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Test results: Eggs

Marketplace tested six brands of eggs from a variety of farming methods, with samples sent for nutritional testing to an ISO 17025-certified lab in Mississauga, Ont., that specializes in nutritional analysis. We bought a small sample of eggs off store shelves in October 2015 at the end of pasture season, and experts say the nutrition could be different at different times of year.

Egg
100g
(2 eggs)
Cost
 
%
Protein
%
Fat
Cholesterol
mg
Ratio of
Omega
3/6 fats
Cal from
fat
Vit A
RE
Vit D
iU
Vit E
mg
A
Gray Ridge
Conventional
$3.69/
dozen
12.3 9.3 399 0.1/1.3 84
(136 total
calories)
160 116 2.6
B
Burnbrae
Organic
$5.49/
6 pack
12.3 9.3 402 0.1/2.2 84
(136 total
calories)
179 91.4 2.4
C
Burnbrae
Conventional
$3.69/
dozen
12.3 9.4 434 0.1/1.8 85
(138 total
calories)
156 91.0 1.4
D
Small Flock
(pasture)
$6.99/
dozen
12.2 9.2 448 0.1/1.7 83
(135 total
calories)
178 186 2.5
E
Organic
Meadow
(pasture)
$7.99/
dozen
12.3 9.1 485 0.2/2.0 82
(135 total
calories)
211 228 7.0
F
Gray Ridge
Free run
$5.89/
dozen
12.4 9.2 535 0.2/1.5

83
(136 total
calories)

190 122.6 6.0

* While there are very few studies focussed on the nutritional variances between different types of eggs, similar results have been found. Penn State University did a controlled study in 2010 and noted similar results to our test. Source

 

ANALYSIS

Christy Brissette, a registered dietitian from the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, was given the lab results blind, so she did not know which type of egg each sample was. We asked her to outline the differences that she found to be significant. Here are her findings:

“To help translate the 100 g values into numbers people can use, I would say the values are for 2 medium eggs (Medium eggs are at least 49 g but less than 56 g).

It was interesting that calories (136 kcal), protein (4 grams) fat (1.5 grams) and iron content was essentially the same between all eggs/100 grams. I would expect some variation based on what the hens are fed.  Smaller eggs mean fewer calories.

Overall, Egg E was more nutritious than the others. Egg F also stood out compared to the other eggs in terms of its fatty acid profile.

VITAMIN A
Egg E was highest in vitamin A, with 32% more vitamin A than eggs A and C. 100 grams (2 medium eggs) of Egg E provide 226 retinol equivalents (Re). Adults ages 19-70 years need 700-900 Res/day (so Egg E provides about 25-32% of the vitamin E most men and women need/day, respectively). Egg F was the runner up to Egg E for vitamin A content. 

VITAMIN D
Egg E had more than double the amount of vitamin D as Eggs B and C. Egg E (2 medium eggs) provides 38% of the vitamin D most people need in a day. Note to people eating only egg whites: the fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D are in the yolk!

VITAMIN E
Egg E was highest in vitamin E, an antioxidant, with 3-5 times more than most of the other eggs. Egg E (2 medium) provides nearly 50% of the vitamin E that most people need in day. Egg F had almost as much vitamin E as Egg E.

OMEGAS
Eggs E and F had double the amount of omega-3s as Eggs A, B, C and D. Eggs E and F also had the lowest ratios of omega-6s:omega-3s which is desirable as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Egg E has a ratio of 10:1 omega-6s to omega-3s while Egg F had a ratio of 7.5:1. Compare this to Egg B, which is more than double the ratio at 22:1. North American diets tend to have too high a ratio of omega-6s:3s which has been named as a potential factor in chronic disease risk. (See this for more details.)

Grass-fed animals have higher concentrations of fat-soluble vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Based on these findings, the hens who laid eggs E must have been organic eggs laid by pasture-raised hens. Research has found that hens that feed on vitamin E-rich grasses and legumes in pastures lay eggs that have ~200% higher levels of vitamin E than egg from conventionally-raised hens. In the case of your test results, the difference is even more significant: Eggs E and F have 3-5x the amount of vitamin E compared to the other eggs.

CHOLESTEROL
Egg E is the lowest in saturated fat, at 2.8% of calories. It's recommended we limit saturated fat in our diets to <7% of calories.
A note on eggs and cholesterol: trans fat and saturated fat have more of an impact on cholesterol in the blood than dietary cholesterol. For healthy people, an average of 1 egg/day will not impact cholesterol as per The Heart and Stroke Foundation. For people with type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol, you may need to limit eggs. Talk to your health care provider. (Read more here.)