Egg Beaters and other egg substitutes are great for those who must watch their cholesterol. According to the USDA, one large egg has 213 milligrams of cholesterol and it’s all in the yolk. The daily recommended cholesterol limit is less than 300 milligrams. That means that if you are watching your cholesterol, one egg a day is acceptable as long as you monitor what you eat and avoid cholesterol the rest of the day. An easier route seems to be to use egg substitutes. Nonetheless, there are trade-offs in using Egg Beaters and other egg substitutes in place of real eggs.
Egg Beaters and other substitutes have no fats and no cholesterol. Substitutes are useful either as total replacements for eggs or as occasional replacements to reduce egg consumption throughout the week. Here are some nutrition pros and cons.
- Pro: Substitute products, such as the Egg Beaters brand, are made up of 99 percent egg whites. These products remove the problems of real eggs which are in the yolks: extra calories, fat and cholesterol. With egg substitutes, nutrients are added to make up for the ones that are lost in doing away with the yolk. Egg substitutes may contain iron, zinc, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamins A, E, B6 and B12.
Con: Since they are almost entirely egg whites, these substitutes are of no use to you if you are allergic to egg whites.
Real eggs have a longer shelf life than egg substitutes, once the package of substitutes is opened. You need to watch the package for a sell-by date and use it up in seven days. You are not confined to using substitutes just for scrambled eggs, so the package can get a lot of use in that period. The product can be used in many recipes. Here are some cooking pros and cons:
- Pro: You cannot match the benefits of substitutes when it comes to easy preparation and minimal cleanup. Nothing seems easier than opening a carton and pouring. There are no stray shells on the countertop, on the floor or in the pan, and there are no messy bowls to wash.
Con: Chefs praise real egg yolks as binders for creamy sauces. The yolk, thanks to its fat and lecithin, is suitable for certain types of baking as well as sauces. Unless the egg substitute has added lecithin, the substitute is not as versatile.
Matters of Opinion
You will always find natural-food proponents who are wary of food substitutes of any kind. Critics point out that egg substitutes have ingredients such as added flavoring, gums, and yellow coloring.To them, the egg is “real” food just as nature intended.
You might find yourself on the other side, arguing that, as a matter of health, egg substitutes are better because you do not have to worry about salmonella. Whichever you use, eggs or egg substitutes, you are mindful of the fitness payback in eating food that delivers nutrition and energy. A breakfast of oatmeal, eggs, whether real eggs or substitutes, and meatless sausages beats a breakfast of chocolate croissants, home fries or syrup-laced pancakes. In that light, you cannot do much wrong no matter which “egg” you choose.