Confession: I used to eat Egg Beaters. All the time.
Why? Because eggs are filled with saturated fat and cholesterol. Saturated fat clogs your arteries, and cholesterol gives you heart attacks. (Right? Wrong.) But mostly, I ate Egg Beaters because I KNEW that eating even ONE REAL EGG would negate the benefit of BOTH of the spin classes I went to that day. (5:30 AM at the Sylvester Powell Community Center, and 6PM at 24 Hour Fitness. Not kidding.)
Race you to the top of the hill (name that quote).
Yet since I gave up my love affair with chronic cardio and processed, branded, unnatural substitutes for the “real thing” – whether we’re talking REAL grass-fed beef instead of veggie burgers, REAL heritage turkey (preferably the leg, with skin) instead of Tofurkey, REAL bacon instead of turkey bacon (which is. not. bacon), or REAL eggs instead of an “egg substitute” – I’ve actually enjoyed a much more stable existence. My weight has been stable, my mood has been stable, and my appetite has been stable too.
CONCLUSION: this processed-food-masquerading-as-healthy thing is a TRICK. An illusion, if you will. (Illusions, Michael.) And not a very good one.
So let’s have some REAL talk about fake food.
Here are 5 reasons REAL EGGS beat “Egg Beaters.”
Note: when I talk about “real eggs,” I’m not talking about eggs from sad, beaten-down, factory-farmed hens. I’m talking about REAL real eggs – the ones from pasture-raised chickens who munch on everything they love to eat (chickens are NOT vegetarians). To find REAL real eggs, start here. To “make” your own, start here or here.
Why real eggs win, REASON #1:
REAL eggs DON’T cause clogged arteries or heart disease.
Hey, I hate to focus on the “don’t,” but let’s be real: most folks eat egg “substitutes” for fear of the yolk itself. But fear of egg yolks is SO 1984.
The tired old idea that eggs drive health risks due to their cholesterol and sat-fat content is a web of myths and lies that go back just a few decades – far LESS time than the thousands of years humans have eaten eggs in great health. (And those aren’t just the words of a Paleo-trumpeter. From this book: “eggs have been an important part of the human diet since the dawn of recorded history.”)
Bottom line is, eggs have a long history in human life. Heart disease, however, does not. The first heart attack on record occurred in the 1920s. In fact, as cholesterol and saturated fat consumption went down in the mid-20th century, and as they were replaced with highly-processed vegetable oils, the incidence of heart disease in the United States went UP.
Note: While the American Medical Association has been forced to admit that eggs ARE an acceptable addition to the diet (this article), they STILL insist on acting all whole-grain-waffle-y about cholesterol. Why? Because the American Medical Association is build on a foundation of lies that float atop a sea of vegetable oil. I touch on the AMA’s shady history in my book.
Unfortunately, most medical education standards don’t seem to be “up” with a preponderance of the published research or well-referenced source material, even though it’s been around for nearly as long as the myths themselves. There’s also that eensy-beensy issue of how studies are constructed and what they actually prove (or, more often than not, don’t prove): read my book (or listen to it) for far more on this topic than you thought you cared to handle.
Why real eggs win, REASON #2:
Egg yolks contain critical, natural nutrition worth celebrating. Egg Beaters aren’t even worth their weight in confetti.
Our food isn’t just calories (despite what The Biggest Loser would have us believe). Food is nourishment, and nourishment is all about the nutrients that come with the calories we eat. Naturally.
The amazing, wonderful, miraculous, parade-worthy thing about eggs is the incredible nutrition that’s packed into the yolk. Not only does the yolk contain the bulk of the egg’s bio-available B12, but it also contains choline, which is critical in pregnancy and supports the liver; pre-formed vitamin A, which is amazing for the skin; and biotin, which is critical for skin and hair health. The yolk is also rich in anti-oxidants like lutein and, yup, cholesterol (cholesterol IS an anti-oxidant, bee-tee-dubs). Cholesterol is also important for hormone function, and it’s a component of every single cell in our bodies. (Click here for more on cholesterol biochemistry. #Nerds)
Dr. Chris Masterjohn, who holds his PhD in Nutritional Sciences (concentration in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition) says this of the egg yolk:
“…the slew of nutrients in an egg yolk is so comprehensive that a few a day would offer better insurance than a multi-vitamin.“
Check out his post on the incredible egg – specifically, the egg yolk – here.
Egg Beaters, in contrast, only contain the nutrients that are added AFTER-THE-FACT from lord-knows-where. This is called “fortification,” and it doesn’t just make Egg Beaters a poor substitute for the Real Thing. It makes them a processed food. See the next item:
*Update: Dr. MasterJohn, or “Jam MasterJ,” as I like to call him, has just offered up THIS information and visual:
“In 1974, my boss, Fred Kummerow published a study in Pediatrics (HERE) wherein rats were fed either on real eggs or Egg Beaters. Both mothers and pups fed Egg Beaters developed diarrhea in one week and the pups diet three to four weeks after weaning. When rats fed eggs or Egg Beaters were gently washed, the ones fed Egg Beaters lost chunks of hair.”
Here’s the sickening visual:
Note that this study and this photo are decades old, and the product has been “Fortified” since that time. Fortified, of course, to make them more like real eggs. So…why not just eat the eggs?
Nevertheless, in my opinion, this is illustrative of the dangers of “messing with nature.”
As if I needed to go on…
Why real eggs win, REASON #3:
Eggs are a natural food. Egg Beaters are a processed food.
Anybody know where those isolated “fortification” nutrients come from? Some holding tank somewhere?
Most of us have actually SEEN a chicken (name that quote). From the time we’re five, most of us can map the journey of an egg from chicken to table – we can map the “unprocessed-ness” of this little nutrition powerhouse. Many folks are even starting to keep backyard chickens so they can literally be part of the un-process.
Yet, unless we had access to ConAgra’s nutrient “suppliers,” there’s not a single one of us who could replicate the process of Egg-Beater-making ourselves. (And if you can, I suggest you don’t.)
This isn’t some hippy-dippy…erm…natural fertilizer. In fact, it’s almost like nature created something awesome on purpose.
Straight from the horse’s mouth (or, the Egg Beaters website at time of this post’s publishing): “When you separate the yolk and use just the white of the egg, you lose important nutrients found in the yolk. Egg Beaters Original adds these nutrients back in…”
That just sounds silly to me. Also, quick question: do ACTUAL eggs suffer from a xanthan gum, guar gum, or “natural flavor” deficiency? And if not, why do we need them in Egg Beaters?
Clearly, making this product isn’t just about yanking out the yolk and rectifying the resulting nutritional crevasse:
INGREDIENTS (as of post publishing): Egg White, (99%). Less Than 1% Natural Flavor, Color (Includes Betacarotene), Spices, Salt, Onion Powder, Vegetable Gum, (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum). Vitamins And Minerals, Calcium Sulfate,Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E),Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, (Vitamin B12), Riboflavin, (Vitamin B2), Thiamin Mononitrate, (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3.
I do agree, however, that Egg Beaters has “Less than 1% natural flavor.” In fact, I’d argue it has NO natural flavor. Which leads me to the next point:
Why real eggs win, REASON #4:
Eggs taste delicious. Egg Beaters do not.
Eggs taste like rich, satisfying golden orbs from heaven. Egg beaters taste like dirty pillowcases.
Why real eggs win, REASON #5:
If you eat Egg Beaters, you will find yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Because, if you eat them, I will come after you with my egg-loving minions. And until you change your evil, egg-beating ways, we will force you to sit there and listen to my book, Eat the Yolks, on audiobook.
Actually, that’s not a bad idea.
I KNOW you’ve got even MORE reasons in your brain. Whatcha got? Oxidized cholesterol? Toxic single-use plastic “shell?” Let ’em rip in the comments!
Thanks for reading!