JUST Egg is a popular vegan alternative to eggs. The company has excellent branding and is available in retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
But what are the ingredients in JUST Egg? Is it healthier than regular eggs? Does it have any unhealthy ingredients? And which JUST Egg product is the healthiest of the three different versions?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in JUST Egg based on medical research to give our take on whether the products are healthy or unhealthy.
We'll also highlight a salmonella recall faced by JUST, share a non-vegan couple's taste test of the product, and explain whether dietary cholesterol is actually unhealthy (for consumers considering JUST Egg for health and not ethical reasons).
JUST Egg Ingredient Review
JUST Egg is made primarily of mung bean protein isolate, which is not a complete protein. Mung bean proteins lack two of the essential amino acids that humans need to obtain from diet (while eggs are a complete protein).
Canola oil was shown in a 2020 meta-study to improve cholesterol levels. We typically recommend avoiding seed oils and using extra virgin olive oil instead, but canola oil can be healthy when consumed in moderation.
JUST Egg does have a few ingredients we would recommend avoiding for health reasons.
Added sugar is shown in medical research to be associated with increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease, and even though there is a small amount (under 1 gram per serving), there is no need for added sugar in an egg replacement in our opinion.
Tapioca syrup solids are another sweetener.
Natural flavors is an ingredient we recommend avoiding. As we referenced in our Beyond Meat review article, this is a broad categorization that fails to describe the specific chemical compounds used as flavoring agents. Without this information, it's impossible for a consumer to know what they're eating and if it's safe.
Nisin is a food preservative with a favorable safety profile, but we recommend avoiding preservatives altogether.
Transglutaminase was found in a medical review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences to increase intestinal permeability, which means that it can increase how much food protein ends up in the bloodstream which increases food allergy risk. The study authors concluded that this compound presents “potential public health concerns.”
JUST Egg uses natural coloring agents derived from plant material such as carrot extractives and turmeric extractives which are much healthier options than artificial dye.
Overall while we consider JUST Egg to be a better option than some commercial egg alternatives, we do not recommend the product and we consider it less nutritious and less healthy than whole eggs or another egg alternative brand (which we'll discuss later).
Real, Unsponsored JUST Egg Taste Test
One of the most popular reviews of JUST Egg is published by a YouTube channel called “Hallease.” The couple, who are not vegan, do a taste test of JUST Egg. The video has over 50,000 views:
Is Dietary Cholesterol Actually Unhealthy?
Consumers are primarily interested in JUST Egg for two reasons: for vegetarian or vegan consumers, it can replace the experience of eating eggs. For health-conscious consumers, it can reduce dietary cholesterol intake.
But is dietary cholesterol actually unhealthy? JUST Egg markets their brand as though it is, stating that their products allow consumers to "Kiss cholesterol goodbye."
But the research isn't that straightforward.
It makes logical sense that avoiding dietary cholesterol would reduce serum (blood) cholesterol levels and improve overall health, but this doesn’t appear to be the case based on medical research. An extensive medical review published in the Nutrients journal examined the impact of dietary cholesterol on health outcomes like cardiovascular disease.
The study authors found that while consuming a cholesterol-rich diet may slightly increase both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels, it does not worsen the HDL/LDL ratio which is the key marker for cardiovascular issues. They concluded the following:
“The current literature does not support the notion that dietary cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease in a healthy individuals.”
Are JUST's Other Egg Products Healthier?
JUST now sells two other egg products: JUST Egg Folded and JUST Egg Sous Vide.
The ingredients in JUST Egg Folded are shown below.
We consider this to be a healthier formulation than JUST Egg because it's free of any sweeteners that provide added sugar. It's also free of natural flavors and nisin, and is flavored instead with dehydrated garlic and dehydrated onion.
This product does contain transglutaminase. It it didn't contain this ingredient we would recommend it.
The ingredients in JUST Egg Sous Vide are shown above.
We consider this to be the least healthy JUST Egg product, because it's the highest in added sugar (though it only contains 1 g), and also contains natural flavors, transglutaminase and nisin which we already recommended avoiding.
Spices is another broad categorical term that we recommend avoiding in food products because it fails to describe the actual ingredient used.
Citric acid is a preservative shown in a series of medical case reports to cause whole-body inflammatory reactions in a small subset of individuals.
We consider JUST Egg Folded to be the healthiest JUST Egg product, JUST Egg original to be the second-healthiest and JUST Egg Sous Vide to be the least healthy formulation.
Our Healthy (Vegan & Non-Vegan) Egg Recommendations
For vegetarian, vegan and any other consumers avoiding animal products we recommend Nummy Nibbles Egg Substitute as our healthy egg alternative choice.
This egg alternative is entirely whole foods based, and free of any questionable additive ingredients like preservatives or processed cane sugar. There are some reviewers complaining that it doesn't taste as much like eggs as they would like, but from a nutritional and health perspective we consider this to be the best vegan egg brand on the market.
Interested consumers can check out Nummy Nibbles Egg Substitute at this link to the product's Amazon listing.
For omnivore consumers who were considering JUST Egg for health reasons but are now convinced that dietary cholesterol does not pose a health risk (check with your doctor first though), we recommend Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Eggs.
A 2020 clinical trial found that cage-free, organic eggs have higher nutritional quality than conventional eggs (and it's better for the animals as well).
Interested consumers can check out Vital Farms Pasture-Raised Eggs at this link to the product's Amazon listing.
JUST Egg Regulatory Issues
In 2016, JUST recalled several products due to positive tests for salmonella, a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning, as reported by Food Safety News.
The same outlet reports that Target pulled all JUST products from their shelves the following year, citing food safety concerns. Target did not appear to provide any further information, so we cannot verify whether or not there were legitimate food safety concerns in this case.
It’s not uncommon for large brands which manufacture millions of products annually to occasionally suffer from food safety issues.
In 2015 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also sent a warning letter to JUST, which at the time was branded as Hampton Creek, indicating that their implied health claims about zero cholesterol food being healthy for the heart could not be made on the product’s packaging because their product contained too much fat to qualify for this type of health claim.