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Eggs, Egg Substitutes and Nutrition Facts

by
author image Fiona Bayly
Based in New York City, Fiona Bayly writes about running with a focus on health, nutrition and training strategies for athletes from beginner to professional. She is an avid triathlete, former New England Scholastic Cross Country champion and current member of TeamUSA's age-group championship team in the sport of Aquathlon.
Eggs, Egg Substitutes and Nutrition Facts
An egg omelette. Photo Credit DinaBS/iStock/Getty Images

When safely handled and prepared, eggs provide a bounty of nutritious, delicious meal options. Eggs are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and packed with essential vitamins and heart healthy nutrients. But eggs' benefits are nevertheless overshadowed whenever environmental bacteria causes an egg recall. Helpful federal laws ensure that the egg's many benefits can be enjoyed safely.

Egg Nutrition

Real eggs provide all-around nutrition that's superior to that of substitute eggs. This is because the yolk carries the majority of the egg's protein, plus essential fats, fatty acids and vitamins. Eggs do contain cholesterol, but one egg yolk, at 195 mg cholesterol, is within your daily allowance of 300 mg. Cholesterol plays important roles in blood health and nerve function, so if your body lacks dietary sources, it makes its own. The yolk also contains 100 percent of the egg's vitamins A, E, D and K; all of its essential fatty acids; over 90 percent of its calcium, iron and zinc; and choline, which is described by Right Health as being involved in cell integrity and nerve signaling. The egg white has potassium, riboflavin and amino acids that, with yolk-based amino acids, make egg protein complete.

Safe Handling

Purchase eggs that are free of any cracks, because cracks allow bacteria to enter. Check the egg carton's "Sell By" date. Refrigerate eggs as soon as possible after purchase to help them last three to five weeks. Pasteurization rids eggs of harmful bacteria, but not all eggs can be pasteurized. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only FDA-approved processors are allow to pasteurize shelled eggs. Egg products, however, are always pasteurized, and include ready-to-scramble egg substitutes and egg whites.

Liquid and Dry Egg Substitutes

Liquid egg substitutes can be found near regular eggs in the grocery store. Besides being pasteurized, they provide versatility and health benefits. Excellent scrambled or in omelets, these egg-white-based liquids have no yolks, so they provide high protein with very low fat and no cholesterol. Sometimes spices, flavorings and colorings are added. Dried or powdered egg whites are stocked in the baking-needs section, and only need water for reconstitution.

Egg Recalls

Salmonella enteriditis is a bacterium that sometimes gets into eggs and sickens consumers. According to the New York Times, more than half a million eggs were recalled during the month of August 2010, mostly from an Iowa farm that has had salmonella problems in the past. Generally, federal consumer law ensures that eggs are very safe, and it is rare that such large recalls occur. Carol Tucker Foreman, a food safety expert at the Consumer Federation of America, states that there is no scientifically proven benefit to buying organic or local eggs.

Considerations

Eggs are good for you. An average of one yolk a day will provide vital nutrients in an easily digestible and cost-efficient little package. For egg-based baking recipes, consider replacing each whole egg with two egg whites for a light texture and zero cholesterol. Egg whites and egg substitutes will not only stretch your yolk limit but also halve your calories and double your high-quality protein.

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