For some reason, eggs and dairy are often grouped together.
Therefore, many people speculate about whether they're a dairy product.
For those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk proteins, it's an important distinction to make.
This article answers the question whether eggs are a dairy product.
Eggs Are Not a Dairy Product
The definition of dairy includes foods produced from the milk of mammals, such as cows and goats ().
Basically, it refers to milk and any food products made from milk, such as cheese, cream, butter and yogurt.
On the contrary, eggs are laid by birds, such as hens, ducks and quail. Birds are not mammals and do not even produce milk.
While eggs may be stored in the dairy aisle and often grouped with dairy, they are not a dairy product.
Bottom Line: Eggs are not a dairy product. Unlike dairy, they are not produced from the milk of mammals.
Why Eggs Are Often Categorized With Dairy
Interestingly, it's common for people to group eggs and dairy together.
Although, given that they are not related, it is rather strange.
Nevertheless, they do have two things in common:
- They are animal byproducts
- They are high in protein
Vegans and some vegetarians avoid them, as they're both derived from animals. That could be one thing adding to the confusion.
Furthermore, in the US and many other countries, eggs are stored in the dairy aisle of grocery stores, which could lead people to believe they're related.
However, this simply has to do with the need to refrigerate eggs, similar to the need to refrigerate dairy products ().
Bottom Line: Eggs and dairy products are often grouped together. They are both animal byproducts, but they are otherwise not related.
You Can Eat Eggs If You're Lactose Intolerant
If you're lactose intolerant, it is perfectly safe to eat eggs.
In fact, it is estimated that about 75% of adults worldwide cannot digest lactose ().
People with lactose intolerance may develop digestive symptoms after eating lactose, such as gas, stomach cramps and diarrhea ().
However, eggs are not a dairy product and don't contain lactose or any milk protein, for that matter.
Therefore, similarly to how eating dairy won't affect those with an egg allergy, eating eggs will not affect those with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance — unless you're allergic to both, that is.
So there's no reason to avoid eggs if you're lactose intolerant or allergic to milk proteins.
Bottom Line: Since eggs are not a dairy product, they don't contain lactose. Therefore, those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk proteins can eat eggs.
Eggs Are Extremely Nutritious And Healthy
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat ().
Despite being relatively low in calories, eggs contain high amounts of good-quality protein, fat and a variety of nutrients.
One large egg contains the following ():
- Calories: 78
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Selenium: 22% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 15% of the RDI
- Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDI
Eggs also contain smaller amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral that your body needs.
What's more, they are among very few dietary sources of choline, a very important nutrient that most people are not getting enough of ().
In addition to being very nutritious, they are very filling and have been shown to be a great weight loss food (, ).
In fact, studies have shown that the simple act of eating eggs for breakfast can cause people to eat up to 500 fewer calories over the course of the day (, ).
Bottom Line: Eggs are low in calories, but they're very nutritious. They're also very filling and may help with weight loss.
Take Home Message
Despite the widespread misunderstanding, eggs are not a dairy product.