Can vegans eat eggs?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can vegans eat eggs?” and will discuss why some people opted for a vegan lifestyle.

Can vegans eat eggs?

No, vegans can’t eat eggs. Those who follow a vegan diet abstain from consuming any food derived from animals. Since eggs are derived from chicken, it would seem logical to remove them from the diet. Some vegans, on the other hand, are starting to eat specific kinds of eggs. Veggies and veganism are terms used to describe the same thing.

The broiler chicken population far exceeds the total number of other domestic birds in the world, including turkeys, geese and ducks, and also exceeds the largest global populations of wild bird species. The global egg production increased by 450% between 1961 and 2017, to a total of 80 million tonnes (1).

Eggs have a little greenhouse effect

According to studies, the production of eggs produces less CO2-equivalents (CO2-e) per kg as compared to beef, chicken and milk. Global warming potential for the production of 1 kg of eggs was found to be 30–38 kg CO2-e/kg, whereas production of beef resulted in a global warming potential of 75–170 kg CO2-e/kg (2).

A 2009 ADEME research found that eggs pollute five times less than cheese and ten times less than beef than cattle products produced today (kg equivalent carbon). It’s still a lot higher than veggies, but not by much.

Local eggs

If there’s one thing you can count on with eggs, it’s that their produce is sourced from close by. Farmers raising chickens and producing eggs may be found in almost every nation. As a result, when you purchase eggs, you can be certain that they are not only produced in your nation but also within 100 kilometers of where you live.

Is this true of all fruits and vegetables? That is not the case. Bananas, avocados, and pineapples are well-known produce items in the United States. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are something we seldom consider. Sweet potatoes are exported imported to Europe from the United States. Tomatoes, on the other hand, do not grow year-round. What are you going to do now? Everywhere you go, hens will always have eggs to lay.

Studies indicate that the regionalisation, or even localisation, of food production and consumption is more sustainable, reduces the environmental impacts associated with transporting foodstuffs long distances, the potential for degradation of the environment and exploitation of human labor is reduced and it leads to an increased sense of community by building up local networks of producers and consumers (3).

It’s much worse to replace eggs than it is to consume them

Eating eggs, I believe, contributes significantly to CO2 and NH4 emissions. However, if you wish to exclude eggs from your diet, you must do it with something else. And it’s possible that substituting these foods is worse for the environment than just eating the eggs as they are.

Bananas and ‘flax eggs’ are the most frequent egg substitutes. Bananas are often sourced from the continents of Africa or South America. Either flax eggs or chia eggs are produced from flax seeds (as in Russia, China, or Egypt).

There aren’t many studies on banana imports’ carbon impact, but we do know they’ve flown in. Why would I eat fruits that have gone farther than me if I refuse to fly to reduce pollution?

Although fruits are perceived to have lower impacts than some other products, such as meat and dairy, the environmental impacts of fruits depend on various factors. For instance, the impacts increase substantially when fruits are grown in heated greenhouses or are air freighted. Although bananas are transported overseas, they demand refrigeration during transportation as well as ethylene and electricity during ripening. In addition, bananas have great water and pesticide demands for production (4). A study estimated that bananas emit 1.09 kg of CO2-eq/ kg of exported bananas, with maritime transport accounting for 78% of emissions, followed by agricultural production at 15% and the distribution stage at 7% (5). This value is, however, lower than the emissions of CO2-eq/ kg of eggs.

Eating locally also means that you are helping the local economy by purchasing goods made in your area. Having a robust economy in your nation helps keep things stable in the event of an emergency. Without it, things may quickly and severely go downhill.

Why do some individuals choose to live a vegan lifestyle?

For a variety of reasons, some people prefer to eat only vegan food. Ethical, health, and environmental concerns all factor into the decision-making process.

·         Advantages to health

There are many health advantages to eating more plants and reducing or eliminating animal-based meals, such as a reduced risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes. Studies on vegans have shown that they had better weight control, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels than omnivores. They also had a 15% reduced cancer rate (7).m.ortality rate.

·         Favorable effects on Nature

Some people choose a vegan lifestyle because they think it is better for the environment. It turns out that the vegetarian diet is better for the environment than the vegan diet according to Italian research comparing the environmental impact of omnivores with that of egg and dairy eaters and vegetarians (8).

According to the findings, vegan diets often contain more processed plant-based meat and dairy alternatives than non-vegan ones. Additionally, vegans consume more food since they have a higher caloric need.

·         Animal welfare

Animal welfare is a major concern for devout vegans in addition to health and the environment. They oppose the eating or wearing of animals for any purpose, including clothing. They believe that contemporary agricultural methods damage and inflict cruelty on animals.

A few examples: To control and enhance their egg production, hens in commercial egg-producing poultry farms are often housed in cramped indoor cages with their beaks trimmed and encouraged to shed (9).

Can you be a flexible vegan?

The answer to this question depends on your level of adaptability as a vegan. Including eggs in a vegan diet technically makes it non-vegan. It’s referred to as ovo-vegetarian instead. Even yet, some vegans are willing to consume eggs as part of their diet. Even while chickens lay eggs as a natural process, it does no damage to the hens.

Ninety percent of vegans questioned said they were vegan because they were concerned for animal welfare. The same proportion said they would eat more animal products if animal welfare standards were improved, however (6).

If you’re “vegan,” you may be open to eating eggs from hens or fowl you know are reared responsibly, such as free-range or those in your backyard farm as a companion animal.

One of the difficulties of following a vegan diet for an extended period is that it is very restrictive. Six hundred meat-eaters participated in research that revealed typical obstacles to cutting off animal foods such as flavor, familiarity, convenience, and cost.

Those concerned about limitations yet wanting to adopt a vegan diet for health and animal welfare reasons will find that a flexible vegan diet that includes eggs addresses many of these problems.

Other FAQs about Vegans that you may be interested in.

Can you eat fish on a vegan diet?

d’vegan menu

Do vegans actually make a difference?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can vegans eat eggs?” and discussed why some people opted for a vegan lifestyle.

References

  1. Gunnarsson, Stefan, et al. Systematic mapping of research on farm-level sustainability in egg and chicken meat production. Sustainab, 2020, 12, 3033. 
  2. De Vries, Marion, and Imke JM de Boer. Comparing environmental impacts for livestock products: A review of life cycle assessments. Livest sci, 2020, 128, 1-11.
  3. Cowell, Sarah J., and Stuart Parkinson. Localisation of UK food production: an analysis using land area and energy as indicators. Agric Ecosys Environ, 2003, 94, 221-236.
  4. Frankowska, Angelina, Harish Kumar Jeswani, and Adisa Azapagic. Life cycle environmental impacts of fruits consumption in the UK. J environ manage, 2019, 248, 109111.
  5. Coltro, Leda, and Thiago U. Karaski. Environmental indicators of banana production in Brazil: Cavendish and Prata varieties. J clean prod, 2019, 207, 363-378.
  6. Janssen, Meike, et al. Motives of consumers following a vegan diet and their attitudes towards animal agriculture. Appetite, 2016, 105, 643-651.
  7. Dinu, Monica, et al. Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: a systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Crit rev food sci nutr, 2017, 57, 3640-3649.
  8. Kustar, Anna, and Dalia Patino-Echeverri. A Review of Environmental Life Cycle Assessments of Diets: Plant-Based Solutions Are Truly Sustainable, even in the Form of Fast Foods. Sustainab, 2021, 13, 9926.  
  9. Ochs, Daniel S., et al. Consumer perceptions of egg-laying hen housing systems. Poultry Sci, 2018, 97, 3390-3396.