Eggs - a Staple on a Low-Carb Diet

At one point eggs were villainized because it was thought that they raised cholesterol and caused health problems but that myth has been busted and we now know they’re extremely healthy.

Eggs - a Staple on a Low-Carb Diet
Photo by Erol Ahmed / Unsplash

As of this writing, I know eggs are a little pricey but in comparison to a lot of other foods, they’re still an inexpensive meal and a great source of quality food so to me it’s still worth paying the higher price. One tip for you, if you’re a member at Costco their eggs have been considerably less expensive than eggs at regular grocery stores so shop there if you can.

Now for the meat of the post. ;)

Eggs are healthy

At one point eggs were villainized because it was thought that they raised cholesterol and caused health problems but that myth has been busted and we now know they’re extremely healthy. In fact, eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat as they have a great balance of protein and fat with zero to one carb depending on the source you check for the nutrition facts. They also have important nutrients like choline, zinc, selenium, omega-3 fats, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, folate…so many great things! You can’t go wrong with eggs.

There are so many ways to eat eggs

Eggs are also very versatile and you can make them in a huge variety of ways! Some popular ways to eat them:

  • scrambled
  • fried - over easy, over medium or hard
  • soft, medium, or hard boiled
  • poached
  • egg salad
  • deviled eggs

And that list doesn’t include the many amazing dishes you can make with eggs as the main ingredient such as a omelets, frittatas, breakfast casserole, quiche, eggs benedict, breakfast burrito - with carb friendly options of course. ;) I’ve also shared a couple of recipes that include eggs like tuna boats and tortilla breakfast sandwiches.

How to pick the best eggs

When you’re shopping for eggs, there are a variety of choices available and sometimes it can be confusing and hard to know which kind is the best choice. I was reading the book Keto Diet for Dummies by Rami & Vicky Abrams and they had this fantastic chart in the book. We’ve been trying to buy good quality eggs for quite awhile now but this opened my eyes to help me realize that “cage free” and “free range” are not the same thing and are also not quite as good as they’d like you to believe. Check out the information they shared:

  • Omega-3 enriched: This term means that the chickens were fed a diet that was rich in omega-3s, often in the form of flaxseeds. Theoretically, this is a good thing, but it’s also important to know that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only regulates this term when there’s a complaint against a specific farm. You’ve likely never independently tested your eggs to see how much omega-3s you were getting, and that’s pretty typical. This term doesn’t communicate much because there are no real standards producers have to abide by in order to use it.
  • Vegetarian fed: This term is misleading. It conjures up images of happy chickens being fed a well-balanced diet filled with fresh vegetables and roughage, but this isn’t the case. The birds are typically fed a prepared mix of corn and soy, which are not the most nutritious of grains.
  • Cage-free: Yet another misleading term. This one makes you think of a sea of chickens in a field, free to come and go as they please, only coming inside to roost at night. Unfortunately, the industry takes this one very literally: Instead of packing chickens three-tight in cages, they can still pack them several-hundred tight in a room that can only hold several hundred chickens. Technically speaking, there are no cages, so they’re legally allowed to advertise this. As you can imagine, though, the reality is very disappointing when compared to your expectations of what this term meant.
  • Farm-fresh or natural: These terms have no formal definition, no explicit standards, and no one regulates them. In other words, they mean nothing, and eggs you see labeled this way could be the same eggs that you see two packages over for half the price.
  • Pasture-raised: This term has meaning. Chickens with this label are allowed to come and go from the outside to the barn. They can forage for worms and small insects, be more selective with their food choices, and get more exercise — all of which are good things when you’re making an egg in your body! This is the number one label we recommend you look for when buying eggs.
  • Free-range or free-roaming: This label is just slightly above cage-free in its standards. The birds are kept in large barns and have some freedom of movement; they usually have some access to outside. However, there are no regulations regarding the amount of time the birds are allowed outside, what kind of terrain they’re let free on, or any other of a number of crucial factors that directly impact the egg’s nutritional development.
  • Certified organic: The value of this label is debatable, but at least it’s well defined. The USDA requires that eggs with this label be laid by chickens who are antibiotic- and pesticide-free, fed an all-vegetarian diet, and have access to the outdoors. The outdoor time and environment are undefined, and a vegetarian diet isn’t the best for chickens — they’re omnivores, and a crucial source of protein for them is comprised of worms and bugs. However, at least you have some idea what you’re getting when you buy a certified organic carton of eggs.

I don’t know about you but I’m planning to try to buy pasture-raised eggs as much as possible now. I’ve been buying cage-free or free-range for quite awhile but didn’t realize what those definitions allowed. Sadly not every store has all the options but there are usually a couple of different options at least so you can choose the best of what’s available to you.

I can also definitely vouch for the fact that there IS a difference in these eggs. I’ve had just the regular, cheap eggs from the grocery store on hand before because that’s what I was able to find and then on the next trip to the store I found the higher quality eggs. When I would crack one of each next to each other in a bowl or pan, I could clearly see the difference in the two. The better quality eggs will have a yolk with a much bolder color - more of an orange color. The lower quality eggs have a yolk that’s usually a pale yellow color. The difference is all those nutrients mentioned above. And after eating the cheap ones and then switching to the better quality ones, I can taste the difference too. There’s much more flavor with better quality.

So if you haven’t incorporated eggs into your diet in a big way, I definitely recommend doing so. With all the different ways you can prepare them, you can even eat them more than once a day and not feel like you’re eating the same thing.