Before getting into the debate of whether the eggs are dairy or not, first, let’s have a look at what is dairy according to two most reliable sources.
The Cambridge English dictionary defines the dairy as a noun and says that;
“Foods that are made from milk, such as cream, butter, and cheese.”
Whereas on the other hand one of the most reliable fact source, Wikipedia states that;
“Dairy products, milk products or lacticinia are a type of food produced from or containing the milk of mammals, primarily cattle, water buffaloes, goats, sheep, camels, and humans. Dairy products include food items such as yogurt, cheese, and butter.”
So, this above authentic information clearly makes us to conclude that eggs don’t fall in the dairy category.
History and facts about eggs
There is a lack of proper historical information about the use of eggs as they have been used for so long. But eggs were depicted in many ancient works of art. Chickens are believed to have come from Southeast Asia and India to Egypt around 1500 B.C., then to Greece in 800 B.C. and then spread to other parts of the world from there. Also, historians agree that the chickens were domesticated due to the usefulness of their eggs.
Another interesting fact is that the egg carton was invented in 1911 by Joseph Coyle in British Columbia, he made it with paper to solve the problem between the farmers and the customers due to the frequent breakage of eggs.
Why are eggs often categorized as dairy?
All of you might be wondering where this belief about that eggs being dairy came from. Here is the answer. Most people group eggs and dairy together even though they are not related; the thing is that they do have two things in common like; they both are animal products and are high in protein. Another reason for the confusion is that vegans and some vegetarians avoid both egg and milk, as they are derived from animals.
Furthermore, in many countries, eggs are stored in the dairy aisle of grocery stores, which lead people to believe that they are related and another dumb reason could be because that both products come from animals and require refrigeration.
Why does this even matter?
The question of whether the eggs are dairy or not matters because many people with food allergies or intolerances such as milk or dairy allergy and lactose intolerance have to avoid categories like dairy, so it is very important to have a clear understanding of what's in the dairy category and what is not.
People with one or both of these above-mentioned conditions don't necessarily need to avoid eggs as they are free of milk proteins and lactose. Also, if you are hesitant about that does eggs have gluten in them or not then don’t worry, here is the happy news that eggs are gluten-free.
Why eggs are found in the dairy section?
You people may have thought about the answer to this question. Well, there are a number of reasons for this, the first is that this pattern comes from way back to the early days of the corner grocer. As they often came from the same farms or dealers, so it just made sense to place the products from the same source next to each other when they arrived, and from there, this pattern got developed. The other logical reason might be that as both dairy products and eggs require to be refrigerated, so they are co-located.
If eggs are not dairy, then what is their food group?
As it is clearly mentioned above that eggs, don’t come under dairy, so the question arises that where do they stand in food groups. We all know that eggs are a rich source of protein, so they lie in the protein foods group. The other foods, like meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds, are also measured to be a part of the protein foods group.
Nutrition in eggs
Eggs are considered to be one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. As they are rich in good-quality protein, fat, nutrients, and small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral that our body needs. In fact, eggs are one of the very few dietary sources of choline that is an essential nutrient for the body.
One large egg contains:
- Calories: 78
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Fat: 5 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Riboflavin: 20% of the DV
- Selenium: 28% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin B12: 23% of the DV
The hens that lay eggs either are nourished in a controlled environment for the eggs business or are free-range hens. So, you may want to know which hen eggs are better. Well, the eggs from free-range chickens are better because of an overall better nutritional profile.
Free-range eggs as compare to commercial hens contain:
- Beta-carotene: 7 times more
- Dietary cholesterol: ⅓ less
- Omega-3s: 200% more
- Saturated fat: ¼ less
- Salmonella contamination: 98% smaller risk
- Vitamin A: ⅔ more
- Vitamin E: 300% more
Benefits of Eggs
As it is clearly discussed above that eggs are rich with nutrition, so they have a lot of health benefits. The most researches are focused on chicken eggs because they are most commonly consumed variety of eggs. So, here is what these researches say about eggs benefits:
Good for Skin, Joints and Connective Tissues
Eggs contain a large amount of collagen; it’s a protein that helps build and strengthen skin, joints, and connective tissues. But remember that the egg collagen content changes when eggs are cooked, so it might be beneficial to take it in the form of supplement to get the full benefits of the collagen.
Good for Eyes
Eggs contain carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are well-known for protecting against eye issues like macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Reduce Risk of Diseases
Eggs contain a lot of nutrients that help to protect from a variety of diseases by reducing risk factors for heart, diabetes, and strokes. Researches show that consuming free-range eggs helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Aid for Liver
The choline in eggs has several incredible benefits for our body. The most important is that it reduces the risk of fatty liver disease.
Helps to Lose Weight
A lot of studies have resulted that eggs play a part in weight loss as they help you eat less because they make you to feel full, so they prevent from overeating. Another reason is that the lutein in eggs has a positive impact on activity level.
Dairy and Egg Allergies
Some people decide on not to consume dairy products and eggs due to food sensitivities, dietary restrictions, and ethical beliefs. However, individuals who suffer from milk allergies can generally eat eggs without experiencing the negative results associated with a dairy allergy.
A milk allergy refers to a reaction to the proteins found in a cow or in other mammals’ milk and other dairy products. The body’s immune system reacts to the milk proteins and then triggers a variety of allergy symptoms.
Milk and eggs both rank among the top ten food allergens. However, eliminating these items from the diet entirely can have significant nutritional impacts. It is best to use an elimination diet to figure out the exact reason for the allergy before avoiding both dairy and eggs at once. If you are unsure, then prefer to visit a doctor.
Eggs and lactose intolerance
Lactose intolerance concerns with the digestive system. It’s a condition in which the body does not make lactase, an enzyme that is needed to digest lactose, that is the sugar in milk. Instead of digesting in the stomach and small intestine the undigested lactose moves into colon, where it is broken down by bacteria and causes allergy symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, flatulence or gas, abdominal pain and cramps, intestinal bloating and borborygmi which is the gurgling sounds in the stomach.
The thing is, eggs are not dairy, so they don’t contain lactose or any milk protein. So they are safe lactose intolerants to consume.
Egg-free diest and dairy-free are also common in people without sensitivities. For instance, vegans generally eat foods that are not considered animal products, typically because of ethical and religious reasons. So, if you are a vegan and don’t consume eggs, then try to consume other foods that have nutrition as in eggs. If you want to make recipes that require eggs, you can use a lot of egg substitutes provided on the internet but try to avoid commercial egg substitutes.
- Eggs are not dairy, nor does they fall in the dairy category.
- They belong to the Protein foods group.
- They are rich in nutrients and have a lot of health benefits.
- People who are allergic to milk or dairy products can consume eggs if they don’t have an egg allergy.
- Eggs will not affect those who are lactose intolerant unless allergic to both.