Dear Alice,

Is egg powder an effective egg substitute for protein?

— Yolking it Up

Dear Yolking it Up,

Egg-cellent question! Egg powder is usually just dehydrated eggs — which makes it a great replacement for when refrigeration isn’t really an option, like when you’re in the woods while camping, or if you don't think you'll finish a dozen eggs before they spoil. Powdered eggs may also be added to some cake mixes, pancake mixes, and the like, so that the home baker doesn't have to use fresh eggs. But, how does the powdery substitute stack up in the protein department? The powdered equivalent of one large egg contains about six grams of high quality protein. And, it's worth noting that the white of an egg is almost a complete protein, which means that egg whites and powdered egg whites contain a nearly all 9 essential amino acids. So, while powdered eggs won’t get you to reach your complete protein needs, they’ll get you most of the way there. In short, powdered eggs are a source that can help you meet your protein needs and can supplement or replace fresh eggs and other protein-rich items in your diet.

When choosing a powdered egg substitute, it really depends on your preferences. For example, many people experiment with powdered egg substitutes in order to lower the cholesterol content of their favorite recipes. A trip to your local grocery store will probably reveal that there are numerous egg substitutes on the market which come in frozen, refrigerated, or powdered form. It’s unclear from your question which type of egg powder you’re referring to, but the good news is that there’s a variety to choose from!

  • Whole powdered eggs are a non-perishable substitute and retain most of the nutritive value of a fresh egg.
  • Powdered egg whites could be a good choice if you're looking for a low-cholesterol alternative to its yolky counterpart.
  • Powdered egg mix is mostly whole egg with a blend of powdered milk and vegetable oil. These egg substitutes can also be used in both baking and savory cooking (like omelets or scrambled eggs) in the same the way you would use fresh eggs.

While these are all options for egg-based protein, check out Vegetarian wants to bulk up with protein foods and Non-meat proteins in the Go Ask Alice! archive if you’re interested in beefing up your protein intake with any non-egg or non-animal alternatives. You might also consider making an appointment with a registered dietician to learn more about your individual protein and nutrient needs. They can work with you to develop a personalized nutrition plan that best fits your lifestyle.

As with many foods, it’s good to keep in mind that balance and variety is the key to getting eggs-actly the nutrients you need!

Alice!

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