Historically eggs have long been considered dairy products, and the dilemma has now been passed on to the consumers of toady. For many people, the confusion about eggs being dairy is a legitimate one since they are often placed alongside milk and other products in the dairy aisle of the grocery store. Most of us have sauntered down the dairy aisle, picked up eggs, milk, cheese and even yogurt without ever giving the practice a thought and assumed that eggs are, of course, dairy since they come from the same aisle as milk.
And in instances where eggs may not have been placed next to milk, our best guess would be to look in the dairy aisle to find those eggs. Sounds, familiar? Well, we’ve all done it. We hope this article will help you understand the question is egg dairy as well as the nutritional value of eggs. So, just to make things clear, dairy is referred to products that are milk based or its byproducts like butter, cheese, yogurt and ice-cream. Milk is procured from the mammary glands of mammals like cows, goats, and sheep among others. Eggs, on the other hand, are not made from milk and neither do they come from a milk producing animal.
The only reason why they are kept alongside dairy products in the grocery store is because they need to be handled and stored at cooler temperatures when compared to other types of foods. Keeping eggs in refrigerated aisles will keep them fresh longer.
They may also possibly be linked together because both come from animals in general, and farm animals to be more specific. Farms raise chickens as well as cows and in communities where dairy delivery is available, eggs can also be ordered as well.
Some other possible links between the two may be given the fact that both are often used together in recipes, strict vegetarians avoid both and vegans simply eliminate them from their dietary choices. So why the immense confusion?
So, Is Egg a Dairy Product?
The simple truth is that eggs are not dairy. They never have been and never will be. The only point of similarity between the two is that they are both referred to as animal byproducts. In fact, they are both non-meat animal products intended for human consumption. While milk and its byproducts do come from animals, so do eggs. But the nutritional makeup of eggs is very different from milk and forcing the two together can create confusion for individuals with allergic and non-allergic conditions.
For instance, people who do not eat dairy products may sometimes also not eat eggs because of certain allergies, dietary constraints, religious restrictions or otherwise. But it does not mean that dairy and eggs are the same things. For people who are lactose intolerant or suffer from milk allergies, but do not suffer allergies to eggs can include them as a component of their regular diet. Consuming eggs for these individuals will not yield any of the adverse reactions linked with dairy consumption.
In addition eggs and dairy have entirely different physical and chemical compositions.
Why Do People Abstain From Eating Both Dairy And Eggs?
There are two groups of people who do not consume either dairy products or eggs. The first of these are vegans. People who follow this lifestyle do not consume any animal products including meat, poultry, fish, dairy or eggs. Remember that dairy is just a subset of animal products along with other foods. But veganism is not simply restricted to the diet alone but is a complete lifestyle on its own.
This means that apart from food choices, any other products that have animal based products such as eggs in shampoo or milk in chocolate are also not allowed. So for vegans, the turmoil of is egg dairy is not an important one since they stay away from both eggs and dairy.
The second group consists of certain Jewish communities which restrict egg consumption based on whether the egg was un-laid inside the chicken. Unlaid eggs are classified as meat and the kosher law does not permit consuming dairy with any type of meat. For these groups, one must wait a couple of hours after having a meal with meat before any dairy can be consumed.
Yet another group may do the same, but for health reasons. Individuals who may be allergic to both dairy and eggs will likely not include any of these in theory diet for health reasons. It is important to note that if individuals suffer from lactose intolerance alone, they can still include eggs in their diet and if they are allergic to eggs alone, they can still have milk and other dairy products.
It is only when an allergy is identified to both dairy and eggs that individuals will have to abstain from both.
So apart from vegans or others who have an egg allergy, eggs are suitable for dairy free eaters.
Is Egg a form of Dairy Or Meat?
Now that it has been established that eggs are definitely not dairy but an animal product, another point of contention raises when deciding is egg a form of dairy or meat. This confusion stems from the age-old dilemma that while chickens come from eggs and chickens are meat, so are eggs also meat?
One very interesting fact about eggs is that un-laid eggs are officially considered meat and once laid, they are classified as an animal product. While the composition of the egg does not change during the laying process, its classification certainly does. This is why, as mentioned earlier, certain Jewish communities do not allow eating eggs with dairy. Kosher law requires either dairy or meat meals but not the two together.
While after dairy consumption, there is no interval before meat may be eaten, in the opposite scenario, individuals need to wait for a specific time before dairy can be consumed again.
However while the nutritional value of dairy and eggs is vastly different, the nutritional content of eggs and meat is similar. As a source of food, eggs yield protein, fat, and nutrient content similar to what meat provides. The big difference here is that meat is the flesh of animals and eggs do not contain any meat, so are not considered meat.
Images used via the creative commons version 2.0 license – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Image One by Gorge Brazil – https://www.flickr.com/photos/viajor/15712974394/
Image Two by Steve Johnson – https://www.flickr.com/photos/artbystevejohnson/4700387614/
Image Three by John Loo – https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnloo/5483256997/