We know that eggs are a good source of protein and a wide range of minerals and vitamins. Our parents used to say having eggs for breakfast makes you stronger. Nowadays, people are so confused about eggs, are eggs dairy or meat? How are eggs classified? What food group is egg?
If this question gives you pause, you’re not alone here. In this article, we will break it down.
However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) places eggs on the list of proteins with meat, seafood, and poultry. Let’s see below how eggs are classified.
Are Eggs Meat?
Meat is usually an animal’s muscles. However, eggs are not meat.
We know that eggs come from chickens, and the egg has nutrients that foster a growing embryo until it hatches.
We know that an egg’s shell contains nutrients and often protects an embryo. Since eggs have no tissue or flesh, they will not be considered meat.
Why we think eggs should be classified as meat because they contain chicken fetuses, but fresh eggs do not contain chicken fetuses at all.
Although hens lay an egg approximately every 24 hours for most of the year, if they have never spawned, the eggs are never fertilized and will never hatch into a chick under any possibility.
Are Eggs Dairy?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all fluid milf production and foods made from milk are considered Dairy.
The list of dairy products is yoghurt, milk, ice cream, cheese, butter, and many others. But eggs are not included in that list.
Hence, eggs are not Dairy. However, Dairy products are made from the milk of certain mammal animals, like buffaloes, cows, and goats.
In the supermarket, eggs are always put near dairy products, So psychologically, people think they are linked to dairy products.
Are Eggs Considered Vegetarian?
People think that eggs can be harvested and eaten without harming animals. They are usually accepted by the vegetarian guy, who tries to eat a diet without killing animals.
Although, some vegetarians eat eggs, and some do not.
Here are the types of vegetarian diets:
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: they eat a plant-based diet, dairy products, and eggs, but they do not eat animal flesh or meat.
- Pescatarian: they eat lacto-ovo-vegetarian foods—like plants, dairy, eggs, fish, and seafood but do not eat land animal meat like chicken, beef, or pork.
- Vegans: They do not eat any food that comes from animals, not even dairy products, and eat only food that comes from plants
- Flexitarian: who eats a vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish.
Nutrition Value of eggs
Now we know “what food group is egg” right? Now we will see the nutritional value of eggs
- calories: 290 kJ
- protein: 6 grams
- vitamin A: 19% DV
- pantothenic acid: 28% DV
- phosphorus: 25% DV
- vitamin D: 15% DV
Egg Terminology you should know:
Here are some of the ethical and environmental considerations that people always look for:
Cage-Free: The term “cage-free” means that the chicken is free to walk, nest, and engross in other natural behaviours.
Free-range/Free-roaming: It means chickens are free to walk, engage in behaviours, and have access to the outdoors as well
Pasture-raised: It means free-range chickens, but the term implies that the outdoor area is a natural range landscape
Vegetarian-fed: It means that vegetarian-fed chicken has a diet free of animal by-products.
Certified Organic: It is a federal standard administered and enforced by the USDA. That chickens can be cage-free, organic diet, and are free of pesticides.
What Category Are Eggs in the Food Pyramid?
In the food pyramid used from 1992-2005 and today in the USDA’s MyPlate nutritional guidelines, eggs are listed in the protein food group.
According to the MyPlate guidelines, an adult eating 1900 to 2,000 calories a day should eat 5.5 ounces of meals in the protein food group.
The average small egg has approximately 43 grams, while an average large egg is around 57 of protein.
The USDA has updated the classic food pyramid with new nutritional guidelines called MyPlate.
The USDA has updated the classic food pyramid with guidelines known as MyPlate.
Instead of a pyramid shape, the fat is at the peak, and the grains are on the bottom. MyPlate divides the diet into proportions, consisting of 5 five primary food groups.
It consists of fruit juices and fresh, canned, dried, and pureed fruit
They consist of dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables like avocados and mushrooms. However, Beans and peas are contained in both the vegetable and protein groups.
It contains whole and refined grains, whole wheat bread, pasta, oatmeal, etc.
It consists of seafood, meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy
It contains milk, yoghurt, and cheese.
White or brown eggs are not meat and can be harvested without harming the chicken.
Though commercially produced eggs are not fertilized and have little potential to hatch into chicks. However, they are rich in nutrition and proteins.
Due to these reasons, many vegetarians eat eggs and prefer organic eggs. But Vegans do not eat eggs because they do not believe in exploiting animals for human foods.
However, dietary preferences show that eggs are a good source of protein and have been eaten for centuries.
The conclusion about “what food group is egg: is that eggs are not meat nor dairy but in a category within the protein food group.
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