Packaged egg whites may have half the calories, but there’s some other stuff in there too
Along with the rise of high-protein and low-carb diets, it's become normal for health-conscious folks to order egg-white omelets. Way back when, celebrities and scientists blamed yolks for health complications like high cholesterol and heart disease, and the public listened. As people chose to pour pre-separated egg whites into their morning scramble instead of cracking actual eggs, egg whites slowly became so in demand there was actually a shortage of them in 2014. As of the past year or so, fat may be back in some people’s good graces, but if you’re still a diehard no-yolker, here’s what you need to know about cartoned egg whites.
Although there are are several companies selling packaged egg whites, the most well-known is likely Egg Beaters. In a Kleenex-vs-tissue situation, most egg whites are often even referred to as "egg beaters." So what exactly is in that colorful carton?
“All Egg Beaters products are made with all-natural egg whites,” says the Egg Beaters website. While they maintain that their “100% Egg Whites” flavor is just that, pasteurized liquid egg whites and nothing else, their “Original” flavor is 99 percent egg whites. According to their website, Original Egg Beaters are “seasoned” (likely referring to the “spices, salt, onion powder” section of the ingredients list) and colored with beta-carotene to look and taste like the real deal. “Some people don’t even notice the difference!” claims the site.
Original Egg Beaters have added vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in egg yolks, like iron, vitamin E, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B12, folic acid, and biotin—essentially all the good stuff in the yolk, with none of the disputed "bad" cholesterol. To make the product shelf-stable, Original Egg Beaters also contains "calcium (sulfate)," a food stabilizer, as well as guar and xanthan gums, which are thickeners and stabilizers.
While none of the additives in Egg Beaters are harmful, don’t forget that whole shelled eggs contain all the vitamins and minerals, and none of the additives. Unless specifically told by a doctor to avoid whole eggs, if you prefer to have an egg yolk or two with breakfast instead of opening a carton of whites, you should feel confident that you’re not doing anything bad for your body.