A guide to eating healthy eggs 98



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Eggs can become a confusing subject. Should we eat them? Some studies have shown that there is no evidence of any association between egg consumption (up to two a day) and the risk of coronary heart disease or stroke in healthy men or women. Then there are other studies which claim that eating even an egg a week increases your chances of having a heart attack.

I think that it all boils down to the quality of eggs that we eat and of course in moderation, about 4 a week. So here goes… what really matters when it comes to buying healthy, nutritious eggs? They do say that first came the grass, then the chicken and then the egg.

When it comes to eggs, it turns out that the grass holds significant importance as it has more to do with both the health of the chicken which lays the eggs and the nutrients we receive from those eggs.

In order to help you make more informed choices when it comes to buying eggs, here’s some information that explains the differences between “organic,” “free-range,” or “cage-free,” and “pastured eggs” in hopes of clearing up any confusion you might have when looking at labels.

In Cyprus we don’t get “pastured eggs” unless you have access to someone who lives in a village and has hens running around their plot of land or you have your own hens.


Conventionally produced eggs are usually from hens in cages or in large houses.

The caged layer houses are highly mechanized, and the eggs gently roll out of the cages and are carried by conveyor belts to a central area where they are washed, graded, candled and packaged. Many people are concerned about the crowding of the hens in this type system as well as waste management.


Hens that are considered “free-range” are generally raised in a permanent shelter where they sleep at night and lay their eggs, but are allowed to freely go in and out at will.

USDA definitions allow ‘free range’ hens to be raised in large houses, with access to a small (20×20) concrete outdoor area. These free-range hens do not have access to grass and only a few actually use this outdoor area due to their social restrictions.


Organic eggs are from hens fed a diet of organic grains. However, they may or may not be cage-free or pastured, so read labels carefully.


Pastured eggs are those eggs from hens raised out on green pasture. Eggs from pastured hens have been shown to be two to 10 times more nutritious than the eggs from caged layers.

In a study published by Mother Earth News in November 2007 that showed that pastured eggs contain the following when compared to conventional eggs:

• 1/3 less cholesterol

• 1/4 less saturated fat

• 2/3 more vitamin A

• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids

• 3 times more vitamin E

• 7 times more beta carotene


Do you eat eggs often? What type do you usually buy? What is the most important factor in your egg purchase?

Barbara Karafokas

Barbara Karafokas (barbarakarafokas.com) is a qualified nutritionist, and a health, nutrition and wellness consultant. She inspires others to celebrate and love life by creating healthier eating and lifestyle habits and attitudes for life! Barbara lives on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. She brings a blend of skills to her practice and teaching. For over twelve years she has been committed to creating awareness about the hidden dangers to health. Barbara is also the author of The Med Life Diet (themedlifediet.com), a beginner’s guide to creating healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life!

  1. My chooks like to keep me guessing where they have laid this time. Often the clucking is the only clue I’m given. Guess they are “pastured”.

  2. I have to buy the cheapest ones around, usually from the supermarket as on a tight budget.

  3. who and what makes Starts at 60 an ‘Eggspert” in recommending that 4 eggs a week are OK, and secondly could you not find some Australian guidelines instead of using American USDA guidelines.Mother Earth News another American publication surely you can research some local information!!!

    2 REPLY
    • Surely Starts at Sixty aren’t the creators of this article, which was written by nutritionist Barbara, a freelance amateur writer like most of the rest of us. Her opinions may or may not be agreed with by SaS, but it’s always interesting to hear other points of view, even if one doesn’t necessarily agree.

    • totally agree John! But then, I have just found “Starts at 60” and at 64, I think I will decide for myself, rather than be guided by dogma.

  4. I have bought free range eggs for a long time thinking it was best for the chooks and me. Wrong again! Do we have pastured eggs in Australia? When are we going to stop stuffing around with our food and return to natures way?

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  5. Outdated article…food guide lines have changed…eggs are no longer a demon and you can and should eat as many as you like. Very healthy Nd good for you and do not cause any health problems

  6. Free range is not happy grass & dirt scratching hens. Often jammed into sheds, pecking each other with no room to move. Some r debeaked too. Awful.

  7. I’ve heard of terrible things about the treatment of chooks, makes me shudder, I buy eggs that have stamped on the box accredited egg association they are about double the price so cost me about $6.00 a doz. I’m willing to pay that and will not buy the others. Some free range are not what they suggest they are.

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  8. We are so fortunate here in Central Queensland to have pastured eggs readily available from SilverDale Eggs. These chooks are out all day and take themselves off into their mobile he houses for the night. They are protected at all times by those big white dogs (forget their breed). This company is RSPCA recognised. I would NEVER buy cage eggs because I believe that stressed hens cannot lay wholesome eggs.

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