Eggs are a delicious and versatile baking ingredient. But if you have an intolerance to eggs, you might need to look for egg alternatives readily available in grocery stores. Even though egg intolerance isn’t fatal, it still is bothersome and can cause discomfort, especially in the digestive tract.

Food intolerances affect the entire population but are more common in younger people – affecting around 8% of children in the general population{1}. It is also possible to develop sudden egg intolerance symptoms even though you’ve never had a problem before.

Having an egg intolerance can impact your diet and nutrients intake, especially if you’re on a vegetarian diet and depend on it for many nutrients. You’ll need to talk to your doctor about supplements to take in that situation.

Some people only have specific egg intolerances like duck egg intolerance symptoms or egg white intolerance symptoms. So, just because you’re intolerant to eggs, it doesn’t mean you could be intolerant to all of them. However, it is safer to avoid all of them at first and work with your doctor to recognize which ones your body can stomach.

Eggs provide nutrients like:

  • Lutein
  • Choline
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin D
  • Selenium
  • Protein

 

Difference between egg intolerance and egg allergy

By looking at the symptoms you experience after consuming eggs, you’ll be able to determine whether you have an egg intolerance or an egg allergy.

 

Egg Intolerance

An egg intolerance has symptoms that mainly affect the digestive tract causing issues like diarrhea and gas. Most intolerance symptoms are similar to those of IBS. Intolerance roots from the inability of the digestive tract to break down and absorb nutrients from a particular food. It can also be a little bit difficult to nail down a food intolerance since, at times, it takes upto days for the symptoms to show up, and by then, you’d have consumed other various foods. That’s why we recommend taking an Egg Intolerance Test, as it will help you nail down your intolerances.

Egg intolerance generates milder symptoms compared to egg allergies, meaning that the severity of the symptoms depends on the number of eggs you consume. If you consume minimal amounts of eggs, that means that you may not even get any symptoms. Egg intolerance symptoms in babies and adults show up in the same manner.

 

Egg allergy

An egg allergy stems from the body attacking compounds found in eggs as if they were viruses or bacteria. Once you consume an egg and are allergic to it, the body starts showing these signs between a few minutes to a few hours after finishing it. These symptoms of egg intolerance stem from the immune system attacking the proteins present in eggs, yolk, or the whole egg. Food allergy symptoms involve the digestive tract and show symptoms on the skin surface.

Compared to egg intolerance, an allergy to eggs is more severe and sometimes even life-threatening. Unlike egg intolerance, which can take hours or even days to show symptoms, an egg allergy can show signs within half an hour of exposure. Getting egg allergy symptoms isn’t dependent on the number of eggs you consume. Any amount of eggs causes these symptoms to appear. Some people are too sensitive to eggs that even touching eggs can cause these adverse reactions.

 

Symptoms of egg Intolerance

Symptoms of egg intolerance tend to show up between two hours to 72 hours after exposure to eggs. To fully know if you’re intolerant to eggs, you must look for symptoms that rotate around the digestive system. These include:

  • Stomach pains or cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion

Besides bowel symptoms, sometimes egg intolerance symptoms in adults can show up in different ways, even though these symptoms are pretty rare for egg intolerance. They include:

  • Headaches and migraine
  • Itchy skin, eczema, acne
  • Swollen joints
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Runny nose or sinusitis

 

What causes egg intolerance?

When you have an intolerance, your digestive system can’t break down egg proteins. When these undigested egg proteins enter the bloodstream, your body will treat them as foreign substances or antigens. Your body then releases excessive antigens in the bloodstream, which triggers issues in the digestive tract. That’s why egg intolerance symptoms show up as digestive issues. Adverse egg intolerance can even result in chronic intestinal inflammation like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Living with an egg intolerance can be tricky because of how uncomfortable it will make you feel. It is recommended that you avoid eggs altogether if you know you have egg intolerance. When checking out ingredient lists, you will also find alternative names for other forms of eggs; hence you must read labels keenly.

 

How to diagnose egg intolerance

Intolerance Test Kit

Our Food Intolerance Test Kit

The process you need to take to diagnose egg intolerance is pretty simple. You’ll need an at-home test that you can easily order online. Order up an egg Intolerance Test delivered to your doorstep within three days. After pricking your finger, you can send back the sample to the labs for analysis, and you’ll get a mail within seven days with the results. These results will show you which foods you’re intolerant towards.

After getting these results, it will be your mission to keep a food diary that will help you avoid any eggs using an elimination diet. But if you’re on a vegetarian diet, you will need to talk to your doctor about this food elimination. Eggs contain lots of proteins and other nutrients in plenty, and that’s why it’s a big part of a vegetarian diet. Your doctor can help you identify which foods you should consume to compensate for egg elimination. Talking to your doctor will prevent you from having deficiencies.

 

How to treat egg intolerance symptoms

The most effective way to treat egg intolerance is by eliminating eggs from your diet. You should start by removing eggs from your diet for at least six weeks to see if the symptoms disappear entirely. If you feel better and no longer suffer from any bowel problems, you can start introducing eggs back into your diet slowly with the help of your doctor.

When eating out, always talk to the server about your egg problems and ask them to eliminate any form of eggs, whether egg whites or yolks. Of course, some people can consume egg whites or egg yolks without any symptoms. But the best way to be sure you’ll keep the egg intolerance symptoms away is by eliminating any form of eggs. Even the powdered version of eggs.

If your child has egg intolerance, you shouldn’t worry much about it because 70% of children outgrow their intolerances and allergies by age sixteen{1}.

 

What to avoid with egg intolerance

When keeping an egg-free diet, you will need to be more aware when eating out and grocery shopping. There are unsuspecting ingredients in processed foods that contain eggs. These include:

  • Egg whites, dried eggs, egg yolks, or powdered eggs
  • Albumin
  • Lysozyme
  • Ovalbumin
  • Ovoglobulin
  • Silicialbuminate
  • Simplesse
  • Ovotransferrin
  • Ovovitelia
  • Apovitellin
  • Globulin
  • Livetin
  • Ovovitellin
  • Vitellin
  • Ovomucin
  • Ovomucoid

If you don’t feel like straining to use the list, an easier way around it is by buying vegan-certified processed foods. That means you won’t need to worry about eggs at all. Vegan products are free of any eggs or animal products. Either way, always keep in mind that since eggs are a common food allergen, the FDA requires that every manufacturer lists them as an ingredient if used. If your recipe requires eggs, you can easily find various egg alternatives in the market. You can find egg whites alternatives as well as egg yolks alternatives.

 

Egg alternatives for egg intolerance

There are various foods that you can use as replacements for eggs in your diet. These include:

  1. Applesauce or pureed fruit (baking)
  2. Tofu (breakfast, sandwiches, scrambling, and smoothies)
  3. Vegan egg replacers
  4. Flax or chia seeds (baking or thickening)
  5. Aquafaba (in place of egg whites)

 

Final thoughts on egg intolerance

Egg intolerance is a relatively common food intolerance which can negatively impact people’s lives when experiencing unwanted symptoms. Unlike allergies, egg intolerances aren’t life-threatening but can be uncomfortable. Always ensure you avoid any meals or processed foods with eggs. The best way to determine whether your symptoms are egg intolerance is by taking a home Intolerance Test that will give you results. Easily order the test kit online and prevent yourself from experiencing egg intolerance symptoms.

 

About the Author

Kate Young joined Healthy Stuff in 2021 as our Laboratory Manager, following 7 years in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) for the Oak Clinic Group in Japan. Whilst working in embryology, Kate worked on 14 different publications, including ‘trophectoderm biopsy and human blastocyst development,’ and talked at the ‘European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology.’ Kate is a trusted member of the Healthy Stuff team, and her attention to detail ensures that each test is in safe hands and able to be validated. Kates enjoys working with the management team and has a close relationship with Dr. Fornari in the lab team. See Kates Healthy Stuff profile here.

 

References

  1. Daniela Manila Bianchi; Daniela Adriano; Sara Astegiano; Silvia Gallina; Maria Caramelli; Lucia Decastelli.. Egg and Milk Proteins as Hidden Allergens in Food: 5-Year (2010 to 2014) Results of Food Allergen Monitoring in Piedmont, Italy.  J Food Prot (2016) 79 (9): 1583–1587. https://doi.org/10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-013.
  2. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Eggs. https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/food/egg/