Are Eggs Dairy? NO. And Here’s Why

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Published: March 26, 2021 Modified: June 17, 2021
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Are eggs dairy? It’s a commonly asked question that has a simple answer. Contrary to popular belief, eggs are NOT dairy! Asking this question is the same as asking whether fish is meat or not. It’s one of those popular food debates that make people really wonder what category a certain food belongs to. 

Maybe we consider protein-rich eggs as dairy because they have always been grouped together with typical ingredients like milk, cheese, and other dairy products. So, we’re led to believe that eggs are part of the same dairy food group. Well in this article, we’re here to debunk the question and myths about these two products.

What Is Dairy?

dairy products on a table, cheese, cream, and milk

Flickr | Marco Verch

To answer the question of are eggs dairy or not, let us first properly define the word dairy. Dairy products come from mammals that produce milk. Most of the dairy products that we know of originate from farm animals like cows, goats, and even sheep. However, our dominant source of dairy is cows. Their milk is processed to produce a variety of beverage and food-based dairy products like yogurt, cheese, cream, and butter. Lastly, these dairy products are produced in dairy farms where you’ll most likely find the aforementioned animals. 

So, in summary, when we talk about dairy products, they refer to any food or beverage that comes from the milk of mammals.  

So, Are Eggs REALLY Not Dairy?

chicken with eggs

It’s clear that eggs are not part of the dairy food group. Eggs are produced by animals that can lay eggs. These are female birds, fishes, and reptiles. But, of course, the eggs that we are usually referring to are the ones laid by female chickens or hens. 

It is true that both come from animals, but really the main difference is that they come from different types of animals. Belonging to the bird class, chickens lay eggs, while mammals give birth and produce milk to feed their young. 

Furthermore, chicken eggs are what we consume on a regular basis. Eggs are a common ingredient used in most baking and cooking recipes. For instance, eggs are usually cooked and served during breakfast. You can make a lot of delicious and easy breakfast meals with chicken eggs like some classic sunny side up eggs or a herb-infused creamy egg salad recipe. Hence, the confusing query “are eggs dairy?” is a really easy question to answer after knowing the difference between the two products. Indeed, eggs are not part of the dairy group. In fact, they are categorized as poultry. A poultry farm raises birds to produce both meat and chicken for food consumption, so there really is no dairy involved.

Why Are Eggs Considered Dairy by Some People?

eggs inside a plastic egg tray with whisk on the side

So, why do people keep asking the question: are eggs dairy? Why do they consider eggs as dairy in the first place? It may be because of their similar health benefits, the fact that they are always grouped together as animal products, and how they are both often used to make baked goods and other similar dishes. 

Firstly, both dairy and eggs are rich in protein and are considered real foods. This makes them a popular food choice for high-protein diets. Furthermore, they also fall under the same category as “animal-produced goods”, especially when you’re buying from your local farmer’s market.

Hence, many simply assume that eggs are dairy since they both come from farm animals. So, a person on a vegan diet simply avoids eating both, since they’re both animal-based products. Some people on vegetarian diets also refrain from eating both, although a number of them still enjoy it since most vegetarians only abstain from eating animal flesh. 

Lastly, there were previous instances where dairy farms also produce eggs. So when the markets receive the goods, these are always brought together. In grocery stores, eggs are often placed right next to or in the same aisle as the dairy section. People also often buy the two ingredients together since they are common ingredients for making a scrumptious strawberry cheesecake recipe and other baked goods. But contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to make yummy dairy-free desserts.

Can You Eat Eggs If You Have Dairy Allergy?

bunch of eggs inside a wooden basket

Since eggs are not dairy products nor do they contain any milk, then it’s safe to say that you can eat it even if you’re allergic to dairy.

However, if you’re still unsure, then it’s best that you first consult a professional health care worker about a possible egg or dairy allergy. Getting tested for a dairy allergy will often include testing for an egg allergy as well, so it’s possible that you can be allergic to both. So it’s better to be sure and to get tested to be on the safe side! 

On the other hand, if you’re not allergic to this protein-packed food, then feel free to indulge in some delicious egg recipes. Try the classic eggs Benedict dish or an egg drop soup to make your morning breakfast extra delightful! 

Can You Eat Eggs If You’re Lactose Intolerant?

seven brown eggs inside an egg carton

Again, eggs are dairy-free. They do not contain any milk or lactose which is the sugar that is present in milk and, therefore, dairy products. So yes, you can eat and enjoy a serving of a creamy tomato and egg bruschetta or an omelette cheese tomato for breakfast even if you’re lactose intolerant since eggs are lactose-free.

Being lactose intolerant means that you can’t properly digest certain amounts of milk or dairy products as it contains the said sugar. However, people have varying degrees of lactose intolerance. Some people can consume small portions of dairy without experiencing any problems, while others really can’t. But to be on the safer side, it’s better to consult a doctor first about the possibility of being allergic to eggs as well.

It’s Time We Stop Confusing Eggs For Dairy

So, are eggs dairy? Nope. This misconception about eggs being dairy is an interesting question that has an easy explanation. The bottom line is that eggs belong in the poultry category and are from birds. Meanwhile, dairy contains milk-based products that come from cows, goats, and sheep.

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