Is Eggnog Good for You or Even Safe to Drink This Holiday Season?

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

is eggnog good for you
Credit: iStock.com/elena_hramowa

Tis the season for indulging in tasty Christmas treats and beverages. Eggnog is a popular drink this time of year, but is eggnog good for you? More importantly, is eggnog safe to drink? Knowing the facts about eggnog calories and nutritional values, as well as whether the classic eggnog raw eggs and milk combination is safe, may make your holidays merrier.

The origin of eggnog has long been debated among history experts, with most agreeing that the drink stems from the British medieval days. It is thought to have started as a combination of hot milk, spices, and wine or ale. Known then as a posset, this drink later included the use of eggs.

Once the recipe arrived to what is now America, rum was used instead of wine or ale.

Is Eggnog Good for You?

With today’s eggnog drink containing only milk, cream, eggs, and sugar, it may appear on the surface to be a better alternative to many classic holiday drinks.

The saying, “You are what you eat” refers to the origin of the food. In this case, the three main ingredients, milk, eggs, and cream, come from animals that are usually raised on foods containing harmful genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs.

Basically, unless eggnog is certifiably organic, half of the contents may come from cows that are fed hormones and antibiotics to keep them healthy. Hens may receive the same type of GMO feed.

These byproducts in cow’s milk can cause digestive issues, reduce bone density, and stimulate skin irritability and an increase in fat intake. In addition, the fact that more than three-quarters of adults are lactose intolerant raises concerns over the creamy taste of eggnog.

With the present pasteurization and homogenization processes used for milk products, highly sought nutrients like vitamin D and calcium can be mostly destroyed.

There are studies suggesting that the hormone known as insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which is found in cow’s milk, may lead to the development of breast, prostate, and colon cancers.

Aside from the feed cows and chickens are given, the sugar content of eggnog should also be considered. Many types of eggnog can contain 21 grams (g) of sugar in a four-ounce serving.

Excessive intake of sugar may be responsible for fat gain, hormone imbalances, and an increase in acidity of the body. Sugar has also been linked to the growth of various cancerous cells due to the abundant sugar receptors in cancer cells.

Is Eggnog Fattening? Calories and Nutrition Facts

Considering the high-fat content in the ingredients of eggnog, most shelf brands contain a high number of calories. These calories are in addition to the saturated fats and added sugar.

One average serving equals one cup of eggnog. Of this, there can be 343 calories, 19 g saturated fat, and 21 g sugar.

Aside from the calories and sugar, the amount of saturated fat may be a red flag for many. Studies have suggested that saturated fat may increase the risk of high cholesterol and other conditions that lead to heart disease. The daily recommended amount from all foods and beverages ingested is 20 g.

The added sugar in eggnog may also bring the daily intake to a level that increases the risk for elevated triglycerides and diabetes.

Is Eggnog Safe to Drink?

Since eggnog contains eggs, is eggnog safe for you?  The answer is yes, it is. The eggs used are typically combined with milk and treated with heat to destroy any bacteria that can cause illness.

With homemade eggnog, the use of undercooked or raw eggs may lead to salmonella infection without the proper preparation. Salmonella poisoning is a common food-borne bacterial infection caused by consuming undercooked or raw food and contaminated water.

Most cases of infection develop within hours of consumption and may cause diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Severe cases may lead to reactive arthritis or death.

Due to eggnog’s annual popularity and the variety of recipes available, the FDA has provided tips for preventing illness when using eggs.

  • Prep the eggs by combining half of the milk required in the recipe with the eggs and cook over a heat of 160° Fahrenheit, stirring constantly. All harmful microorganisms will be destroyed.
  • Once the mixture forms a smooth coating, chill in the refrigerator before using in the recipe.
  • Remember that alcohol does not kill the harmful microorganisms found in unpasteurized eggs that may be used in eggnog recipes.
  • Use either an egg substitute or pasteurized eggs.
  • Prepare an eggnog recipe without using eggs.

Eggnog is a holiday staple in many homes across the world. What first started as a drink for the wealthy, due to the availability of the ingredients, is now found on supermarket shelves everywhere.

Commercial eggnog does contain high amounts of fats, calories, and sugar content, which is why many choose to make homemade eggnog. As raw eggs are involved, there are important steps to take to prevent salmonella and other bacterial infections.

With all of the recipe variations out there, anyone with dietary restrictions may now enjoy a cup of the frothy drink. The basic four ingredients can be tweaked to include alternatives for vegans, lactose intolerance, and pregnancy cases.


Article Sources (+)

““Tannenbaum, K., “Why Do We Drink Eggnog During The Holidays?” Delish, November 12, 2014; http://www.delish.com/food/news/a38815/history-of-eggnog/, last accessed December 12, 2017.
Trex, E., “A Brief History of Eggnog,” Mental Floss, December 14, 2015; http://mentalfloss.com/article/26537/way-more-you-ever-wanted-know-about-eggnog, last accessed December 12, 2017.
“Eggnog Is Not Healthy, This is Why You Should Absolutely Stop Drinking It,” Healthy Wild and Free; https://healthywildandfree.com/eggnog-is-not-healthy-this-is-why-you-should-absolutely-stop-drinking-it/, last accessed December 12, 2017.
Oliver, L.M., “Calories in Eggnog,” Livestrong, July 18, 2017; https://www.livestrong.com/article/298506-calories-in-eggnog/, last accessed December 12, 2017.
Daniels Hussar, A., “It’s Not Just Eggnog! 6 Most Fattening Holiday Drinks,” Self, December 7, 2011; https://www.self.com/story/its-not-just-eggnog-6-most-fat, last accessed December 12, 2017.
Shipman, M., “If Eggnog Has Eggs In It, Why Is It Safe To Drink?” NC State University, December 15, 2014; https://news.ncsu.edu/2014/12/eggnog-food-safety/, last accessed December 12, 2017.
Bufano, N., “Homemade Eggnog: Make it Safely,” Food Safety, December 21, 2010; https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/eggnog.html, last accessed December 12, 2017.
The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin

Sign Up for the Latest Health News and Tips

Need more information, click here

Yes, I’m opting in for the FREE Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin: