods and farms on the egg boxes lure people into a false sense of security about what they are buying.

Going to a farm where you can see the chickens and know that they are scratching around for insects completely in freedom (giving their eggs a higher Omega-3 count) is worth more than any supermarket label that claims free-range, woodland eggs or organic.

The fact is, all eggs that have yellow yolks have been corn fed and the hens probably did not receive any sunshine (rendering the eggs low in vit. D) whereas true farm-raised, pastured-egg yolks are always deep orange, indicating that the hens ate copious amounts of insects and a variety of wild plants, received minimal corn-based supplementation and were able to exercise and receive ample sunlight.

For more nutritional info on grass fed eggs and chickens see Pastured Poultry Profits by Joe Salatin - it is an eye opener.

From what I have seen on the net, I believe that there is a general consensus in the paleo community that grass-fed is better, but it depends on what you define as better; maybe many paleo eaters are still eating intensively-raised meat and battery-produced eggs from the supermarket without a second thought, as they think that any meat, any eggs are better than grains and sugar (do they have a point?).

I hope not, the more support for pastured, the better, regardless of whether it is a paleo food or not.

2
535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 12, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Free range eggs (pastured) from a local farmer is the only way to go. Besides the extra nutrients you will not have to worry about salmonella. I have been eating raw eggs every day for years with no problems.

2
980d9d849cda1293b3be9407206645c5

on November 14, 2010
at 03:32 PM

The more an animal is in the natural environment, the more nutritious it is. Pastured eggs are more nutritious because the chickens are getting sunshine and are eating all kinds of bugs--it is not what it is fed. The following features should be ignored: Cage-free, flax seed, and vegetarian feed, what color the egg is. The following features are positives: farm-to-consumer, intact cuticle (not washed or dipped in chlorine/detergent/chemicals), bug-eating. You should go see for yourself where the chickens are kept. They will typically have bare dirt near the henhouse for scratching, dust baths, and strategically to make it difficult for snakes to hide in the grass, but they should have at least 50% of the perimeter area grassy. Some places have a mobile henhouse where they are rotated over multiple fields.

2
03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on March 02, 2010
at 02:05 PM

One thing to note is that real pastured eggs are pretty hard to find... at least that is my experience.

My regular supermarket (Giant) sells eggs that are "cage-free" and "all vegetarian diet" but that is not the same at all; and why would I want eggs from hens that are explicitly denied the protein that is part of their natural diet!? Only Whole Foods has eggs that are truly pasture raised, and even those are not always in stock. The farmers market I go to on Sundays is the only place to reliably get real, free-range eggs.

1
8ce2e69af79dcb1488f776efc1c54052

on November 17, 2010
at 07:10 PM

Check out Whole9's recent blog on eggs -http://whole9life.com/2010/11/the-conscientious-omnivore-eggs/

1
Ce0b5fd94b1034e96cf710b6f138c29d

on March 02, 2010
at 12:47 PM

There weren't any battery cages stuffed full of de-beaked, highly inbred layer chickens sitting around the Ice Age tundra waiting for industrial, antibiotic and steroid-laced chicken feed to be dispensed to them, that's for sure. I'd go so far as to say that any eggs that aren't free-range aren't very Paleo (in the diet/lifestyle sense).

Chickens are neolithic; we only started domesticating them 10,000 years ago, and we've bred them hard for egg size ever since. But I'd think that they're an adequate substitute for grouse and other fowl if you can't hunt your own.

1
95ab15c8ef50ff0daf87ccbdd52cd3b8

(2384)

on March 02, 2010
at 11:31 AM

There are many, many worse things one could eat than factory-farmed eggs, but yeah, pastured ones are a lot better. More O3s, better flavor, and happier chickens. Look around for a local source, either a nearby farm or via a farmers' market... you will be very happily surprised by the difference.

0
C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on March 25, 2010
at 10:32 AM

I used to keep my own chickens. I fed them twice a day with chicken feed but they were also free to scratch through the garden and ate plenty of insects etc plus they had the kitchen compost (peelings, etc). I'd be wary of eggs with bright yellow yolks - you might feel they are better but actually you only get really bright yellow yolks when you feed them corn (maize). Chickens do not lay in the winter - something to do with hours of daylight. If you are buying free-range eggs in the winter - well they're not. They may have access to outside but they must be kept under artificial light for quite a large portion of each day to get them to lay. The paleo answer would be to only eat eggs in the summer but for most of us eggs are too important a source of protein and fat I suppose. However if we want to argue with the vegans and vegetarians that our diet is sustainable and justifiable we should really only eat food grown locally, cruelty-free, free-range, organic and seasonal. That's the ideal to aim for - whether it is achievable where you are is another matter.

Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 26, 2010
at 03:10 PM

In the summer, the eggs I buy from the farm have almost orange yolks. These chickens are not fed corn. They are totally free-roam. So where does that color come from? The farmer says that they have marigolds all over the property and the chickens eat them. Is he telling me the truth? I've been to his place and done business with him for years.

535633b57c4a4940d1e913e7a12ee791

(1013)

on April 12, 2011
at 12:58 AM

the healthy, true free range eggs will have orange yolks, I doubt it has anything to do with marigolds.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on April 12, 2011
at 12:47 AM

be wary of bright yellow yolks? really? cause I get different colored eggs from the same farmer and the light green ones always have darker and slightly tastier yolks than the brown ones.

0
A480640a53eb5dc8966f49141942f705

on March 25, 2010
at 03:45 AM

Things get even weirder in Singapore: the majority of eggs on the shelf are advertised as "30% less cholesterol, with more Omega 6!"

6d69b9d6a4913823db9096f6d229f668

(30)

on April 26, 2011
at 04:26 PM

Bad bad bad. Guess they haven't caught onto the fact that omega 3 is what we lack. Maybe playing the public for stupid.

0
Be4b60059db3511771303de1613ecb67

(1137)

on March 02, 2010
at 12:43 PM

In addition to what everyone mentioned about nutrition, there's the cruelty factor in CAFO chicken "factories."

And as Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms says - he lets chickens be chickens - to freely scratch around. The idealist in me can't help but think that chickens happily doing what they do best produce superior eggs.

9c215d66a663fbae3a16cf5515889d7f

(260)

on November 15, 2010
at 05:32 PM

I live close to Polyface, so I've started going out there every few weeks. When I was out there a few weeks ago I hiked over to see the cows. Sure enough, the portable chicken house was in with the cows. It was pretty cool watching them running around under the cows.

0
5ebeec76e20738d0a17cd724d64b1e0f

on March 02, 2010
at 05:44 AM

The same thing happens to chickens and their eggs as happens to humans (and cattle, for that matter) when you feed them grain: they have more omega-6 fat.

Less O-6 and more O-3 is an important reason to eat pastured eggs and meat (though not the only reason).

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