Sunny side up, poached, boiled, scrambled — eggs are the world’s favorite breakfast. But how much do you really know about this nutritious food?
Join us as we explore the most compelling facts about eggs (and the most important statistics about their production, consumption, etc., worldwide) and find out!
Let’s dive into it!
Top 10 Interesting Facts About Eggs (Plus Statistics)
- A large cooked egg provides about 6.3 g of protein.
- It takes about 25 large eggs to provide 2,000 kcal.
- The color of chickens’ earlobes can predict the color of the egg.
- Eggs caused 77% of Salmonella infection outbreaks during the 70s and 80s.
- An egg shell can have up to 17,000 pores.
- The largest chicken egg in the world measures 9 in in diameter.
- Feral brooding hens turn their eggs 96 times a day.
- An average American ate a total of 286.5 eggs in 2020.
- Iowa was the largest US egg producer in 2021.
- The US produced a total of 9.48 billion eggs in 2021.
Eggs — Nutritional Facts
1. Egg protein is more digestible and absorbable in cooked eggs than in raw eggs.
(Egg Nutrition Center) (NCBI)
Research shows that protein digestibility in cooked eggs amounts to about 90.9% and only about 51.3% in raw eggs.
This is likely because of the structural changes that occur after cooking. Additionally, raw eggs contain enzymes that block trypsin, an enzyme responsible for breaking down protein. Heat might kill trypsin inhibitors, allowing for easier protein digestion.
2. A large cooked egg provides about 6.3 g of protein.
A small egg contains 4.79 g of protein, a medium egg provides 5.54 g of protein, while an extra-large egg and jumbo egg contain 7.06 g and 7.94 g of protein, respectively.
On the other hand, a raw egg contains only about 3.6 g of protein.
3. Eggs are naturally high in cholesterol.
The average amount of cholesterol in eggs amounts to about 186 mg per egg (large).
However, the type of cholesterol found in eggs doesn’t affect your cholesterol levels as dramatically as some other high-cholesterol food items that are also high in saturated fats and trans fats.
4. Egg whites contain no cholesterol.
All the cholesterol is contained in the yolk.
5. Eggs aren’t very caloric.
(Egg Info) (NHS)
Calories in eggs greatly depend on the preparation method. On average, a large egg contains about 80 kcal.
Theoretically speaking, it would take about 25 large eggs to reach the 2,000-kcal daily recommended calorie intake for women and about 31 large eggs to reach the 2,500-kcal daily recommended calorie intake for men.
6. 5 eggs‘ calories amount to about 400 kcal on average.
(Egg Info) (Global News) (Healthline)
This may not seem excessive if we take into consideration that a typical breakfast should amount to 300–400 kcal on average.
However, since eggs are high in cholesterol, it’s best to limit your intake of eggs to 1–2 per day (4–5 per week), especially if you struggle with high cholesterol or are at risk of heart disease.
Health Facts About Eggs
Eggs are healthy — we’re all aware of that. They’re full of vitamins and minerals beneficial for our body and its proper functioning.
So, now, let’s take a look at just the most compelling facts regarding eggs’ health benefits, the healthiest ways to eat them, as well as potential health risks related to this superfood.
7. The healthiest way to eat eggs is to poach or boil them first.
(Healthline) (Mayo Clinic)
Eggs cooked for a shorter duration on a lower heat (e.g., poached and boiled eggs) are the healthiest as they retain the most nutrients and are less prone to cholesterol oxidation.
Additionally, poached and boiled eggs don’t add unnecessary calories to your meal, as no cooking fats are used for their preparation.
Tip — If you want to avoid consuming cholesterol, the healthiest way to consume eggs is to consume egg whites only, as they contain no cholesterol.
8. Eggs are good for your vision.
This is one of the most important egg benefits, and it stems from eggs’ rich nutrient profile. Eggs contain vitamin A, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which help keep your eyes healthy and well-functioning:
- Vitamin A protects the eye’s surface.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin reduce your vulnerability to macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Zinc improves night vision.
9. Eggs caused 77% of Salmonella enterica infection outbreaks in the US in the 70s and 80s.
Contaminated egg shells were identified as the main culprit for Salmonella enterica infection in humans. The shells were internally contaminated via transovarial transmission in the laying hens.
Thankfully, Salmonella infection from eggs has declined sharply over the past two decades due to farm-based programs, refrigeration, and education of consumers about risks related to raw egg consumption.
10. Salmonella infection can be caused by external factors.
Besides transovarial transmission, some of the most common factors contributing to Salmonella in eggs include poor environmental hygiene, feed and water contamination, the presence of Salmonella-infected rodents, flies, beetles, etc.
11. Proper storage and preparation are key when it comes to keeping yourself safe from egg-related Salmonella infection.
This is one of the most well-known egg facts. Refrigerating eggs, that is, storing them at temperatures under 40°F, prevents the growth of Salmonella. You should also refrigerate cooked eggs and egg-containing foods one to two hours after preparation.
You should also cook eggs at a temperature of at least 160°F to eliminate all bacteria present in raw eggs (the yolk and the egg white should be firm).
If you need to use raw eggs (e.g., for tiramisu, Caesar salad dressing, or hollandaise sauce), you should opt for pasteurized eggs.
12. Eggs are sterilized before hitting the shelves in the US and several other countries.
Eggs are typically washed in hot, soapy water. Then they’re sprayed with a disinfectant.
13. Egg refrigeration is unnecessary in Europe.
It’s recommended that eggs are kept cool but not refrigerated. This is because Europeans rely on improved sanitation and hen vaccination to prevent the emergence and growth of Salmonella and other bacteria.
Fun Facts About Eggs
Did you know that brown eggs used to cost more because hens that lay them were bigger and required more feed? Or that hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs in the world? Or that young female ostriches can lay up to 130 eggs a year in farm conditions?
Let’s dive into these and other interesting, not-so-scientific, and scientific facts about eggs and learn more about this nutritious food.
14. Older eggs are easier to peel.
This is because the egg white becomes more acidic over time and, therefore, less likely to stick to the inner shell membrane.
This happens because the protective coat of the egg shell slowly wears off over time, making the egg’s surface more porous and prone to air absorption and carbon dioxide release.
Additionally, the egg white tends to shrink, creating more space between the eggshell and the membrane. Therefore, eggs 7–10 days old tend to be the easiest to peel cleanly.
15. An egg shell can have up to 17,000 pores.
(Exploratorium) (Scientific American)
The multitude of pores on the grainy egg shell made almost entirely of calcium carbonate allows air and moisture to get in and carbon dioxide to get out.
16. Likely the oldest globe of the New World was carved onto ostrich egg shells.
This is one of the little-known egg facts. This globe of unknown origin, dating back to the early 1500s, was discovered by a Belgian map collector Stefaan Missinne in 2012.
17. The vervain hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) lays the smallest eggs in the world.
(Guinness World Records)
Vervain hummingbird’s eggs measure under 0.39 in and weigh only about 0.01 oz.
18. The ostrich egg is the largest bird egg in the world.
(Save the Kiwi) (ScienceDirect)
An average ostrich egg is about 6 in long, 5 in wide, and weighs about 3.5 lbs (though its weight may vary from 2.4 lbs to over 4 lbs).
But ostrich egg is also the smallest egg in the world in terms of egg-to-body ratio. Its size amounts to only 2% of a female ostrich’s body weight.
19. Kiwis produce eggs with the highest egg-to-body ratio.
(Save the Kiwi) (Spanish Bird Guides)
Kiwi egg’s size amounts to a whopping 20% of the mother’s size. To put things into perspective, a full-term human baby is only 5% of its mother’s size.
Here are some more mind–blowing facts about eggs produced by this flightless bird. Kiwis lay only one egg per clutch (save for brown kiwi that can lay two eggs per clutch).
Kiwi eggs are edible, but their consumption is prohibited since the kiwi bird is listed as endangered.
20. Kiwi egg is 65% yolk.
(Save the Kiwi)
Yolk takes up much more space in the kiwi egg than in other birds’ eggs, whose yolk typically occupies about 35% of the egg.
21. World Egg Day is celebrated each year on the second Friday in October.
(International Egg Commission)
World egg day in 2021 was celebrated on October 8, and it marked the 25th anniversary of this egg-celebrating holiday established in 1966.
The celebration involved various activities from (social) media campaigns to festivals, egg art competitions, and slogan writing competitions.
22. The largest chicken egg in the world measures 9 in in diameter.
The egg laid by Harriet the hen in 2010 was three times the size of a regular chicken egg, measuring 4.5 in in length and weighing 5.7 oz. Surprisingly, Harriet wasn’t fed any special foods before producing the record-breaking egg.
Despite the fact that the egg was larger than the largest egg in the Guinness Book of Records (which was 6.8 in in diameter, 3.9 in long, and weighed 4.1 oz), the hen’s owner decided against registering the egg due to the high registering fees.
23. Egg yolk color depends on the hen’s diet.
This is one of the most interesting facts about eggs. Hens that feed on lush grass, certain legumes, dehydrated alfalfa, red cabbage, marigold petals, carrots, pumpkins, apricots, and leaves of most leafy plants tend to produce eggs with dark yellow or orange yolks.
This is because these plants are rich in beta-carotene and xanthophyll, which can give the yolk a darker color.
24. The color of chickens’ earlobes can predict the color of the egg.
(Hendrix Genetics) (McGill University)
Chickens with white earlobes produce white eggs, and those with red or dark earlobes typically lay brown eggs. Tinted eggs (a cross between white and brown eggs) come from chickens with pinkish earlobes or red earlobes with a white spot in the center.
Araucana chickens, which have unusual blue or pale green earlobes, lay pale green or bluish eggs.
This is one of our favorite egg facts and belongs to our list of top 5 facts about eggs.
25. High-producing backyard hens can lay up to 250 eggs a year.
Why not more? It takes 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg, and hens take a natural break from egg-laying in colder months each year for molting.
26. Feral brooding hens turn their eggs 96 times a day.
This is four times more often than in modern incubators that turn eggs only 24 times a day (once per hour). The high frequency of egg turning helps increase hatchability and reduce the risk of embryonic mortality and malposition.
Egg Consumption Statistics
We know that many people love eggs! But how much is many exactly? Let’s dive into the most recent statistics and find out!
27. China was the greatest egg consumer in 2019.
According to 2019 statistics on egg consumption by country, China’s egg consumption amounted to 20.8 kg per capita. It was closely followed by Mexico and Japan.
28. The UK consumed 13.5 billion eggs in 2020.
This translates to 202 eggs per capita and 37.1 million eggs per day.
29. Demand for eggs in England increased by 25–35% in 2020.
The increased demand for eggs can be ascribed to confinement measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
30. The US per capita egg consumption has increased by 14% in the past two decades.
Egg consumption in the US grew from 251 eggs per capita in 2000 to about 286 eggs per capita in 2020.
31. Americans preferred store-brand eggs in 2020.
According to the US Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), 204.9 million Americans chose store-brand eggs over other brands of eggs such as England’s Best (which were the top choice of 60.32 million buyers), Land O’ Lakes (19.4 million), etc.
32. Egg consumption per capita in the US amounted to 286.5 eggs in 2020.
(Statista) (The Washington Post)
This figure will likely increase to 288.1 by the end of 2022.
The reasons behind the increase in egg consumption are the fact that eggs are more affordable than meat, their unprocessed nature, and their ability to easily provide a feeling of fullness.
Egg Production — Stats and Facts
Interesting changes are taking place in egg production around the world.
So, let’s check them out!
33. The US hens produce about 200 million cases of shelled eggs a year.
Iowa, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California are the top five egg-producing states, and they account for about 50% of the total US egg production.
34. The US produced a total of 9.48 billion eggs in 2021.
The US hens produced 8.46 billion table eggs and 1.22 billion hatching eggs that year.
35. Iowa was the largest egg producer in the US in 2021.
According to egg statistics concerning production, Iowa alone produced a whopping 1.26 billion eggs in 2021. This translates to about 1.24 billion table eggs and 21.9 million hatching eggs.
36. The amount of cage-free hens in Iowa increased from 4% in 2010 to a whopping 28% in 2020.
Cage-free egg production is expected to increase in popularity in the following four years. Experts estimate the percentage of cage-free hens could rise to 70% by 2026.
37. Cal-Maine Foods, Rose Acre Farms, Versova Holdings, Hillandale Farms, and Daybreak Foods were the largest egg producers in the US in 2021.
According to egg statistics regarding egg production, Cal-Maine Foods has a 13%, Rose Acre Farms 8% market share in the egg industry, Versova Holdings 6%, Hillandale Farms 6%, and Daybreak Foods 4%.
38. Organic egg production accounted for 6.8% of the table egg layer flock in 2021 in the US.
(The Orange County Register)
In other words, 22.3 million hens were producing organic eggs in 2021.
39. There were 389.04 million laying hens in the US in 2020.
That’s almost 7% less than the previous year (when there were 391.77 million laying hens in the US).
40. Global egg production has increased by over 100% since 1990.
This is another one of the mind-blowing facts about eggs. Global egg production amounted to 35.07 million metric tons in 1990, gradually climbing to 86.67 million in 2020.
41. The UK produced 11.3 billion eggs in 2021.
It also imported 1.4 billion and exported 405 million eggs.
42. China produced 596.5 billion eggs in 2020.
This made it the largest egg producer in the world that year. It was followed by India (114.4 billion), Indonesia (112.1 billion), the US (111.6 billion), and Brazil (57.2 billion).
We hope you found our 25 (and more) interesting facts about eggs insightful and that they’ve helped you learn something new about this nutritious superfood that’s been used by humans for centuries.
Are eggs healthy?
Eggs are some of the most nutritious foods in the world.
They provide loads of nutrients, including:
- Good fats
- Various vitamins, including A, B2, B5, and B12
- All nine essential amino acids (valine, tryptophan, threonine, phenylalanine, methionine, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, and histidine), etc.
Are eggs a superfood?
Since they can provide you with virtually all vitamins and minerals you may need (as described above), eggs can be considered a superfood.
Are raw eggs healthy for you?
Eggs can be potentially beneficial even when raw. They’re a good source of various nutrients (e.g., vitamins, antioxidants, good fats, etc.).
However, raw eggs may be contaminated by Salmonella, a dangerous bacteria that causes stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
Additionally, excessive raw egg consumption may lead to vitamin B7 deficiency. This is because raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin (vitamin B7) and prevents its absorption in the small intestine.
But, for this to happen, you’d have to eat large amounts of raw eggs every day for some time.
How many eggs can I eat per day?
You can eat up to two eggs per day to maintain a healthy cholesterol intake level. If you want to avoid cholesterol altogether while still eating eggs, you can use only egg whites.
Is it safe to eat eggs every day?
The answer to this question may depend on your health profile and cholesterol levels.
You could eat eggs every day, provided you don’t exceed the daily limit of two eggs to avoid health complications.
Can you eat too many eggs?
Yes, you can.
Excessive egg consumption can lead to high cholesterol levels and an increased chance of heart disease, which is one of the well-known facts about eggs.
So, to avoid this, it’s best to limit your egg intake to 1–2 eggs a day (4–5 eggs a week).
- Egg Info
- Egg Info
- Global News
- Guinness World Records
- Helgi Library
- Hendrix Genetics
- Insider Monkey
- International Egg Commission
- International Egg Commission
- Iowa Egg Council
- Mayo Clinic
- McGill University
- Messenger News
- National Geographic
- Poultry World
- Save the Kiwi
- Save the Kiwi
- Scientific American
- Spanish Bird Guides
- Successful Farming
- The Orange County Register
- The Washington Post