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Should You Eat Vegan Eggs Instead of the Real Deal?

Plant-based eggs pop up in grocery stores and restaurants, but should you eat them? Here's what to know before you dig in.

The healthfulness—or unhealthiness—of eggs is a continual point of controversy in the nutrition community. Are they really a smart, protein-packed breakfast option? Or are you sitting down to heart problems on a plate? Should you eat the yolks or switch to egg whites instead?

The answer, as always, is that moderation is key. While eating four eggs every day might not be best, evidence suggests that eating up to one egg per day won’t increase your risk of health issues like heart disease or stroke.

Recently, however, vegan eggs have hit the market. With a rising desire for sustainable and plant-based foods, you can now find meats and eggs made not from animals, but from plants. A few brands stand out for this animal-free alternative, including Just EggFollow Your Heart, and Simply Eggless. Even well-known health brands, like Bob’s Red Mill, offer an egg replacement.

So are vegan eggs really the way to go, or should you stick with the real eggs you know and love to eat at breakfast? We tapped dietitian Natalie Rizzo to find out.

What are vegan eggs, exactly?

Just Egg has been made to resemble real eggs, using turmeric and mung bean protein to create an egg-like texture and flavor. Reviews of the product on Amazon stated that people were pleasantly surprised by its similarity to chicken eggs in its texture, smell, and taste.

Are vegan eggs healthy?

That’s the real question: Are these egg alternatives as healthy as the real deal? According to Rizzo, the answer is yes.

“Regular eggs and Just Egg are pretty similar,” Rizzo tells Runner’s World. “For example, a regular egg and Just Egg both have 70 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving (one large egg versus 3 tablespoons). Regular eggs have 6 grams of protein, while Just Egg has 5 grams of protein, so that’s also similar.”

The only real nutritional downside is that real eggs have added nutrients such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, choline, and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, Rizzo says. Though you may focus on the protein, these nutrients play an important role in bone healthcognition, energy, pregnancy, and eye health, she explains.

“Another concern is that vegan eggs are made with a whole list of ingredients like mung bean protein isolate, canola oil, natural flavors, potassium citrate, and soy lecithin,” Rizzo says. While these aren’t necessarily bad for you, it’s a complicated list, especially if you are attempting to eat more whole foods that are less processed.

What else should you know about vegan eggs?

It’s worth noting that free-range, organic eggs can be cheaper than some of the vegan egg options, especially if you’re buying a dozen eggs.

If you already follow a plant-based diet—or are simply curious and want to give them a try—there is no harm in adding these vegan eggs to your plate. But if you eat regular eggs and are looking for an added nutritional boost, vegan eggs probably won’t fulfill that goal. Go for what tastes best for you and what fits your lifestyle—that’s always the best way to decide what diet choice is right for you.

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