- Plant-based eggs, or egg substitutes made from plants rather than chickens, have been growing in popularity recently.
- This makes sense, considering that the egg industry—both chicken and egg production—has some pretty serious environmental problems associated with it, such as pollution, resource overuse and greenhouse gas emissions.
- But what about the nutrition of plant-based eggs versus regular eggs? Are they healthier? Can we recommend them to our clients?
- Let’s take a look at what these new products are all about and how they stack up against regular eggs in terms of taste and nutrition.
Deciphering Nutritional Information
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how to eat healthily, and sorting it all out can be confusing. One expert may tell you that eggs are terrible for your heart, while another says they’re perfectly healthy.
Both of these statements are true—if you consume them in large amounts every day (which would be unhealthy).
The issue is that not all foods work in excess and many nutrients get a bad rap due to their link with diseases like diabetes or cancer, when often they are simply consumed alongside these ailments.
So how do you make sense of it all? Start by getting familiar with nutritional labelling. Study up on what different symbols and numbers mean—they’re not just there to look pretty!
Nutrients at a Glance
It’s no secret that eating eggs regularly is an important component of any healthy diet, but what are you actually getting when you consume those yolks? Most people will tell you it’s protein—and they wouldn’t be wrong.
However, according to recent nutritional analyses, it turns out that consuming chicken eggs on a regular basis could also make your body work harder to digest certain vitamins and minerals.
It takes more of some nutrients to get your body where it needs to be when it comes from chicken eggs than if you consumed similar amounts in other foods.
Protein – Before vs. After Eggs
For every 100g serving of eggs, you’ll get 12.5g of protein. That’s nearly 40% of your daily recommended intake. For example, a large egg has 6g protein while a cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt (the most popular brand) has 20 grams per serving.
Even just removing two eggs a day could potentially double or triple your consumption of protein without any additional effort on your part.
If you’re trying to lose weight and build muscle, it’s important to track how much protein you’re getting each day to ensure that you are consuming enough to support growth and repair—but not so much that it leaves little room in your diet for healthier, high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables.
Cholesterol – Before vs. After Eggs
To be clear, not all cholesterol is bad—healthy levels of good cholesterol (HDL) are important for cardiovascular health and can help keep arteries clean.
However, studies show eating egg yolks may increase both your LDL (bad) cholesterol and your overall dietary intake of cholesterol.
This may not be an issue if you have normal or low levels of LDL; however, many people do not have healthy levels of LDL or it is considered borderline high, meaning they could increase their risk of heart disease.
Fats – Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated Fatty Acids before vs. after eggs
Fats are an essential part of a well-balanced diet, and some sources are better than others. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are generally considered healthy alternatives to saturated fats.
However, trans fat is found in margarine and vegetable shortening, making it less desirable than other types of fat. Find out what type of eggs have which kind of fats and what that might mean for your health.
Carbohydrates – Before vs. After eggs
According to WebMD, most eggs contain about 6g of carbohydrates per egg (raw). This may not seem like a lot, but if you eat two or three eggs in one sitting, it can add up quickly.
For example, a breakfast of two hardboiled eggs with 2 slices of toast equals 8g of carbs—considerably more than your morning yogurt.
Furthermore, there’s some evidence that eating high amounts of carbs every day—particularly refined ones like those found in white bread and table sugar—may lead to changes in metabolism that make it harder to keep weight off.
Fiber – Before vs. After eggs
In most cases, plant-based eggs are low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol. While you would expect an egg substitute made from plants to be loaded with carbohydrates (given that it’s usually derived from starch), many products on today’s market have a remarkably low glycemic index.
Foods with a low GI are absorbed slowly into your bloodstream and tend to keep you feeling fuller longer—making them ideal if you’re trying to lose weight or cut back on sugar cravings.
Unlike traditional eggs, many of these substitutes also contain healthy unsaturated fats and plenty of fiber. So go ahead: Treat yourself!
Sugars – Before vs. After eggs
The egg yolk contains most of an egg’s saturated fat, which comes from a specific type of fat called cholesterol. One large egg contains 186 milligrams of cholesterol, or 29 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Saturated fats have been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in some studies (though evidence is mixed). The yolk also contains plenty of sugar — about 2 grams per yolk.
Eggs get such a bad rap for being high in cholesterol, but we don’t talk about how bad they are [for you] when it comes to sugar, Andrews said. She suggests limiting your consumption to two eggs per week.
Minerals like Sodium, Potassium etc. – Before vs. After eggs
One thing to be aware of when deciding on which eggs to buy is that there are differences in the nutritional values from brand to brand. Some brands have more potassium and sodium (something your body needs) and some have less.
So if you’re paying close attention to what you’re eating, it might be a good idea to buy a brand that has less sodium so you can make sure it doesn’t exceed your daily intake.
It all depends on how much you want or don’t want salt but I would recommend looking at both options before making a decision.
Vitamins like Vitamin B12, Vitamin E etc. – Before vs. After eggs
The claim made by plant-based eggs is that they can help provide you with vital nutrients. But, just how much truth is there to that claim?
To begin with, let’s examine egg yolks vs. egg substitutes when it comes to vitamins such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin E. For example, an Eggland’s Best egg contains 6% of your daily value of Vitamin B12, while a vegan egg substitute made by Follow Your Heart has 0% of your daily value of Vitamin B12. What about Vitamin E?