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Egg White Nutrition Benefits – Should You Eat The Yolk?

Egg White Nutrition Benefits – Should You Eat The Yolk?

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Hopefully by now you’ve heard that the jury is out and eggs are no longer considered something that you should avoid in your diet plan. For too many years, people have believed that eggs would lead to high cholesterol levels, which would then send you down a path to heart disease and possibly a heart attack.

While eggs do contain cholesterol, as long as you don’t have any pre-existing heart concerns and you aren’t eating half a dozen a day, there is no reason to be concerned. In fact, eggs can help boost your heart health far more than some of the other protein choices you could be serving for breakfast (such as sausage or bacon for instance). Some research suggests that having one whole egg per day may even help reduce your risk of a stroke (1).

Eggs also provide a reliably good source of high quality protein, which many breakfast foods simply don’t. Cereal, bagels and toast for instance, all provide very little protein. So if those are your main food options, you’re likely falling short.

This said, many people still do reach for egg whites only. There are some benefits to serving egg whites over the whole egg while there are also benefits to having the whole egg rather than just the egg whites.

Understanding your goals and what you want to accomplish during that meal will help you best choose whether you should keep the yolk or toss it out. And remember, nothing ever prevents you from mixing one whole egg with some egg whites to get the best of both worlds and keep your diet on track.

Let’s look at some of the important information you need to know.

The Nutritional Stats

Before we talk about the benefits, let’s look at the nutritional stats of the egg white and then of the whole egg. This will give you a clearer picture as to how each stacks up nutritionally speaking.

Egg White (Per 1)
16 calories
4 grams of protein
0 grams of fat
0 grams of cholesterol
0% RDI Vitamin A
0% RDI Vitamin B12
6% RDI Vitamin B2
1% RDI Vitamin B5
0% RDI Vitamin D
0% RDI Folate
9% RDI Selenium

Egg Yolk (Per 1)
71 calories
6 grams of protein
5 grams of fat
211 grams of cholesterol
8% RDI Vitamin A
52% RDI Vitamin B12
12% RDI Vitamin B2
35% RDI Vitamin B5
21% RDI Vitamin D
29% RDI Folate
90% RDI Selenium

Keep in mind with these stats that the whole egg also contains the nutrition of the egg white in there since it’s now included, so it’s not just the white alone.

From this, we can gather that most of the nutrition when speaking of the micronutrients are found in the whole egg, not just the white. When people toss the yolk, they are actually tossing out a large portion of the nutrition found in the egg.

Good For Weight Loss

This said, that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for the egg white. While dealing with many things in the diet, looking at total nutritional content is vital for success, but this is never the entire picture.

One thing that egg whites are very good for is weight loss. This is because first, they are low in calories. At just 16 calories per egg white, you can easily have a half dozen egg whites and have it come in at fewer calories than a serving of chicken breast.

If you are hoping to minimize your calorie intake, this is a very good food to help you do so.

On top of that, they’re also high in volume. Have you ever cooked up half a dozen egg of whites? It’s a lot of food! A high volume, low calorie diet (an approach called volumetrics) is very good for dieting because it makes you feel fuller despite not eating so many calories.

Calorie dense foods, when dieting, are essentially the enemy as they’ll leave you feeling like you’re eating very small meals on such a low calorie intake.

Low In Fat

Another benefit of the egg white alone is that it’s low in dietary fat. If you are trying to watch your body weight, there’s a good chance that you’re also trying to keep your total dietary fat intake down as well. This is going to help keep your overall calorie intake lower since dietary fat is higher in calories at 9 calories per gram. Compare this to protein and carbohydrates at 4 calories per gram and you can see the difference.

This isn’t to say that dietary fat is ‘bad’ per say as much research has noted otherwise, just that it is more calorie dense so if you are trying to monitor your body weight, having too much dietary fat in your diet can be problematic.

Rich In Protein

One very important benefit to note about the egg white is that it’s very rich in protein content. In fact, it’s 100% pure protein. This is important because most people are not getting sufficient protein into their daily diet, which in turn leads to them failing to sustain lean muscle mass, regenerate new tissue as they should, and keep their immune system in top condition.

Protein is particularly important while on a fat loss diet because it’s what will help ensure you sustain your lean muscle mass, which is responsible for keeping your metabolic rate strong. The moment you begin to lose lean body tissue is the moment you start burning fewer calories each and every day. When this happens, the end result could be harder for you to lose weight, but also harder to maintain the weight loss that you’ve already just experienced.

The protein found in egg whites is also considered an exceptionally high quality protein and is absorbed very well in the body. This means that of the protein you consume from egg whites, your body will be able to utilize just about all of it (2).

Compare this with lower quality protein sources such as soy for instance, and you’d need to eat more total protein from that food to actually net the same amount of usable protein for the body.

Most people struggle to get their protein needs met, but with egg whites, it’s easy. Egg whites are also very versatile – they can be made into an omelet, scrambled, hard boiled, soft boiled, microwaved, or even used raw in a smoothie as long as they are pasteurized egg whites.

Free Of Cholesterol

For those of you who have been given the recommendation by your doctor to start cutting back on your cholesterol intake, egg whites are the superior choice. There are specific cases where certain people don’t processed cholesterol like others and for these individuals adding more cholesterol to the diet does seem to pose a greater threat in terms of potentially increasing the risk of heart disease. These people are known as cholesterol hyper-responders, so they need to be far more diligent about keeping their cholesterol levels down.

Fast To Prepare

Another benefit of egg whites that most people will appreciate in today’s world is the fact they’re incredibly fast to prepare. Cooking up some egg whites at best takes 5 minutes. Most methods take just 2-3 minutes or less.

And, if you hard boil eggs, they can keep in the fridge for at least a few days, so this can become a quick and easy snack or accompaniment to your meal. For instance, for a quick lunch on the go, throw together a tossed salad and then add five hard-boiled egg whites (and one egg if desired).

Most people simply don’t have time to prepare chicken breast after chicken breast, so turning to egg whites ever so often can help make things far easier for yourself.

So now that you see some of the key benefits that egg whites have, it’s time to consider the benefits that whole eggs have that you miss out on if you choose just egg whites only.

Once again, keep in mind that simply adding one whole egg to the mix will help you reap these benefits. You don’t necessarily have to make every egg you consume a whole egg; mixing in some egg whites is definitely permissible.

The Satiety Factor

The first element you’ll miss out on is the satiety factor. This refers to how well a meal ‘sticks to your ribs’ so to speak. Certain meals will help you stay feeling satisfied for hours ahead while other meals may leave you in just an hour. If you are hungry shortly after eating a meal, that’s a good sign that that meal doesn’t provide much satiety.

Egg whites, unfortunately do tend to fall short. While protein itself does tend to be more satisfying than carbohydrates are, egg whites are digested relatively quickly and because there is no fat content, they don’t provide that staying power they would if you there was fat.

By eating the whole egg, you bring fat into the picture, which will help keep you feeling fuller longer. Even just five grams of fat per meal can make a big difference in terms of how well that meal combats hunger.

Nutrient Density

As noted earlier, you do miss out on some key nutrients that are found in the yolk when you choose to toss it. For instance, egg yolks provide two very important antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are critical for optimal eye health and the prevention of eye degeneration and cataracts. If you aren’t getting these nutrients elsewhere in your diet plan, you might see these problems cropping up (3).

Egg yolks are also a rich source of choline in the body, which is a micronutrient that is important for generating acetylcholine, which his a neurotransmitter that’s important for proper muscle contractions, as well as for ensuring optimal cell membranes, the transmitting of nerve impulses, and fat and cholesterol digestion.

Be sure to also include a quality digestive enzyme such as MassZymes in your plan as well to ensure your body is able to effectively utilize all the nutrients you take in.

Weight Loss Benefits

Despite the fact that egg whites are great for weight loss thanks to being so low in calories and fat, there is actually research that shows that whole eggs can help improve weight loss results (4).

This study looked at subjects who consumed either an egg breakfast or a bagel based breakfast and then ate lunch 3.5 hours later. Food intake was weighed at breakfast and lunch and this was carried out for a two week period.

After the study was completed, it was seen that the egg eaters showed higher rates of weight loss than the bagel eaters did. They also reported greater overall satiety and a lower food intake at lunch (which would have been what caused weight loss results).

Now, keep in mind this is comparing eggs to bagels. Had they compared whole egg breakfasts to egg white breakfasts, the results may have differed, but from this we can see that either way, eggs appear to be a great way to help promote weight loss results. Far better than the typical carb counterpart breakfast meal that most people consume. If you’re currently eating a carb heavy breakfast, simply switching over to eggs may help promote the loss of a few pounds – and chances are, you’ll feel a lot better going into your day thanks to the fact that you have some protein to keep your blood glucose levels stable.

Having Good Taste

Finally, let’s not forget about taste. Many people find egg whites kind of bland and hard to get down, especially after eating them day after day. Adding even just one egg yolk into the mix gives plenty of flavor and will definitely enhance the taste of this dish. It also allows for more creativity with your meals.

You could prepare deviled eggs, sunny side up eggs, eggs over easy, or poached eggs over toast or spinach, all of which would be harder to do if you were just eating egg whites.

Taste, while not exactly the most important factor in terms of how healthy they are for your body, does factor in. If you don’t enjoy the taste, this only increases the chances that you instead will turn to eating something far less than healthy such as that bacon alongside your slice of toast.

So there you have the facts when it comes to eggs versus egg whites and the egg as a whole. All in all, you simply can’t go wrong getting eggs in any format into your daily diet plan. This said, your best bet is probably to use a combination of both, having one egg coupled with some egg whites to help bring the overall protein content of the meal higher and ensure that you are still getting those important nutrients that whole eggs have to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it bad to eat eggs every day?

No! As long as you limit yourself to just one whole egg or possibly two if you have no pre-existing heart health concerns, you can definitely have an egg or two a day safely.

How healthy is an egg?

An egg is very healthy! Not only does it provide high quality protein, it’s also rich in important nutrients including folate, B vitamins, choline as well as antioxidants.

What’s the healthiest way to eat eggs?

The healthiest way to eat eggs will be however you will eat them consistently! But you want to try and cook them with as little added unhealthy fats or sugars as possible. Hard boiled, poached, or scrambled with just a little non-stick cooking spray.

Do eggs make you fat?

While any food can make you fat if you eat too many calories, eggs on their own will not cause weight gain if you eat them in moderation.

Are scrambled eggs healthier than fried eggs?

It depends on how the scrambled eggs are prepared and how much oil is used but typically yes, scrambled eggs will be healthier than fried eggs.

 

References:

1. Fuller, Nicholas R., et al. “Egg consumption and human cardio-metabolic health in people with and without diabetes.” Nutrients 7.9 (2015): 7399-7420.

2. Lunven, P., et al. “Amino acid composition of hen’s egg.” British Journal of Nutrition 30.2 (1973): 189-194.

3. Fernandez, Maria Luz. “Effects of eggs on plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations.” Food & function 1.2 (2010): 156-160.

4. Vander Wal, Jillon S., et al. “Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 24.6 (2005): 510-515.

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