Everyone knows that chickens come from eggs. Chickens are meat, but what are eggs? Eggs are considered by most people to be a dairy product. However, they are not dairy in the traditional sense. A true dairy product is made by the mammary glads of a mammal. Eggs do not fit this definition, however they are an animal byproduct, which is why they are are lumped into the same group as dairy products.
Unlike other dairy products, eggs are extremely high in protein. The whites are where the protein is hidden while the yolks harbor certain vitamins as well as cholesterol and the majority of the calories. Because of this, people who are dieting usually try to consume only the low-calorie whites so they can load up on protein, which helps keep them feeling fuller, longer. Their protein content is similar to meat.
In terms of texture, they are more like dairy when raw and more like meat when cooked. Raw eggs have a semi-liquid consistency and they can be blended into things like batters and mixes. Once cooked, they take on a more solid quality and can no longer be blended into other foods like a liquid. The texture of a cooked egg is more like meat than dairy.
When you purchase eggs at the grocery store, you will find them in your grocer’s dairy section, as well as in most cook books where you are often taught how to hard boil eggs to use in various recipes. Most nutritionists and government-sponsored food pyramids classify eggs as a dairy product. On the other hand, many vegetarians won’t eat eggs or foods containing eggs because they consider them a meat product. It’s all about your personal perspective and whether you consider the egg a baby chicken or an animal byproduct.
Whether you think of eggs as meat or dairy, you’ll always be partially right. Their classification is not nearly as important as their great taste and the important role they play in a balanced diet. Think of all the recipes you know that contain eggs. The chicken products have integrated themselves into our daily diets and show no signs of losing popularity any time soon.
It’s important to note that persons with dairy allergies will not necessarily be allergic to eggs. Lactose intolerance does not make one intolerant to eggs, just as an egg allergy does not make one allergic to milk or other dairy products. Another interesting note is that unlaid eggs are officially considered meat, while eggs that have been laid are considered dairy. The composition of the egg does not change during the laying process, but the classification of the egg does.
Whether they are meat or dairy, one thing will always remain the same. Eggs are a healthy part of many people’s diets and will likely remain a staple food for a long time to come.