Egg Sensitivities – How Do You Know if You Have Them

Eggs are a great source of nutrition and a food that should be included in your diet. In the past eggs have gotten a bad rap and we were told that we should stay away from them because they would cause our cholesterol to increase. It is true that eating whole eggs cause your cholesterol to go up, to typically only impacts the good cholesterol, HDL.

Eating whole eggs has a variety of benefits, including improving your cholesterol levels. They are among the most nutritious foods you can consume, so it would be reasonable for everyone wants to include them in their diet. Afterall, they taste great and are used to make so many different types of foods, and if you are trying to avoid eggs, you have to be cautious of the foods you buy.

But why would you want to avoid them? Could you possibly be sensitive to them? Or intolerant to them? Or could you be allergic to them?

Although eggs are highly nutritious, there are many people who can’t consume them due to sensitivity, intolerance, or even allergies. There are also many people who may not realize they have one of these conditions, whether it be because eggs have never been a staple in their diet or the symptoms are light, and they brush it off. Eggs are everywhere, and you could be consuming them without even knowing it.

Knowing whether or not you should be consuming eggs is good to know, otherwise, you could end up doing harm when it could easily be prevented.

In this post, you’ll learn…

  • The difference between sensitivity, intolerance, and allergy
  • Why you should tell your doctor of your allergy or intolerance
  • Surprising foods eggs hide in
  • Best egg alternative hacks

EGG SENSITIVITY

Although many people would consider an egg sensitivity and intolerance to be the same, like when referring to gluten intolerance, I am including it in its own category because of the effect it has on cholesterol for some people.

For most people, consuming whole eggs raises their good cholesterol, HDL, but for some people, who are more sensitive, it can also raise their LDL or their bad cholesterol. About 30% of the population will see a small rise in their LDL, and if you already have high cholesterol levels, you may want just to consume egg whites, which don’t have any cholesterol and leave out the yolks [1].

If you have had issues with your cholesterol in the past and are eating whole eggs, be sure to check in with your doctor to make sure your LDL remains at a healthy level, otherwise, you may want to reconsider your yolk consumption.

EGG INTOLERANCE

While some people are sensitive to eggs and the yolk can negatively affect their cholesterol, people who are intolerant should not consume them because they have a difficult time digesting them. This can cause many unpleasant side effects.  

If you are egg intolerant, you may notice that your symptoms are not sudden, nor are they always the same. You may eat a little bit of egg and be fine, and another time eat a lot and be sick.

You may not even be intolerant to the entire egg. Some people have an intolerance to the yolk, while most people have an intolerance to the egg white. This means, if you are intolerant to the yolk only, you can still make many egg recipes using only egg whites.

People who are intolerant to eggs may see the following symptoms [2]:

  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain/cramping
  • Headaches
  • Acne
  • Heartburn
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty breathing

EGG ALLERGY

An egg allergy is different than an intolerance, and the two are often confused. Unlike an intolerance, where the body has a hard time digesting and absorbing the nutrition from the food, an allergy draws an immune response from the body. In this case, the immune system mistakes the proteins in the eggs as harmful and responds by releasing histamines.  

Egg allergies are one of the most common allergies in children, although most grow out of it. It is estimated that 2% of children are born with egg allergies, but only 30% of those children carry that allergy into adulthood. Those who do can be allergic to either the egg whites, the yolk, or both [3].

Unlike an intolerance, the symptoms come on suddenly, rather than gradually. If you are experiencing an allergy you could see these following symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Watery Eyes
  • Skin irritations (rash, hives, swelling)
  • Diarrhea
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Difficulty breathing

EGGS IN VACCINES? 

If you have an allergic reaction or intolerance to eggs, be sure to let your doctor know, especially before receiving a vaccination. When asked about allergic reactions at the doctor’s office, most people think of medication, but an egg allergy can be just as important as many vaccines contain eggs.

Receiving a vaccine with eggs in it could result in various reactions and symptoms from the above lists. If you are allergic to eggs, this does not mean that you will miss out on the vaccine as most clinics are prepared for and equipped to deal with allergic reactions to the vaccine [4].

SURPRISING PLACES EGGS MAY BE HIDING

Vaccines aren’t the only place eggs can be hiding, and they are also often found many common foods that we either forget are made with eggs, or we don’t expect. Here are some places eggs may be hiding:

  • Pudding
  • Baked goods
  • Battered and fried foods
  • Mayonnaise and other condiments
  • Ice cream
  • Caesar salad
  • Egg substitutes
  • Some cappuccinos (ask your barista if your cappuccino is made with eggs)
  • Marshmallows
  • Many candy bars
  • Meatloaf/meatballs
  • Pasta
  • Frosting
  • Soufflés

Eggs can also be hiding under various names, as many products use egg proteins. If you are trying to avoid eggs, keep an eye out for the following names:

  • Vitellin
  • Livetin
  • Lysozyme
  • Simplesse
  • Lecithin
  • Globulin
  • Albumen/albumin
  • Ovalbumin
  • Ovovitellin

If you are sensitive, intolerant or allergic to eggs, knowing what foods they are hiding it can be tricky as it seems they are everywhere. This is where a Custom Meal Plan can help. If you are trying to get to a specific goal and trying to avoid eggs, let your nutritionist know that you cannot have eggs and they will be able to create a plan that will help you get to your goals and ensure that you stay away from eggs.

TOP HACKS FOR EGG REPLACEMENTS

If you cannot eat eggs, this does not mean that you can never enjoy the foods that typically contain eggs. Unless found at a vegan store or restaurant, or you are purchasing a vegan product, chances are you will have to make your own alternatives to various foods.

Here are some of the best alternatives you can use instead of eggs:

  1. Chia and flax seeds – This is a great replacement in baked cooks, such as cakes and cookies. To replace the egg, grind your seeds and use 1 tablespoon mixed with 3 tablespoons of water for every egg needed. For example, if you need 2 eggs, you will want to use 2 tablespoons of ground chia or flax seeds and 6 tablespoons of water. Mix these together and put them in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding to your recipe.
  2. Fruit puree – Fruit puree is a great substitute for eggs in baked goods. Keep in mind, however, that it will add additional flavor to your recipe so plan accordingly. For every egg in a recipe, use ¼ cup of fruit puree. Keep in mind this will add sweetness to your recipe.
  3. Banana – Instead of eggs in baked goods, bananas are a good alternative. Bananas are not only a good egg alternative, but also a good alternative to fruit because it will be less sweet. If you are watching your macros, keep in mind that bananas are also a carb, so plan accordingly. To replace eggs, take a ripe banana, mash it and use ¼ cup for every egg that is called for.
  4. Applesauce – This is another alternative to use in baked goods, but be sure to keep it healthy by using unsweetened applesauce with no added sugar. To use this as a replacement, add ¼ cup of applesauce for every egg needed in a recipe. Keep in mind that even without sugar, this may make your recipe a bit sweeter.
  5. Baking Soda and Vinegar – This is a good alternative if you are trying to avoid the sweetness that comes with using fruit puree, banana, or applesauce. Use 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every egg that is needed in your recipe.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT SENSITIVITY, INTOLERANCE, OR ALLERGY

If you think you may have an egg sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy, stop eating eggs and talk to your doctor. They will be able to test your cholesterol and let you know whether or not you should avoid eggs. They will also be able to test you to see if you have an allergy to them.

If you are getting on a meal plan, whether you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle, let your nutritionist know of your suspicions, and they can remove any foods with eggs from your plan until you are cleared by your doctor. This way you don’t have to worry if you are going to unknowingly consume them.

Knowing whether or not you can safely eat eggs is important to know. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your doctor to be sure that it is eggs are the cause, as it can also be a symptom of other underlying issued. In the meantime, remove eggs from your diet to be safe.

Lauren Epler | View All Posts by Lauren

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