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Are Vegan Eggs Just As Healthy As the Real Deal?

Gabrielle Hondorp
Photo credit: Hampton Creek

From Bicycling

  • Canadian locations of Tim Hortons are rolling out a test program for Just Egg products at certain restaurants.
  • Just Egg is a vegan, plant-based alternative to eggs made with turmeric and mung bean protein to create an egg-like texture and flavor.
  • The vegan eggs are nutritionally very similar to regular chicken eggs—they each pack a similar amount of calories and protein.

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 a heart attack on a plate? Should you eat the yolks, or switch to egg whites instead?

Now, there’s another question to add to the mix: Are vegan, plant-based eggs really the way to go?

With a rising market desire for sustainable and plant-based foods, plant-based options of traditionally animal-based products have been popping up in supermarket shelves and restaurant menus, like the Impossible Burger at Burger King. Plant-based egg products are now following suit.

Select Canadian locations of Tim Hortons are participating in a market test for products using Just Egg, a plant-based egg product, a spokesperson for Just Egg confirmed to Runner’s World.

Just Egg is also offered at independent restaurants, as well as chains like Bareburger, Gregory’s Coffee, Silver Diner, Veggie Grill, Next Level Burger, Veggie Grill, and La Boulangerie, the spokesperson said.

What are vegan eggs, and are they as healthy as real eggs?

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.

But here’s the real question: Is Just Egg as healthy as the real deal? According to New York City-based dietitian Natalie Rizzo, M.S., R.D., the answer is yes.

“Regular eggs and Just Egg are pretty similar,” Rizzo told 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, according to Rizzo. Though you may focus on the protein, these nutrients play an important role in bone health, cognition, energy, pregnancy, and eye health, she said.

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“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 said. While these aren’t necessarily bad for you, it’s a complicated list, especially if you are attempting to eat more whole foods.

It’s also worth noting that free-range, organic eggs are cheaper than Just Egg, which retails at $7.99 per carton, according to The Spoon. In addition to Canadian Tim Hortons locations, you can also buy Just Egg in grocery stores like Whole Foods, Safeway Albertsons, Sprouts, and Publix, according to the Just Egg spokesperson.

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 aren’t going to be what does it.

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