Although commonly grouped together, eggs are not dairy products. Dairy products come from the milk of mammals such as cows, whereas eggs come from birds such as hens or ducks.

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People may think eggs are dairy because retailers often sell the two products close together, and people may group them together because they are both animal products and sources of protein.

Additionally, a vegan diet excludes both eggs and dairy, which may cause people to think they are the same type of product.

This article looks at the difference between dairy products and eggs, the potential health benefits of eggs, and whether eggs are safe for people with lactose intolerance.

Dairy products consist of the milk of a mammal, such as cows, goats, or sheep. They include:

Eggs and dairy products share some common properties, which may lead people to assume that eggs are a dairy product.

Dairy products and eggs are both high in protein, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture categorizes them as protein foods. One cup of whole milk contains 8.14 grams (g) of protein, and one large, hard-boiled egg contains 6.3 g of protein.

Both foods may also cause allergies in some people. Milk allergy and egg allergy are two of the most common allergies in children.

Inside the eggshell is albumen, the gel-like, white part of the egg. The egg white contains proteins and is about 88% water.

The egg yolk, the yellow or orange center of the egg, also contains proteins. It has around 68% low-density lipoproteins and 16% high-density lipoproteins (HDLs).

The egg yolk has an outer membrane that prevents it from mixing with the egg white.

Learn more about eggs here.

Eggs contain a wide range of nutrients. One whole, hard-boiled egg contains:

Eggs also contain trace elements of most vitamins and minerals.

Egg yolk contains 147 mg of choline, which is an essential mineral that supports the function of the liver and muscles. Egg yolks are rich in essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid.

The proteins in eggs may have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties, as well as helping to regulate the immune system.

Eggs also contain:

Around 15–25% of people are hyper-responders, which means they may have to limit their egg intake due to the effects of dietary cholesterol on their blood lipids.

For many years, experts thought that foods containing dietary cholesterol were contributing to rises in blood cholesterol. However, research found insufficient evidence to support this theory.

A 2018 article notes that, although eggs contain dietary cholesterol, they also contain high quality protein, micronutrients, and minimal saturated fatty acids. For this reason, consuming eggs in moderation can contribute to a balanced diet.

A 2020 study of 177,000 people across 50 countries found no link between eating one egg per day and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Learn more about eggs and cholesterol here.

Can I eat eggs if I am lactose intolerant?

People with lactose intolerance can eat eggs, as they are not dairy products and do not contain lactose.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends that people with lactose intolerance eat foods such as eggs, and fish such as salmon, as a source of vitamin D.

Ensuring a good intake of calcium is important for people with lactose intolerance. Vitamin D supports the body in absorbing and using calcium.

Learn about 18 dairy-free, calcium-rich foods here.

What can I substitute eggs with in a recipe?

If people do not want to use eggs in a recipe, they can try the following substitutes for one egg:

  • Flaxseed: Mix 1 tablespoon (tbsp) ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water until it makes a thick and creamy mixture.
  • Chia seeds: Mix 1 tbsp chia seeds with 1/3 cup of water. Leave for about 15 minutes until the chia seeds absorb the water and create a thick paste.
  • Banana: Use half of a mashed banana. This is effective in baked goods such as cookies or brownies.
  • Agar agar flakes: Mix 1 tbsp agar agar flakes or powder with 1 tbsp water.
  • Applesauce: Use 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce in baking. This can also work as a replacement for butter or oil.
  • Soft tofu: 1/4 cup soft tofu can add moisture and a creamy texture to recipes. People may also want to try scrambled tofu as a replacement for scrambled egg.
  • Aquafaba: Use 3 tbsp chickpea water, also called aquafaba. Thicken on the stove if it is too watery.

People can also buy egg-replacement products in supermarkets or online. However, it is important to note that egg substitutes will not always contain the same nutrients as eggs would.

Learn more about egg substitutes here.

Eggs are not dairy products, although people often group the two together. However, both are animal products that are high in protein and may be displayed close together in shops.

Dairy products consist of the milk from mammals such as cows, goats, and sheep. Dairy includes milk and milk products, yogurt, cheese, butter, and cream.

Eggs come from birds, such as hens, ducks, or quails, which are not mammals and do not produce milk.

Eggs are high in protein and include many essential vitamins and minerals. They do not contain lactose, so are safe for people with lactose intolerance to eat unless they also have an egg allergy.