What’s the deal with egg substitutes? Are they fine to eat or are they filled with weird ingredients?

—Tiffany from Greenbelt, Maryland

ANSWER: Egg substitutes (sold in cartons) are a totally safe and convenient option. Many brands of egg substitute are actually 99% natural egg whites (all yolks removed), along with beta-carotene to give them their yellow color. These egg substitutes are also typically enriched with a host of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, Vitamins D and E, iron, and others, that are found naturally in egg yolks. Some brands may have some added salt and other ingredients that act as thickeners. Although these thickeners may sound weird, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, two consumer watchdog groups, say they are most likely safe. Not to mention, they make up such a small portion (less than one percent) of the ingredients.

If you’d rather skip the added nutrients and keep things totally natural, you can simply pick up a carton of plain egg whites (they’re right next to the yellow egg substitute cartons in the grocery cooler). These contain just one ingredient (100% egg whites)—nothing else added in.

And it’s good to know (if you’re at all concerned about waste) that the companies buy only the egg whites from their suppliers. The suppliers sell the yolks separately to food companies and other manufacturers for a variety of uses.


Have a diet or nutrition question you’d like me to answer? Send it my way.