Have you ever wondered how eggs are classified? Is an egg a fruit or vegetable? Or are eggs something completely different?
Eggs are delicious, nutritious, and versatile. They’re also a controversial food item. Some people consider eggs to be meat, while others consider them to be vegetables.
This article will explain how eggs are categorized and why labeling them as fruit or vegetable is misleading. I’ll also cover the many health benefits we get from eggs.
- Related article: Vegetable vs Fruit Definition
Is an Egg a Fruit or Vegetable?
An egg is neither a fruit nor a vegetable. Eggs are labeled as an animal product. The egg is not produced by a plant. Both vegetables and fruit are plant matter, so eggs can’t be classified under either group.
Eggs are often considered a vegetarian food and a healthy option as part of a balanced diet. While vegetarians may include them in their diets, vegans do not eat eggs.
Where Do Eggs Come From?
An egg comes from a bird, and the eggs we usually eat come from chickens. The egg is an animal product that contains high levels of protein. They are a unique case in the classification of foods.
All volatiles or birds lay eggs. Most fish and reptiles also lay eggs, but we eat mostly bird eggs. While chicken eggs are the most common, we also eat quail and duck eggs.
Goose and turkey eggs are also consumed, although much more difficult to find commercially. These types of birds lay less eggs. By contrast, chickens are bred to lay an egg daily. Turkey and geese produce approximately 30 or so eggs in an entire year.
Many bird eggs and reptile eggs are not eaten. Pigeon eggs were eaten in the past, but are rarely seen, if at all, on menus today.
Nowadays, most grocery stores will label eggs with “cage free” or “free range.” That means that the chickens are not raised in battery cages.
Many countries around the world have also banned the sale of eggs from chickens raised in battery cages. These battery cages do not allow the chickens to move freely. This limits their ability to walk and run. It also makes it harder for them to engage in natural behaviors such as dust bathing, which helps keep them clean.
The lack of movement leads to stress, making these animals prone to illness and disease. In addition, they tend to live shorter lives than those who have access to plenty of outdoor space.
The United States has been slow to adopt laws banning the use of battery cages. In fact, they still exist in some states. Battery cage farms raise hundreds of thousands of chickens every day.
Is an Egg Meat?
Eggs are not meat. They are often grouped with meats because of their high level of protein though. Vegetarians will not eat meat but do eat eggs for their protein. The laying of eggs also does not require killing animals for consumption.
Meat generally refers to animal flesh. Eggs have not yet developed into animals. They contain albumen or white and the yolk. If an egg has been fertilized, it may contain an embryo. But commercial eggs are rarely fertilized.
Is Egg Dairy?
Eggs are not dairy. They can be listed separately, but do not fit in the dairy food group. The USDA defines products as dairy if they contain milk. Dairy products include cheese, yogurt, butter, and milk. Since eggs do not contain milk, they’re not categorized as dairy.
Health Benefits and Nutritional Value of Eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of nutrition and are a fundamental ingredient in many recipes and dishes. However, keep in mind that you cannot live by eating an egg-only diet. Eggs do not contain the same vitamins and minerals that fruit and vegetables do, despite their nutritional value.
Eggs are a protein-rich food that boast many essential nutrients. Nature provides them to assist in the development of a single cell in a chicken.
A large boiled egg will contain these nutrients:
- 6% of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of Vitamin A
- 15% of the RDA of Vitamin B2
- 7% of the RDA of Vitamin B5
- 9% of the RDA of Vitamin B12
- 5% of the RDA of Folate
- 9% of the RDA of Phosphorous
- 22% of the RDA of Selenium
They also contain lower amounts of vitamins B6, D, E, K, zinc, and calcium as well as other trace elements. All of these nutrients are paired with 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats, and 77 calories.
1. Eggs Raise Good HDL Cholesterol
Consider including eggs in your regular diet. They contribute to raising levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) or what is known as “good cholesterol.” The presence of good cholesterol is linked to lowering the risk of many diseases.
These diseases include cardiovascular issues, strokes, and similar.
2. Eggs Protect Eye and Vision Health
With aging, often one of the first health issues that arises is a problem with vision. Several dietary nutrients aid in preventing vision loss. These include zeaxanthin and lutein. Both are potent antioxidants that your body will accumulate in the eye retinas. Research has demonstrated that sufficient antioxidants will reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Eggs also contain vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision health. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness.
3. Eggs Contain Necessary Protein and Amino Acids for Body Health
Proteins are considered the principal building blocks for the entire human body. They are used in the creation of various body tissues, as well as molecules used in the body structure and its functions. It is crucial that the human diet consists of sufficient protein. Eggs are an excellent source with an impressive 6 grams of lean protein in each large egg.
Eggs also contain the amino acids which enable the body to use protein for other health benefits. They aid in the building of muscle mass, weight loss, bone health and in lowering blood pressure.
4. Eggs Aid in Weight Management
Eggs contain 6 grams of protein which is satiating. This contributes to feeling fuller. You will eat less and manage weight through calorie intake reduction.
Many people may stay away from eating eggs daily for fear of cholesterol levels. Research suggests that 2 eggs daily will not negatively influence your overall general health.
Are Eggs Fruit or Vegetable? Final Thoughts
Eggs are neither fruit nor vegetable. They also cannot be classified as dairy or meat. An egg is an animal product that is an excellent nutritious food and less expensive than other protein options.
For other foods that you may be wondering are classified as fruit or vegetable, check these articles out: