In the last decade, food, food intolerance, allergies, and various diets have become very important to so many people. It is no surprise considering that nutrition science has been advancing very fast.
Because of this fact, many questions about food and nutrition have been raised and one of the hottest topics in the food and nutrition industry is related to meat and meat by-products.
Vegetarians, and especially vegans, have become religious in their attempts to avoid eating meat and anything closely related to meat. So, they tend to ask a lot of questions and one of them is “Are eggs meat?”.
Here in the introduction, I will just say that eggs are not considered meat although they have similar nutrition.
But, what are eggs then, and how are they classified? If you want to know the answers to these questions and some other egg-related questions, please continue reading.
Are Eggs Meat?
After reading the introduction, you probably already know the answer to this question. It is negative and it means that the answer to the question “Is egg meat?” is “No”.
But, why is that so? Well, you first have to know that meat is a type of food that comes from a living animal, in this particular case, from a living chicken.
There are various types of meat based on the type of animal and the part of the animal’s flesh. But one thing is for sure. All types of meat come from the flesh of living animals, no matter what type of animal it is.
That is the main reason why so many people are disgusted by the idea of eating meat.
Eggs are just something different. They are oval-shaped reproductive structures produced by female chickens in the process of ovulation.
However, eggs that you buy from the grocery store are not fertilized by the sperm of a rooster, so they are not considered living creatures. Consequently, eggs can not be considered meat.
But, what are eggs then? There are several other questions related to the classification of eggs, so I will provide you with the answers to these questions so that you can understand what eggs are and what they are not.
Are Eggs Poultry?
Since the most consumed type of eggs in the world are chicken eggs, and chicken is, alongside turkey, ducks, and gees, classified as poultry, this question is quite logical to ask.
However, the answer to this question is quite obvious as well, based on the answer to the previous question.
Well, you just have to use basic logic. If the chicken is a type of poultry and at the same time a type of meat, and if we conclude that eggs are not meat, we can easily conclude that eggs are not poultry either.
It is simple as that.
Can Eggs Be Classified As Dairy?
Many chefs and home cooks pair eggs and dairy products in various recipes every day, both in baking and cooking. Because of that, many of them tend to think that eggs are dairy products as well.
However, that is not the case. Eggs are not dairy products.
The main reason for this is the fact that dairy products are made from the milk of mammals, including sheep, goats, and cows.
Those dairy products include various milk products like cheese and yogurt, as well as butter, cream, and cream cheese.
Most of these products contain lactose and high amounts of calcium, as well as other important nutrients like vitamins A, D, and B12.
On the other hand, eggs are reproductive structures that come from birds, mostly chickens. Chickens and other types of poultry are not considered mammals because they don’t have mammary glands that produce milk.
Aside from that, the nutrition profile of eggs is not very similar to that of dairy products. The most important thing is that eggs don’t contain lactose and they are not high in calcium, which is a trade of almost all dairy products.
What Food Category Are Eggs In?
So, we now know that eggs are not meat, poultry, or dairy products. But, what are eggs then? How can we classify eggs?
Well, as you could have concluded by now, although they are not meat themself, eggs are most closely related to meat and, in general, they can be classified as animal by-products because they are produced in the body of an animal.
However, they are very similar to meat in terms of their nutritional value. And that is the most important thing to know when you are trying to classify eggs.
Just like meat, eggs are high in high-quality protein to the extent that they are interchangeable with meat in terms of nutrition.
Eggs, therefore, belong to the protein food group.
All in all, if someone asks you to put eggs in some food group, tell them that eggs aren’t meat, poultry, or dairy, but animal-by products that belong to the protein food group.
Can Vegans And Vegetarians Consume Eggs?
I think that the answer to this question is one that most of you have been waiting for. However, it is also the most tricky one.
Generally speaking, vegetarians avoid eating meat, poultry, and seafood and tend to incorporate foods like fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds into their diet.
However, you have to know that there are various types of vegetarians and some tend to incorporate eggs and dairy products into their diets while others tend to avoid them.
I will start with Lacto-vegetarians. These folks predominantly consume dairy products and plant foods, but they avoid eating meat and fish, as well as eggs.
On the other hand, Ovo-vegetarians avoid eating dairy, meat, and fish but do consume eggs.
There are also Lacto-ovo vegetarians who don’t eat meat and fish, but tend to consume both dairy products and eggs, as well as plant foods of course.
Semi-vegetarians are allowed to eat both dairy products and eggs, as well as chicken and fish, but they do not consume meat.
Pescatarians do not eat eggs, meat, poultry, or dairy. They only consume plant foods and seafood.
Finally, if you are a vegan, especially one that follows this type of diet religiously, you shouldn’t be consuming eggs or any other animal by-product or food that contains animal protein.
The only food that true vegans should be consuming is plant-based food.
All in all, if you are Ovo-vegetarian, Lacto-ovo vegetarian, or semi-vegetarian, you are free to eat eggs. But, if you are Lacto-vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan, eggs should not be on your plate.
What Are Some Pros And Cons Of Consuming Eggs?
Now that you know what eggs are, it is not a bad idea to know some benefits of eating eggs, as well as why it is sometimes not a good idea to consume them. So, let’s look at the pros and cons of consuming eggs.
1. High In Protein: Eggs are one of the best sources of high-quality proteins.
So, if you are one of those people who are on a high-protein diet or just want to increase your intake of natural proteins that do not come directly from meat and that are natural, eggs are your best bet.
2. Various Health Benefits: Aside from a high amount of protein, eggs are also a great source of unsaturated fats and various important nutrients like vitamins A, D, B6, and B12, as well as selenium, phosphorus, choline, and various antioxidants.
If you consume them regularly, your heart and brain will be thankful. They are also good for your eyes and they can control your blood sugar levels as well.
3. Versatility: Eggs are one of the most eaten foods in the world. One of the main reasons for that is the fact that they are very versatile.
Aside from boiling them, frying them and making scrambled eggs for breakfast, you can also use them in salads or use them when baking bread, pastries, and cakes.
They are the main ingredient of our all-favorite mayonnaise and they can be used as a binding ingredient in meatloaf, meatballs, etc.
1. Egg Allergies Or Intolerances: There are many people who suffer from various types of food allergies and intolerances.
Aside from being allergic or intolerant to gluten or lactose, many people are allergic to eggs as well. In that case, eggs are not recommended for consumption because they can cause allergic reactions.
2. High In Cholesterol: Although the cholesterol in eggs is considered healthy, if you eat a high amount of eggs very often, they can increase the level of cholesterol in your blood. This can lead to heart problems for some people.
3. Risk Of Foodborne Illness Or Food Poisoning: Since eggs are highly perishable food, if not handled the right way, they can spoil easily and cause you a lot of problems if you consume them. That is especially the case if you don’t cook your eggs properly.
Eggs Classification Demystified
Eggs are one of the most versatile foods in the world and it is no surprise why there are so many egg-related questions nowadays.
One of those questions is “Are eggs meat?” and this one is very important to those people who are on some type of vegetarian diet that doesn’t allow consuming eggs.
Well, in this article, you were able to find out that eggs are not meat, poultry, or dairy. Eggs are animal by-products that belong to the protein food group because of their high levels of quality proteins.