Those Expensive Eggs Might Be Worth It—If You Have the Right Ones

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A lot of factors come into play when you push a shopping cart around the grocery store. First of all—will your family eat it? If no one is ever going to take even one bite of those excellent canned sardines, it doesn’t matter how much calcium, selenium, Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids they have.

Then there’s quality. Blind comparisons at Serious Eats have established that Betty Crocker Instant Mashed Potatoes are markedly superior to Hungry Jack. So they say.

There’s also the question of whether you want to avoid GMO ingredients. And flavor preferences. I am personally certain that Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce is the only way to go. In fact, I am so certain of that, that I have never bought or tasted a competing brand. How’s that for objectivity?

But when it comes to ingredients that seem much the same from brand to brand—like eggs—is it worthwhile to pay more?

Honestly, the thought of chickens crowded in cages so small they can’t turn around is more than enough to keep me away from the brands known for their animal cruelty.  I’m not even going to mention some of the worst abuses because they are stomach turning. Let’s just say that for me there are reasons to avoid the cheapest eggs.

That doesn’t automatically mean the most expensive eggs are the best, however. I’ve tried top-dollar, cage-free, organic, small-farm eggs that turned out to be old and unworthy.  Organic foods protect you from exposure to pesticides, herbicides and growth hormones. They do not protect you from E. coli or other bacteria. That’s up to careful handling.

But what about those very pricey eggs that claim to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids?

This is a case where, if your budget has room, paying up is a good idea. For your health, a diet that is close to a 1:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids is best.

We don’t usually get that without making some effort because our diet is now tilted toward rich omega-6 foods and low in omega-3s. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average for Americans is about 4 ounces per week. Not enough.  The “average” also hides the fact that most of that consumption comes from just a portion of us. Only 10% of Americans get two or more servings of fish per week.

But they do eat a lot of things fried in vegetable oils, meats, and grains. Only canola oil or fish oils are high in omega-3.

Eggs that claim to be high in omega-3 fatty acids were raised to purposely achieve that. The hens were fed diets that include omega-3 sources like flaxseed or fish oil.

Now here is where it gets interesting. Different brands of omega-3 enriched eggs have different levels in the final product.  Research done by Nutrition Advance revealed these levels of omega 3 for different egg brands:

Organic Valley                   225 mg omega-3 per large egg

Christopher                        660 mg

4 Grain                               150 mg

Sauder’s Eggs                    325 mg

Eggland’s                           115 mg

Fresh & Easy                     160 mg

Gold Circle Farms             150 mg

Smart Balance                   192 mg

Now, you know that missives like this on health topics sometimes carry a caution: “This is not medical advice. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition.”

Good thing. Because I just realized I was buying the wrong brand. Hope we all learned something useful today. Yours in good health—Lynn.

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