Egg Myths and Misconception

Eggs - Myths & Misconceptions

This is the second in a three post series on the “Incredible, edible EGG”. In part one, we took a tour of the grocery store and deciphered just what all those different labels on the egg cartons mean. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Today we’re going to look at a couple of common misconceptions surrounding eggs.


A common misconception is that brown shelled eggs are healthier or more natural than their white shelled counterparts. The truth is that shell colour has nothing to do with nutrition, but is simply dictated by the breed of hen that laid that egg.

Who else just found out today that chickens have ear lobes?!

Consuming Eggs Will Raise Your Cholesterol Level

Eggs have gotten a bad wrap because of the cholesterol contained in their yolks. Many people have been led to believe that eggs should be avoided, or strictly limited, particularly if you have high cholesterol levels. 

Cholesterol is often seen as a “bad guy”. In actuality, cholesterol plays a vital role in our health. We need cholesterol to make healthy cell membranes. It is also necessary for the production of steroid hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. Cholesterol is also the main building block for Vitamin D (for more about the importance of adequate Vitamin D, check out this blog post).

Because of all the important roles played by cholesterol, the body works to ensure that there is always adequate cholesterol present. Cholesterol is produced in the body by the liver. When we take in more cholesterol through our diet, the liver decreases the amount of cholesterol it produces to keep levels within normal range. If we are eating less cholesterol, the liver revs up the cholesterol making machine. When we understand this, we can see that a healthy body will maintain fairly consistent cholesterol levels. The source of the cholesterol (dietary or self-made) may change, but the levels remain fairly constant.

In short, consuming eggs regularly does not impact blood cholesterol levels to any significant degree. (1)

Ok – if all that is true, how come my cholesterol levels are high?

You may be surprised to hear that cholesterol is a healing agent in the body and acts as an antioxidant. So when our cholesterol levels are high, it means that the body is recruiting this healing cholesterol to try and deal with some kind of inflammation or damage. Identifying and removing the cause of this inflammation (say by working with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) should be the goal, instead of immediately attacking the cholesterol levels with pharmaceuticals.(2)

I could go on and on about cholesterol and it’s role in keeping us healthy. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend the book Put Your Heart In Your Mouth by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride.

In the last post of this three part “Eggstavaganza”, we are finally going to dig into the nutrient value of the humble egg. Stay tuned!


  1. Kim, J.E.; Campbell, W.W. Dietary Cholesterol Contained in Whole Eggs Is Not Well Absorbed and Does Not Acutely Affect Plasma Total Cholesterol Concentration in Men and Women: Results from 2 Randomized Controlled Crossover Studies. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1272.
  2. Campbell-McBride MD, N. (2016). Put Your Heart In Your Mouth. Mediform Publishing.

Eggs – A Carton of Confusion?

Eggs - A Carton of Confusion?

Eggs are undoubtedly one of my favourite foods. They are quick and easy to prepare, super versatile and pretty darn cost effective too! But head into any grocery store and you’ll be confronted with the “WALL OF EGGS”. Natural, cage free, free range, pasture raised – suddenly the simple egg got a lot more complicated! Are the 5.99/dozen eggs really better for me than the 3.99/dozen brand? What’s the difference between cage free and free range? Let’s “crack” the code on this once and for all!


If the wide variety of terms on those cartons has got you confused, use the list I’ve created below to identify which terms have clout and which are just marketing fluff.

Regular (No Special Label)

Eggs without any other qualifying label on them are generally laid by hens fed a conventional, vegetarian diet. The hens are often caged or kept indoors without access to natural light or the outdoors. As they are kept in close quarters, they may also be debeaked to prevent them from pecking each other.

Natural/All Natural

These are purely marketing terms meant to trick the purchaser into thinking they are buying a superior product. There is no certification or verification needed to use these terms. Hens are likely fed and raised in the same conditions as those producing “regular” eggs.

Farm Fresh

Sounds great, but here is another term that has no regulation.  These eggs can come from large industrial facilities and caged hens.

Free Range

Finally, a label with meaning! To use the “Free Range” label, producers must prove that the hens have been allowed access to the outdoors for at least 51% of their lives. BUT – and it’s a big but…there is no regulation regarding either the type or size of outdoor space. They could have access to dirt, a cement covered patio or pasture. As there is no regulation with regards to the size of the outdoor space, overcrowding is not uncommon and de-beaking is permitted.

No Antibiotics Added

This is another sneaky label. Producers are not allowed to sell eggs from hens treated with antibiotics and must wait a specified period of time after treatment is complete before they can sell the hen’s wares. In short, ALL eggs are antibiotic free.

Certified Organic

Organic eggs are laid by hens who are fed organic feed (free of pesticides and chemicals). There is no regulation as to how they are housed or the amount of outdoor access they have and, again, de-beaking is allowed.


Hens are fed a vegetarian diet higher in Omega-3 fatty acids. This is often accomplished by adding flax seed to the diet. Again, there is no regulation as far as housing of the hens.

Cage Free

Hens are raised without cages, but this does not mean they have access to the outdoors. Often they are kept in large warehouses and in crowded conditions. Beak trimming is permitted.

Vegetarian Fed

Well, for starters, chickens are omnivores. Their natural diet would include protein from insects and worms, along with nutrients found in grasses. Vegetarian feed contains no animal products and would derive it’s protein from vegetarian sources, like soybeans. So really, a solely vegetarian diet is not a chicken’s natural diet.

Pasture Raised

This term implies that the hens are allowed full access to the outdoors to meander around the pastures are able to forage around for those bugs and grubs that are part of their natural diet. This isn’t a legal or regulated definition, so you want to do your homework to ensure the producer’s claim of pasture raised is accurate! Some companies, like Vital Farms, print the name of the farm where the eggs were produced on their cartons. You can go to their website and search for the farm to see the chickens in their pasture. Another great way to do ensure you are getting what you paid for is to get your eggs directly from the farmer!

Budget is always going to be a factor when we are filling our grocery cart, but how the animals are raised and fed should also hold some weight. In my next post in the series, I’ll discuss a couple of eggy myths and misconceptions before I dive into my final post on whether or not eggs are a valuable part of a nutrient dense, whole foods diet (spoiler alert…heck yes they are!).


Dessy, M. (2017). The Pantry Principle.Versadia Press 

Food Labels Exposed [Booklet]. (2018). N.P.:A Greener World


It’s been a minute since I’ve had time to sit down and get some thoughts down on this digital paper! I enjoy writing, but it can take me a LOOOOONG time to figure out how to organize all the thoughts in my head into something that other people might want to read! Summer – especially the delicious, but oh so short, summers we get here in the PNW – was NOT the time to be labouring over a keyboard. Instead, I spent a tonne of time with visiting family, played outside, tended my garden (more on that fiasco later) and even managed a short getaway to camp and enjoy some outdoor concerts! But all good things must come to an end. Don’t get me wrong, I love Autumn! The fall colors, the crisp air…the lack of screaming children in the grocery store when I run my errands….blissful. Autumn is also a time to reset and get back to your regularly scheduled programming, if you will. For me, this means I’m getting back to the gym regularly, refocusing on building my business, meal planning and ensuring that the fridge is stocked with nutrient dense, whole foods.  (After all the company we’ve had, it also means I should be doing a full house clean – but there are plenty of rainy days in my future for THAT!)

5 Tips For a Healthier Grocery Shop


1.  Is it a WHOLE food?

When I talk about stocking up on WHOLE food, I mean just that. Foods in their whole, unadulterated form – packaged just as Mother Nature intended. The food item should BE the ingredient, not be made up of ingredients. She is a smart cookie, that Mother Nature, creating foods that are balanced with the nutrients required for their use in the body! Take fruit, for example, yes it contains sugar in the form of fructose, but it also contains fiber (which can slow the sugar’s absorption) and minerals to aid in its metabolism or use in the body . The same can’t be said for that can of soda! 

2. Think Variety

Variety is the spice of life! We want to be eating a broad range of foods. In a Standard American Diet, approximately 60% of calories come from just 3 foods – soy, corn and wheat.  Seems unbelievable, but check out this article from the Center for Advanced Medicine for an explanation of how this has occurred. Our bodies need a much more diverse range of nutrients. Try to “eat the rainbow” in the produce section and get as many colours on your plate as possible. More colours equals more nutrients!  Think outside the box – organ meat is some of the MOST nutrient dense food out there. It can be daunting to try ingredients that you’ve never used before, but changing it up can make mealtimes a bit more exciting and ensure that you don’t get stuck in a nutrient rut.  Challenge yourself to try something new!  I won’t judge you if you start with eggplant over beef liver!

3. Think Seasonally

Our ancestors didn’t have access to asparagus for twelve months of the year. Foods were only available for short periods of time. Eating seasonally is a great way to get diversity into your diet and ensure a broad range of nutrients which changes frequently and benefits your health and well being. Eating with the seasons can also prevent overconsumption of foods, which can lead to food sensitivities. Another great reason to eat seasonally is that, generally, the food has not been stored as long and will be more nutrient rich! There are great lists you can find online (like the one I provided below) to help you determine what is “in season”.

4. Think Locally

Sure, if you live in the middle of Canada in December, there isn’t going to be a plethora of fresh, local veg at your market.  Local snow cones, however, would NOT be an issue.  As much as you can, whenever you can – eat local.  Farmers Markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) boxes, your own garden (I managed to get a good crop of radishes this year, the rest ended up in the bellies of our neighbourhood wildlife) – food is fresher and more nutrient dense because it was literally JUST harvested and doesn’t travel long distances (therefore there is less risk of contamination and it’s also better environmentally) .  Plus it’s also going to be in season (see point #3)!  Eating locally also helps support those local farmers who work so hard to provide delicious and nutritious food for us!

Eat local when you can!  

5. Think Quality

I get it, organic produce is expensive and, not for nothing, looks pretty much exactly like its cheaper, conventional cousin.  So what’s the difference?  Although different countries have different regulations around the term “organic”, in the U.S., certified organic means there are annual audits to ensure the following standards are met: 

– No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

– No antibiotics or hormones 

– No GMOs

Organic animal products are fed organic feed, but the term alone does not specify if an animal is grass-fed, grain-fed or pasture raised. 

There are many benefits to sourcing and eating organic, including limiting your exposure to toxins from pesticides and fertilizers.  Beyond just adding to the toxic load your body must deal with, these compounds can be potential carcinogens and/or endocrine disruptors.  Interestingly, pesticides, while they may “protect” the produce from insect damage, have also been shown to decrease the amount of phytonutrients or antioxidants the plant produces.  Phytonutrients are a plants own natural “bug repellent” and, when doused with chemical pesticides, the plants no longer get chewed on and have less need to create these compounds.  This makes the food less nutrient dense for us consumers!

But THE COST!!!  My advice? Do what you can with what you have.  I’d rather see someone chowing down on conventionally grown carrots than diving into a box of toaster strudels!  Follow the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists and choose your organic produce from those that may have the highest pesticide residue.  A final tip is to get to know your farmers!  Many smaller farms follow all the organic standards, but simply do not have the money to get “certified”.  Ask questions.  Any farmer worth his salt will be glad to chat with you about their product.

I hope this helps you get stocked up and ready to reset and take on the impending season change with ease and health!  It’s always bittersweet to bid farewell to summer, but I’m starting to dream about roasted root veggies, slow braises, soups and stews, pumpkin pie……