You might have watched Rocky movies and seen Rocky drink raw eggs before his morning run or may observe your grandparents eat raw eggs. However, the question remains, is it safe to put a raw egg in a smoothie?
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers it safe to use raw eggs only if pasteurized. This is because unpasteurized raw eggs may contain pathogenic Salmonella, a prevalent cause of food poisoning. It is also better to eat eggs cooked because the protein in cooked eggs is more digestible than in raw eggs.
A study found that 90% of the protein in cooked eggs was absorbed compared to only 50% in raw eggs.
So, is it safe to put a raw egg in a smoothie? Let’s discuss this.
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The Dangers of Raw Eggs
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Salmonella contamination may be a problem with about 1 in every 30,000 eggs.
Even a minimal risk is not worth taking in this situation, and there is no way to avoid taking a minimal risk when you eat a raw egg. You cannot tell from looking at eggs whether they are contaminated.
The risk of getting a contaminated egg being is generally low; however, there is still the risk. Food manufacturers work hard at cleaning and testing, but sometimes things still get through.
Contaminated eggs with salmonella cause about 79,000 cases of food poisoning each year, according to estimates by the Food and Drug Administration.
It is not only the potential for food poisoning that makes raw eggs an unsafe choice, but it is also a better idea to eat eggs cooked because your body can digest more of the protein from them.
A 1998 small study analyzed the consumption of protein from cooked and raw eggs in 5 people. And the researchers found that 90% of the protein in cooked eggs was absorbed; however, only 50% was in raw eggs, which means that protein in cooked eggs was more digestible.
Our body absorbs 50 to 60 percent of the protein from raw eggs; however, that number goes up to 91 percent when you cook your eggs, according to a 1998 study issued in the Journal of Nutrition.
Is It Safe to Blend Raw Eggs in a Smoothie?
Consuming raw eggs may expose you to salmonella or other food-borne pathogens; however, if you still want to add raw eggs to your smoothies, instead of eating cooked eggs, choose pasteurized eggs. Pasteurized eggs are the best and safest choice when it comes to consuming raw eggs, according to experts.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises against consuming raw eggs, including brown, white, organic, free-range, and non-GMO.
A pasteurized egg is sufficiently heated to destroy any potentially harmful bacteria, such as salmonella. FYI: Pasteurization doesn’t change the taste, texture, or chemical properties of the egg; it just makes it safer if you want to blend raw eggs in your smoothie.
The best way to prevent food poisoning from salmonella is to cook your eggs to a safe internal temperature. For eggs, that’s 160 F or higher.
If you are looking to build muscle, it will be better to add a high-quality protein powder than raw eggs. Because raw eggs are less digestible and may cause you to miss out on most of that high protein and vitamin content.
The United States Department of Agriculture does not recommend eating raw shell eggs that are not cooked or undercooked because Salmonella bacteria may be present.
Even if the actual risk of an egg carrying salmonella is relatively low, it’s still not worth taking your chances on.
Discuss with your doctor before consuming raw eggs if you are currently under medical care or are taking daily medication.
Pros and Cons of Eating Raw Eggs
For thousands of years, eggs have been considered foods of high nutritional value for humans and widely consumed worldwide.
Benefits of Eggs
Let’s first discuss the benefits of consuming eggs:
The nutritional information of eggs will vary slightly depending on how you prepare them. The table below from the USDA outlines the nutritional values of 1 large whole, raw egg.
Egg yolk is highly nutritious and provides the essential amino acids you need and many vitamins and other micronutrients, such as choline. One large egg offers approximately 27% of the daily value of choline.
Eggs also include high amounts of fatty acids, which also help your body’s metabolism. Check out the table for more raw egg nutritional information.
|Nutritional Values||Fresh, raw egg (50g – 1.77 ounces)|
|Saturated fat||1.563 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||1.829 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||0.956 g|
|Vitamin A||270 IU|
|Vitamin D||41 IU|
2- Help You Maintain Your Muscle Mass
Eggs are a great source of protein. Consuming foods with protein can help you build and maintain strong muscles, which becomes more difficult as we age.
Eggs represent an essential food source, especially for populations such as the elderly, pregnant women, children, convalescents, and sports-training people, revealed a study.
3- Contains Healthy Fat
While eggs contain saturated fat, they also provide monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, which are considered “good” fats because studies show that they help lower your LDL or “bad” cholesterol and boost heart health.
The American Heart Association suggests limiting saturated fats to about 13 grams per day if you typically consume approximately 2,000 calories daily.
4- Promotes Eye Health
Eggs are also rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect our eyes from macular degeneration, an age-related loss of vision, revealed a study.
5- Supports Brain Health and Development
Eggs are also an excellent source of Choline, and the high amounts of choline found in eggs are essential factors of brain function.
Choline deficiency can cause muscle damage, liver damage, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Disadvantages of Eating Raw Eggs
Every coin has two sides, and it is the same as the consumption of raw eggs.
6- Raw Eggs Can Be Contaminated
The most significant disadvantage of eating raw eggs is the risk of contamination, mainly the risk of Salmonella.
Salmonella is a group of bacteria that’s the most frequently reported cause of food poisoning. Because poultry naturally carries salmonella, egg whites, and egg yolks can become contaminated with the bacteria before the shell even develops during egg production. Also, shells can become contaminated after the egg is laid to contact with the chicken’s feces.
Salmonella is the principal pathogen of concern linked with eggs and egg products, according to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ).
7- Consuming Raw Eggs Can Be Potentially Dangerous
Consuming raw eggs can be potentially dangerous if they carry Salmonella. Unfortunately, about one in 20,000 eggs does. Salmonella is a bacteria generally found in food, causing diarrhea, fever, cramps, and vomiting.
If you are eating raw eggs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggests using pasteurized eggs, which have been heated up enough to kill the Salmonella bacteria that was potentially inside.
8- Egg Allergies
Egg allergies are one of the most common allergies, particularly in children. Symptoms may include mild rash or stomach pains and, in severe cases, may include anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition.
Experts estimate that about 2 percent of kids are allergic to eggs. Fortunately, studies also reveal that about 70 percent of children with an egg allergy will outgrow the condition by age 16, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
If you suspect an egg allergy, ask for personalized advice from a qualified healthcare professional.
9- Digestion of Raw Eggs
Aside from the potential risk of salmonella associated with eating raw eggs, it’s more beneficial to consume eggs cooked instead of drinking them raw because the protein is more easily digestible.
Our bodies only digest 50 percent of an egg’s protein when consuming it raw versus 90 percent when consuming it cooked, revealed a 1998 study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Therefore, if you struggle with digestion, consuming raw eggs may not be best for you.
Eggs contain a protein called avidin that prevents the proper digestion of the B vitamin biotin. Our body uses biotin to keep our hair, nails, and nervous system healthy and metabolize the carbohydrates we eat.
Tips For Handling Raw Eggs
Handling eggs is a critical healthy factor regarding raw eggs. Carefully handling eggs will help you reap the benefits of eating eggs and potentially decrease the disadvantages of consuming raw eggs. Here are a few tips for successfully handling raw eggs.
- Whenever possible, consume raw egg foods immediately after preparing them.
- Only keep raw egg dishes for one day and refrigerate at all times. Keeping raw eggs at room temperature is bacteria’s best friend.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after touching uncooked eggs to avoid any risk of transferring bacteria from the eggshell surface to other foods in your kitchen.
- If a shell falls into the egg bowl you plan to consume uncooked, it is safest to throw it out and start again.
- Never buy cracked or dirty eggs, and if one breaks while you are carrying them home, it is safest to throw them out.
- Store your eggs in the fridge all time, inside the carton you purchased them in. It will keep the eggs fresh for longer and allow you to check the best-before date on the box.
- Throw out any eggs past their expiration date.
How to Make a Green Smoothie With Raw Egg?
Smoothies are an excellent way to prepare a nutrient-rich meal quickly. Instead of adding protein powders that contain artificial sweeteners and enhancers, you can add a fresh egg to your fruit smoothie. And here’s how you can make a delicious green smoothie with raw egg:
- Crack one or two pasteurized shell eggs into your clean blender. And remember to choose pasteurized eggs to prevent any dangerous microorganisms, including Salmonella.
- Wash 1/2 to 1 cup of freshly blended fruit and add to your blender. You can chop larger portions of fruit into big chunks, such as cutting strawberries in half.
- Fruit commonly used in smoothies includes blueberries, lemons, raspberries, bananas, strawberries, oranges, limes, peaches, and mangos.
- For extra nutrition, you can also add vegetables, including spinach.
As discussed earlier, eggs are rich in high-quality protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. But always, eating raw eggs brings the risk of exposure to salmonella or other food-borne pathogens, and choosing pasteurized shell eggs or egg substitutes will minimize this risk.
Is It Safe to Put a Raw Egg in a Smoothie or Not?
Eggs are a nutritious, protein-rich food that you consume, either cooked or raw. In many cases, the FDA recommends using pasteurized eggs.
However, if you prefer to use unpasteurized eggs, it is essential to follow the FDA-safe handling instructions found on egg cartons.
People can get very sick from consuming raw eggs because of Salmonella contamination. Therefore, older adults, pregnant women, infants, and immunocompromised people should avoid eating raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs.