Eggs yes, cheese no. (Photo: Corbis Images)
New diets come out all the time, but there’s one in particular that seems to have staying power: vegganism.
Veggans — vegans who eat eggs — are gaining more attention lately thanks to social media. Instagram in particular is home to more than 5,000 posts about vegganism.
But what is a veggan, exactly? And is it really all that different from being a vegetarian?
The two are slightly different in that veggans follow the “rules” of a vegan diet — they avoid animal and dairy products and eat a plant-based diet — they just also eat eggs, New York City registered dietitian Jessica Cording tells Yahoo Health. Vegetarians, on the other hand, drink milk and eat other dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
Registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Yahoo Health that she isn’t shocked by the recent rise in vegannism. “As people become more interested and aware of how food affects both their health as well as the environment, plant-based diets, including veganism, are becoming more and more popular and mainstream,” she explains. “Veganism may be appealing to people, but many find that it is too restrictive.”
The removal of eggs from the diet “don’t” list in the government’s new Dietary Guidelines may also be a factor, registered dietitian-nutritionist Karen Ansel, co-author of The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life, tells Yahoo Health.
Related: Why It Pays to Be a Semi-Vegetarian
There are also important vitamins and nutrients that people can get from adding eggs to a vegan diet, says Cording. Among them iron, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, all of which can be lacking in a traditional vegan diet.
Eggs are also a good source of cholesterol, which Cording notes that we need some of in order for our bodies to undergo certain hormonal processes.
The protein provided by eggs is especially valuable, says Ansel: “Eggs don’t just supply protein, they contain some of the highest quality protein available, meaning our bodies are able to use it especially efficiently.”
And there’s also the fullness factor, which many on a vegan diet say they struggle with. “Having eggs helps you feel more satisfied, and it’s not as much of a shock to your system if you go from having all these animal products and nutrients to being without,” says Cording. “It’s a good transition or more moderate long-term approach.”
Interested in going veggan? Just keep your egg intake in check, since eggs are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Cording says most people will probably benefit from having no more than two eggs a day.
Overall, Rumsey says a veggan diet is a good approach for people who struggle to maintain a traditional vegan diet. “The main reason I find that people give up vegan diets is the lack of options, and the difficulty finding enough protein,” she says. “For those people who want to eat a mainly plant-based diet, but want some more flexibility, adding eggs can be a good option.”