A free range egg comes from a hen that is uncaged in a barn or warehouse and has access to the outdoors. These free range egg-producing hens also have the ability to engage in natural nesting and foraging behaviors, according to the Mayo Clinic. When it comes to nutritional quality of a traditional egg versus a free range egg, there is no difference, according to the American Dietetic Association.
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Serving Size and Calories
When trying to maintain a healthy weight by controlling portion sizes and calorie intake, it is important to pay attention to a food items serving size and calories per serving. Eggs make it easy, with one egg being equal to one serving. A large free range egg contains 70 calories. A whole egg is considered a higher-calorie, medium fat meat and contains about the same amount of calories as 1 oz. of prime rib or pork cutlet.
Eggs are a high-quality source of protein — they contain a significant amount of all of the essential amino acids. Your body needs a regular supply of protein to replace and renew the proteins being broken down in your cells, organs and muscles. Daily needs vary depending on your age and sex. Most healthy adult women need 46 g of protein per day and most healthy adult men need 56 g of protein per day. One large free range egg contains 6 g of protein.
Most of the fat in a free range egg is found in its yolk. One large free range egg contains 4.5 g of total fat and 1.5 g of saturated fat. As an animal protein, eggs are a source of saturated fat. High intakes of saturated fat increase your blood cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease. On a 2,000 calorie diet you should limit your daily saturated fat intake to less than 15.5 g per day.
One free range chicken egg contains 215 mg of cholesterol and is considered a high cholesterol food. Healthy people should limit their total cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day and people with high blood cholesterol levels should limit their intake to less than 200 mg a day. Like fat, most of the cholesterol can be found in the yolk of the chicken egg. To limit your cholesterol intake, use more egg whites and egg substitutes instead of the whole free range egg.
In addition to being a good source of protein, eggs also contain vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin B12. One large egg contains 270 IU of vitamin A, 40 IU of vitamin D and 0.45 mcg of vitamin B12. Vitamin A is necessary for immune and eye health. Vitamin D helps bone mineralization. Vitamin B12 plays a role in red blood cell formation.
- O Organics Grad A Large Brown Eggs: Nutrition Facts Label
- American Dietetic Association: Egg-citing New Options for Your Meal Plan
- MayoClinic.com: Free Range and Other Meat and Poultry Terms
- Stiebrs Farms: FAQ
- CDC: Nutrition for Everyone: Basics: Protein
- MayoClinic.com: Eggs: Are They Good or Bad for My Cholesterol