Are you only eating egg whites? Marcy asked me this question recently. You remember Marcy; she did a few guest posts about diets and eating healthy for life? I hate to admit it but I had only been eating egg whites until recently. I was following the trend. Let’s look at the diet trends. First it was low fat diets in the 90’s. Can you say processed! Everything that was in this low fat trend was heavily processed.
Then the diet trend exploded to low carb, high protein diets: think Atkin’s. And along the way, we were fed that it is healthier to eat just the egg white? But is it really? Let’s examine what we are missing out on when eating just the egg white.
The Goodness of Eggs
Eggs are whole foods. They are a good source of carbohydrates, protein and fats. An egg has between 70-90 calories depending on the weight of the egg. So two eggs are below 200 calories making for a nice snack.
They are a good source of selenium, iodine, and vitamin B2 as well as a good source of protein, molybdenum, phosphorus, vitamin B5, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Remember the importance of Vitamin D I wrote about? The source of vitamin D in an egg is in the yolk not the egg white.
The yolk itself is a good source of the following 4 antioxidants: Tryptophan, tyrosine, lutein and xeaxanthin along with being a good source of choline. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, which we all know keeps us happy and regulates our mood. While choline which 90% of adults are deficient in lowers inflammatory markers linked to a wide range of conditions including heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes.
Other Medical benefits
- Promotes weight loss
- Improves Cholesterol Profile
- Helps Prevent Blood Clots
- Protects against age related Macular degeneration and Cataracts
A note on the cholesterol. While eggs are high in cholesterol, it is the saturated fat in your diet, not dietary cholesterol that influences blood cholesterol levels the most. Studies have NOT found eggs to increase your cholesterol. This is contrary to what I had been saying to my patients in the past!
High in Protein and Nutrient Rich
The reason presumably people started eating just the egg whites was to spare the calories while maximizing the protein. Let’s explore this. Eggs are high in protein 5.5-6.3 grams per egg depending on size. We will use a large egg for this example. It contains 6.3 g of protein. Of which 3.6 g is in the white and 2.7 g is in the yolk. You are throwing out 43 % of an egg’s protein by discarding the yolk.
We already talked about the fat in eggs not influencing the cholesterol. Let’s talk about calories. This same large egg is about 72 calories. 17 calories are in the white and 55 are in the yolk. Ok, so you have me there, the white is lower in calories but not as nutrient rich as the yolk.
A final word on the protein in eggs (and any protein): It is essential in stabilizing your blood sugar. Eat two eggs in the morning if you know you will not eat again until lunch. It will sustain your energy and help you avoid sudden drops in your blood sugar.
A note on cooking eggs
While cooking eggs does decrease the levels of nutrients, there is enough goodness left that I wouldn’t advise not cooking them especially here in the Middle East.
To make a perfect hard-boiled egg, add the eggs to boiling water, set a timer and boil for 10 minutes. After they are done boiling immerse them in cold water if you want the yolk to stay yellow and not turn grey. A tip to tell if an egg is fresh is to put the uncooked egg in cold water. Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom. The rotten eggs will float to the surface Discard the ones that are completely floating!
Have you only been eating the egg whites? What are you waiting for? Eat the whole egg, it is good for you!