Whole Eggs vs. Egg Whites

Nutrition Unscrambled

 I recently saw an article of interest on Yahoo!, Eggs: Whites vs. Yolks, stating the pros and cons of eating and baking with egg whites versus the entire egg. While the writers provide some valuable information regarding the functionality of whites and yolks in prepared dishes, their comment to eat egg yolks in moderation does not tell the whole story. One whole egg provides more than six grams of protein, or 13 percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV), and nearly half of the protein is found in the yolk. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient especially important during pregnancy. However, choline is found exclusively in the egg yolks. Egg yolks are one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D. They also contain two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, that may help to prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of age-related blindness. The chart below highlights the nutritional content of one large, whole egg versus the egg white from one large egg:

Additionally, the USDA recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one Grade A, large egg is 185 mg, 14 percent lower than previously reported on nutrition labels.

Don’t get me wrong- -adding egg whites to a meal or an egg dish (e.g., a three egg omelet with two whole eggs and an egg white) is an excellent way to add more high quality protein to your diet without a lot of extra calories. But to gain the full benefit of the excellent nutrition that an egg provides, the whole egg is the way to go.  

- Mitch

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D.

Dr. Mitch Kanter serves as the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center, a role he has held since August 2009.

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