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 6 PM 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 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.
I even wrote a best-selling book about the smoke and mirrors of the health, Diet, and food industries. I’m biased, but I highly recommend it.
So let’s have some REAL talk about fake food.
Egg Beaters Vs. Eggs: 5 Reasons Why Real Eggs Win
Note: when I talk about “real eggs,” I’m not talking about eggs from sad, atrociously-treated, 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). Let’s vote with our dollars here, folks!
To find REAL real eggs at a farm local to you, start here. To “make” your own, start here.
What Are Egg Beaters?
Oh, you want the lowdown on egg beaters, do ya?
Egg Beaters are egg substitutes made solely from pasteurized egg whites. They are a popular choice for those seeking a low-calorie and low-cholesterol alternative to traditional eggs, as they contain zero fat and are lower in both calories and cholesterol. Additionally, products like Egg Beaters 100% egg whites are a good source of protein, making them a convenient option for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. They can be used in a variety of dishes, from omelets to baked goods, and are widely available in most grocery stores.
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 levels 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.”)
The 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. 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 built 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-weensy issue of how studies are constructed and what they 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
Farm Fresh Eggs Nutrition
Egg yolks contain critical, natural nutrition worth celebrating. A carton of egg beaters isn’t even worth its 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 antioxidants 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 Ph.D. 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 Nutrition
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 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 food 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 and egg beaters are processed food.
Does anybody know where those isolated “fortification” nutrients come from? Some holding tank somewhere?
Most of us have 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 the table – we can map the “unprocessed-ness” of this little nutrition powerhouse. Many folks are even starting to keep backyard chickens so they can 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. It’s almost like nature created something awesome on purpose.
Straight from the horse’s mouth (or, the Egg Beaters website at the 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?
Making this product isn’t just about yanking out the yolk and rectifying the resulting nutritional crevasse:
Egg Beaters Ingredients
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.” I’d argue it has NO natural flavor. This 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.
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!
So funny, as I read this post I was eating…no lie…3 pastured eggs cooked in Kerrygold butter in my grandmother’s cast iron pan. Seasoned with a little Himalayan crystal salt. And drinking the ginger lemon drink (which I am addicted to!) This meal will hold me for hours.
Thankfully I was never a fan of egg beaters, but it took a while to figure out the difference between all the different kinds of eggs out there. I used to think just because the carton said “cage free” it meant the chickens were outside running around eating bugs. Now that I know the truth, I am willing to spend a little extra time buying the BEST eggs for my family.
Great post….really appreciate all that you do!!
Supermarket jargon is WICKED confusing! Thanks for reading 🙂
Elizabeth, do you make your own ginger-lemon concentrate? Would love the recipe . Thanks!
What are the best kinf od eggs? I never know but obviously want to get the best for my money when local eggs from neighbors etc aren’t available.
I think any carton that says “pasture-raised” (Vital Farms is good) would work!
You mentioned it at the start, but I think it bears repeating. Can I suggest reason #6? Real eggs come from happy hens! Happy hens get sunshine, dig around in the dirt, eat bugs and worms and whatever they want outside.
If only my town allowed backyard chickens…
Amen! I must check if our next station is in a chicken-friendly town…it’s been in my plans to keep some cluckers, and how sad would it be to move with big chicken-keeping plans and be stymied by RULES?!
Yikes! Thank goodness I never tried any of those egg substitute things… I did throw an egg yolk down the drain once because “I only eat egg whites” and my mother in law nearly had a heart attack LOL!
Your mother in law sounds fabulous!
The only reason I need is egg whites taste gross, and I live for the creamy, rich egg yolk from pastured chickens. Thankfully, my family needed no convincing because my mom is convinced the 2 eggs/day she ate during pregnancy gave her a smart baby (she had severe morning sickness, but could get down eggs!).
Is this not disgusting beyond belief: http://hamptoncreekfoods.com/beyondeggs/
Ermagerd. Any website that lists “coagulation, emulsification, aeration, texture, mouthfeel and flavor” and expects one NOT to gag is out of their yolk-tossing mind.
“acting all whole-grain-waffle-y” has got to be the best description of conventional “wisdom” ever
I almost vomited when I saw the picture of the rats. Barf! How could anything be better than the REAL THING!?
Ick!! Thanks for posting this! I used to be one of those egg-beaters freaks as well and for all the reasons CW tells us eggs are bad. SO beyond glad that I enjoy my pastured eggs, yolk and all. My family still freaks out when they see me eating three whole eggs *gasp* for breakfast. “Aren’t you worried about cholesterol?!” *facepalm*
Hi Liz! I LOVE your blog and you have converted me over (slowly) to your ways… 🙂 I haven’t tried the No ‘Poo method yet, but I think that is my next adventure!! I am wondering if you can comment on this Canadian company. I have been using their lip balm which I LOVE. I noticed some of the shampoos contain wheat so obviously that’s a no go… But some of the other products may be okay? As well, can you comment on some of Aveda’s products hair and hair dyes?
Thanks! You are the greatest!
I forgot to say the company name- it is Scentuals.
Hey Laura! I wish I had enough time to look at every single product, but I really don’t 🙁 Scentuals seems legit, but I just had a quick glance. I would say to use your instinct – if an ingredient sounds like an industrial or unnecessary chemical, pass! A lot of extracts are used in natural skincare, and they have “weird” names, but they will usually also be followed by the “street” name (ie salvia officinalis (sage) extract) which is fine. Just keep checking those ingredients and you’ll get the hang of it! As far as Aveda, I am always a little disappointed in how MANY MANY MANY ingredients and compounds there are. It may be “naturally-derived,” but I think it’s usually WAY too much unnecessary “Stuff.” Keep reading those labels!
Thanks Liz! You’re wonderful! 🙂 Once I’m done using up my Aveda products, it is bye-bye to commercial products!
Absolutely love this post Liz! I’ve been a long time reader and fan of both you and Diane’s web/pod casts. This is such a great informative post (and hilarious). I especially love the “said no cell in your body ever” illustration haha. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading! Glad you like my little “Paint” illustration 😉
You can always work to have the law changed where you live to allow chickens. I did! Small town of 1800 (at the time, it’s now 3400) just 10 miles from a larger city of 150,000, changed the law about 10 years before we moved here. Well, it didn’t grow quite like they had planned, i suppose, but the no farm animals within city limits was still in effect. I went to an alderman’s meeting with a bunch of info about bigger cities that allow chickens, and the fact that I could see cows from my backyard, and got the law changed!! I now have 9 beautiful chickens and wonderfully yummy eggs!
This blows my mind! SO AWESOME! Way to go, Amy – inspiring!
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1) I totally agree. I try to inform those around me and they constantly argue about cholesterol and heart attacks blah blah blah.
2) I absolutely love that you included GOB in this post. Perfect example of a bad illusion 🙂
Newer studies suggest dietary cholesterol has only an incidental effect to cholesterol produced by the liver. Perhaps the first recorded heart attack was in the 1920s, but studies on preserved human remains from thousands of years ago show advanced coronary artery disease in most cultures (Egypt, Inuits, Inca, etc.) so heart disease has existed for millennia at least.
Your picture of the rats is misleading…..it does NOT apply for humans.
That’s because the egg beaters given to the rat baby were without nutrients other than protein and a little else of something….so there were issues, you need numerous vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. to be healthy. The baby rat did not get these good things from other sources…hence the hair issues.
Humans can take these nutrients from other meals or supplements. So they can get their nutrition from non- egg beater sources.
What you failed to mention is that pure egg beaters is close to 100 percent natural (it’s egg whites, processed or not) – gives first class proteins, and is a low calorie, low carb, zero cholesterol diet.
That works well for people who want to lose weight, and those with high cholesteral where you have lots of LDL (“bad cholesterol”).
A lot of us, diabetics and overweight folk, have livers that are less than efficient. Taking eggs is actually not good for such kinds because liver regulation and fat metabolism are poor.
Cholesterol is not itself bad….it’s the lipoproteins that form via it that you need to watch out for. For people with lots of LDL or poor ratios, low cholesterol diets may be needed due to liver/metabolism issues.
Diabetics need a low carb and high protein diet – carbs raised blood sugar/glucose while the kidney leaks protein.
So egg beaters are pretty good in such cases, more than eggs.
For a totally healthy person, even 2-3 large eggs a day (especially from grass-fed chickens, cage free) would be fine. For a lot of the sicker kinds, egg beaters works.
There is actually a NEED for both kinds of products, depending on health circumstances.
Good for you Shiv! I was waiting on a reply to those of us that have to keep our bad cholesterol down. Thanks!!
I love this! I have TOO many “friends” trying to make others “healthy” by consuming pills that supposedly contain RAW fruits and veggies (impossible) and shakes made from whole food nutrition (from a powder in a bag). I just keep screaming to eat real food…boy has society been duped for too long.
>The first heart attack on record occurred in the 1920s.
Man, you were doing so well, then you had to say that. No doubt that deaths from MI started to skyrocket in the first part of the 20th century, tobacco and diet being the likely villains, but it was far from unheard of as a historical cause of death.
I’m familiar with Guyenet’s work, Mark. I pulled the same information as Colpo for my book, in fact, from CDC records, and that’s where I pulled from for this post. I wasn’t implying it was unheard of, as you say, just that it wasn’t in the record books (“on record”). You’ll see that the CHD line stays at 0 until approximately 1920, which corroborates what I’ve said here and in my book.
I was looking into eating pasteurized egg whites because I am a part of the minority that hates egg yolk. Not because of the cholesterol or anything, but because I really just hate how it tastes, and though scrambled eggs are fine, I usually just end up throwing away the egg yolk because I run out of things to do with it (I don’t use mayo, so tried it for face masks / hair masks and I still have too much egg yolk on hand). Would it then be better to buy some egg whites, or continue buying real eggs and toss away the yolk every time? :0
Hey, if you don’t like it, you don’t like it! (Not even hollandaise? 🙁 I would take your yolks 🙂
Honestly, I think I would buy the egg whites separately. I’m thinking the yolks they trash probably go to making something vs. just going in the trash…although really, it’s probably 6 in one, half dozen in the other. Do what’s most cost effective, I’d say!
I love Egg Beaters. I will have 2 egg yolks a week. I will beat one egg into a serving of Beaters, and they come out delicious. I’m tired of people who are not doctors, or medically trained telling people what or what not to eat. Check with your doctor they can refer you to someone who can help with your diet.
Yes, because statistics show that approach has served us so well over the last 50 years.
Nature absolutely got it wrong. Thank goodness for corporations who are taking the burden off thousands of years of evolution in producing our food.
Balance is really needed. What people leave out is food common sense and I love your post, it’s common sense and not about fear. Sure it’s preferred to stick to natural but once in awhile we need variety. For me both are awesome.
You couldn’t be more wrong about choline. Choline is converted into Trimethylamine n-oxide by bacteria in the gut. TMAO has been shown to encourage the deposits of calcium and Low density lipoproteins in heart arteries. It is a leading cause of coronary artery disease. Wise up readers. Search the ‘net for TMA and TMAO and you will read a little scientific fact, not diatribe on another site such as this.
My doctor recently informed me I have high cholesterol and was just going to put me on drugs to correct the problem.
I told him I have a general distrust of pharmaceuticals so he sent me to a dietitian instead.
She told me not to avoid eggs. The good protein and nutrition from eggs outweighs the cholesterol content, she said.
My biggest concern now is – can you find anything in a grocery store that is not aldulterated in some way?
I am going to try to change my lazy ways – eating all quick, processed foods. I know there is a local guy that sells eggs from the chickens he keeps in his back yard (small farm).
You never know about mass produced eggs found in your grocery store. What do they feed the chickens? How are they kept?
Mike, have you read my book Eat the Yolks yet? I think you would love it! Also have a listen to my Balanced Bites Podcast!
Liz how did I get here I hear people constant say they are eating egg substitutes,(wight watchers for one still promotes it) I had been doing egg whites and kept gaining wt, my vit D and Iron slipped (d down is 9)so I said heck with it went to real eggs, getting my energy back and more and I wanted to say thanks for all the info and confidence to eat a real egg