Whether eaten on their own or used as an ingredient in another food product, eggs are a staple of our diets. Chicken eggs are most commonly sold and used in food production, but duck and goose eggs may be used as an alternative.
Eggs are a good source of protein, contain omega 3 and are full of lots of other vitamins, but egg intolerance is also one of the most common food sensitivities in the US.
What’s the difference between an egg allergy and egg intolerance?
It’s important to note that egg intolerance is different from an egg allergy.
Allergic reactions are caused by an immune system response to substances your body can’t tolerate. The symptoms of an egg allergy are similar to reactions caused by other allergies, for example itchy rashes or swelling around the face and throat. In severe cases, an egg allergy will lead to anaphylaxis, which can be very dangerous.
If you have an egg intolerance your body will still have an adverse reaction if you consume any food products that contain egg, but it will primarily affect your gastrointestinal system. The most common symptoms of egg intolerance include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Abdominal cramps, pain or bloating
Other symptoms that could be an indicator of egg intolerance include:
- Eczema, acne, itchiness and/or rashes
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Joint pain
- Respiratory complaints
Note that egg intolerance is a non-life threatening condition.
What causes egg intolerance?
Egg intolerance is a result of the body being unable to digest certain egg proteins either in the whites, yolks or both.
Egg is found in a wide range of products because it’s not only used for its flavour, but also as a binding or thickening agent. As a result, egg is regularly found in bread and cakes, quiches, mayonnaise, a wide range of desserts including ice cream, sauces and spreads, and even some meat products.
How to diagnose an egg intolerance
Egg intolerance in adults is often identifiable if you consistently experience any of the above symptoms after consuming eggs or food products containing eggs. However, these symptoms don’t always present themselves immediately, which can make it difficult to work out exactly what food you’re sensitive to.
Our Complete Sensitivity Test looks at just under 1,000 items, including food and non-food products. We’ll analyse your hair sample using bioresonance therapy and come back to you within 3-5 days with a comprehensive sensitivity report. You can view a sample report here.
If you suspect you’re suffering from egg intolerance, an alternative method for diagnosing it is to eliminate egg and egg products from your diet. You can keep track of symptoms and what you’re eating with a food diary.
If your symptoms are alleviated you can slowly reintroduce foods and continue to track the impact they have. If the symptoms persist even after removing eggs from your diet it’s likely you have a sensitivity to something else.
All of our tests include a free food diary template and elimination diet advice.
Our Complete Sensitivity Test is categorised under Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAMs) which includes any therapy that falls outside of mainstream medicine. After receiving your results, we recommend seeking the advice of your GP.
How to diagnose egg intolerance in children and babies
If your child is suffering from regular stomach problems you can use the same strategy of food elimination and track the results in a food diary.
We offer our Complete Sensitivity Hair Test for children aged six and over. We recommend children under the age of six that are experiencing the symptoms of food sensitivity be seen by a physician.
If your child is suffering from egg intolerance there’s a chance they’ll grow out of it.
How you can manage an egg intolerance
There’s no guaranteed medical cure for egg intolerance. This means managing the condition requires food elimination and tracking of what you’re eating and the symptoms you experience as a result. However, it is possible to overcome sensitivity to eggs if you remove them from your diet for a period of weeks before reintroducing them slowly.
Make sure you check the ingredients list on the food products you buy and ask whether dishes are cooked with eggs when visiting restaurants. However, you should be aware that the following are also names used for egg:
- Lecithin (E322)
- Egg derived lysozyme (E1105)
If you’re unsure if a food contains eggs the way to be sure is to look for products marked as vegan. Below are some popular egg alternatives if you’re trying to avoid them entirely:
A versatile food that is high in protein, tofu is a popular alternative to eggs for use in breakfast or in sandwiches, while it can also be scrambled or blended.
Flax or chia seeds
If you want to bake without using eggs, both flax and chia seeds are a suitable replacement when mixed with water. Combine a tablespoon of the seeds with 2.5 tablespoons of water to replace one egg. You’ll need to let the mixture sit for five minutes before adding to the recipe.
Unsweetened applesauce and pureed fruit
Another replacement for eggs in the baking process is unsweetened applesauce and other pureed fruit. This is because the pectin in fruit can replace animal fats, acting as an emulsifier, filler, stabilizer, thickener and a gelling agent.
Vegan egg replacement products
You can buy pre-made vegan egg replacers in-store or online. These products are made from plant-based starches, soy, nuts or seeds.
If your recipe just calls for egg whites you can use aquafaba, the liquid that results from cooking legumes such as chickpeas.
It’s important to remember that eggs are a good source of protein and other nutrients, so if you do have to avoid them, make sure you’re getting them from other sources. If you eliminate eggs from your diet it could result in you being low on any of the following:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
Speak to your doctor about whether you’re deficient in these key nutrients and which other foods you should be consuming to make up for it. You can also incorporate over-the-counter supplements.
Speak to one of our health and wellbeing experts today, or purchase your Complete Sensitivity Test to find out if you’re suffering from egg intolerance or a sensitivity to any of the 970 items we test for. We offer a 6-week, 100% satisfaction guarantee, so what are you waiting for?
Written by Bev Walton, BSc Nutritional Science
I achieved a First-Class Honours degree in BSc Nutritional Science, Nutrition Sciences from the University of Reading and now have over 35 years experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for magazines and websites as well as ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I’m also a proud member of the Guild of Food writers.