So, what’s the difference between egg beaters vs eggs? There’s actually more than you think.
Egg Beaters have been around since 1972, and were introduced by Fleischmann’s during the anti-saturated fat and cholesterol crusade, claiming to be the superior option for “heart health” alongside the company’s other popular food product currently in the marketplace—margarine.
Forty years later, when comparing Egg Beaters vs eggs, the company continues to promote that Egg Beaters are the “smart choice for better health” because the liquid mixture is lower in calories, and contains no fat, saturated fat or cholesterol. However, a closer look shows that declaring this concoction-in-a-carton to be “health promoting” just might be incredibly misleading.
Egg Beaters vs Eggs: The Claims
For starters, we’ve known for well over a decade that dietary fat intake has absolutely no correlation to long-term body fatness. In fact, diets higher in fat have been shown to reduce body weight and increase lean mass and overall satiation.
It’s also obvious that promoting something as “low in calories” holds virtually no weight in regards to health, and is usually a sure-fire sign that the product is likely refined, and contains additives to give it flavor.
While eating too many calories can lead to weight gain, the reality is, the concept of “calories in, calories out” is drastically oversimplified because it doesn’t account for the fact that different foods are metabolized differently in the body. It also fails to recognize that whole foods, which contain nutrients we need, impact us differently when compared to refined foods that don’t.
In other words, 70 calories consumed from soda, and 70 calories consumed from real eggs packed with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids are not equal. Each “calorie” ingested, depending its source, can have varying effects on the brain’s processes that control hunger and satiation, and the body’s ability to store and burn fat.
In fact, multiple studies have found that eating eggs for breakfast (yes – real, whole ones) not only increases satiation, it also results in eating up to 400 calories less throughout the day when compared to an equal-calorie breakfast of a bagel. Those calories don’t seem so equal to me.
Also, when properly separated from manmade trans fats, real saturated fat has absolutely no correlation to heart disease.9 In fact, dietary cholesterol has very little to do with blood cholesterol levels, and more recent studies suggest increased serum cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, rather it’s a sign that something else is going wrong in the body – specifically inflammation or injury to blood vessels that need healing. To add to that, there are no studies that exist that link egg consumption to heart disease.
Egg Beaters vs Eggs: The Ingredients
So, now that we know what Egg Beaters are lacking, let’s see what’s inside the carton. Here’s the ingredients in ConAgra Foods Original Egg Beaters:
Egg Whites, Less than 1%: Natural Flavor, Color (Includes Beta Carotene), Spices, Salt, Onion Powder, Vegetable Gums (Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum), Maltodextrin. Vitamins and Minerals: Calcium Sulfate, Iron (Ferric Phosphate), Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol Acetate), Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B1 (Thiamine Mononitrate), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3
So, let’s break this down. Natural Flavor is basically a catchall term for, on average, 50–100 ingredients that are combined together in flavorist labs and added to foods in order to give them an appealing taste – the one you would have experienced had the food not been highly processed.
Color, you guessed it, is a reference to more additives that make the extracted liquid resemble the color of a yolk, and both Xanthan Gum (a thickener) and Maltodextrin (sugar) are made from genetically-modified corn.
Synthetic vitamins and minerals are added back to the product because removing the yolk and processing the liquid strips away the nutrients. What most people don’t consider, however, is that synthetic vitamins that are added or “fortified” into foods aren’t absorbed in the body the same way, making it a very poor way to obtain nutrients.
Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about Egg Beaters is that while not publicly advertised, you can bet the cheapest, lowest quality eggs are used to create the product. Conventional eggs are harvested from chickens kept in absolutely atrocious conditions – usually locked up in battery cages unable to move and without access to natural light. Their diets consist of cheap soy and corn-based feed, and as a result, the eggs suffer in quality and nutrition.
Should You Eat Eggs?
Eating real eggs (preferable, from local farmers) means getting a powerhouse of nutrients. In addition to being one of the highest-quality sources of protein, eggs contain riboflavin, folate, vitamins B6, B12, D, and E, and iron, phosphorus, and zinc. They’re also a great source of choline, iodine, and potent antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin.
Eggs also are a great whole food source of cholesterol, which acts as the building blocks for important sex hormones that are crucial for fertility, has antioxidant properties, is the precursor for the ever-important vitamin D, and is used by the body as raw material for the healing process. In other words, cholesterol is preeeetty darn awesome – and Egg Beaters have a big ol’ goose egg of it. (That means none.)
To add to that, a study done in 2007 showed eggs from hens allowed to roam free out in the sun and forage on grass and bugs had substantially higher amounts of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids when compared to conventional eggs.
To evaluate the difference in ingredients in egg beaters vs eggs, let’s see what the ingredients are in eggs from free-roaming hens:
Where to Get Real Eggs
While it can be a bit intimidating to transition to shopping with local farms – it’s actually way easier than you think.
A visit to some of your surrounding farmer’s markets will give you the chance to meet and greet with your local farms. You can talk to them about how they raise their animals, where they are located – and even schedule a visit to the farm to see the operation in progress. Many times, you’ll find farmers do discounts for bulk purchases, or have cheaper prices when food is purchase directly from the farm.
For information on how to get started eating locally, check out 6 Ways to Start Eating Locally. Foods you purchase from local farms are usually gathered that morning, compared to grocery store foods, which can have a three to four week transit time. As a result, the pastured eggs from your local farm can easily last up to 6 weeks in the fridge and still remain tasty and fresh (Yes, I speak from experience.)
Local pastured eggs can range anywhere from $2.50 to $6 a dozen, depending on the area. While the upper end may seem steep, our unfortunate reality is, most people think $5 is too much to spend on a dozen local pastured eggs, yet find no problem spending $5 on their daily sugar-filled mocha drinks served to them in paper cup. Purchasing nutrients instead of convenience will not only benefit your health, it will also put an ease on what you spend in health care costs in the long run.
So, what do you think about the difference between egg beaters vs eggs? Let me know below!
Keepin’ it human,