Why vegan eggs are healthier for you and the planet

Whether you prefer scrambled eggs, hard boiled, over-fried or fried, eggs are often touted for their health benefits. This may be why Americans are eating more eggs than ever at an average of 300 eggs per person per year, according to reports. Washington Post. But are eggs as healthy as you think? There is new evidence that eggs are not healthy.

Unfortunately, our fascination with this breakfast staple has health, environmental, and ethical consequences. Which begs the question, “Is there an alternative to traditional eggs?” The answer is definitely yes: the vegan egg. Plant-based egg substitutes produced by companies like JUST Egg, Crackd, and Follow Your Heart are designed to imitate eggs in taste, texture and cooking ability.

Here’s how giving up poultry for vegan eggs is a healthier and more sustainable option for you and the planet.

Are vegan eggs healthy?

Compared to traditional eggs (especially factory-grown), vegan eggs are the clear winner in terms of health. Vegetarian eggs contain carbohydrates, plant proteins, and heart-healthy fats, while chicken eggs are high in cholesterol and saturated fats—two important contributors to heart disease. Also, regular eggs lead to higher levels of trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) — a toxic compound produced by the interaction between certain foods and gut microbes during digestion that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, according to a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Most vegan egg products are designed to be more nutritious and sustainable than regular eggs, according to a recent study published in food. Egg Alternative Products aim to provide healthy, cruelty-free egg alternatives to people with egg allergies and to promote a more sustainable vegetarian lifestyle.

Says Sarah Schlechter, a registered dietitian with Belly Bucket List.

Are vegan eggs sustainable?

The ingredients used to produce vegan eggs have a significantly lower environmental impact compared to conventional eggs. For example, JUST Eggs make their vegan eggs with mung beans, soybeans and turmeric, which contribute significantly to lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGEs) compared to chicken eggs. JUST Egg prides itself on mung bean is a highly sustainable plant food that has been used for thousands of years. Their liquid product of vegan eggs uses 98 percent less water, 83 percent less land, and emits 93 percent less carbon dioxide than conventional eggs.

The carbon footprint of a dozen eggs is 2.7 kilograms of CO2 equivalent and laying hens are a source of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, plant-based egg production uses less water than a single chicken egg, which is estimated to require about 63 gallons of water, according to the Water Education Foundation.

So what ingredients go into making a vegan egg? Well, it depends on the brand. “The ingredients vary depending on the brand of vegan eggs,” Schlechter explains. “For example, Follow Your Heart eggs use soy milk powder that’s sourced from soybeans while the JUST Egg uses mung protein. Also, there are other additives, like sodium and herbs, to create the delicious texture and texture of chicken eggs, and for coloring.”

Here is a macronutrient comparison between JUST Egg and chicken eggs, according to Veg FAQs:

Nutritional content only eggs chicken eggs
Energy (calories) 140 147
protein (g) 10 12.4
fat (g) 10
(0 saturated, 6 monounsaturated,
3 polyunsaturated)
10
(3.2 saturated, 3.6 monounsaturated, 1.8 polyunsaturated)
carbohydrates (grams) 2 1
fiber (grams) 0 0.8
sugars (grams) 0 0.2
Cholesterol (milligrams) 0 411

The calorie and macronutrient profiles are similar. Although it contains the same amount of fat, the JUST Egg contains no saturated fats and contains heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, plus it is cholesterol-free. However, chicken eggs contain more protein and fiber. However, if you want to protect your heart, vegan eggs are the safest bet.

What are the health benefits of vegan eggs?

Although vegan eggs are made with plant-based ingredients, they are still processed. Processed foods are stripped of nutritional value and pale in comparison to whole foods in terms of vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. Unless a vegan egg product is fortified, it lacks many nutrients found in chicken eggs, such as vitamins A, B, D, and E, potassium and choline. However, compared to traditional eggs, vegan eggs are more heart-healthy for the reasons mentioned above.

“Vegan eggs are low or cholesterol-free, which can build up with chicken eggs. This may also make vegan eggs an attractive option for those following a heart-healthy or low-cholesterol diet,” says Schlechter.

When baking, you can substitute a number of vegan alternatives with eggs. Here are nine alternatives to eggs that will make baked goods healthier.

Bottom line: vegan eggs are better for your heart and your environment

Although vegan eggs are processed and lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they are better for your heart health and more environmentally friendly and sustainable than their animal counterparts. Enjoy plant-based egg alternatives in moderation, but don’t make them a mainstay in your diet.

For more expert advice, visit The Beet’s health and nutrition articles.

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