Ok, I'm about to start this with a simple answer – yes, egg whites are healthy in many ways.
Whether you drink them raw or use them in your omelette, scrambled or boiled, egg whites are a great protein carrier and so well known in the fitness and body-building sphere.
In this article, we will discuss the nutritional value of egg whites, their benefits and potential drawbacks.
Egg White Nutrition Values
These are the nutrition values of one normal-sized egg white, according to USDA:
- Calories: 17
- Total Carbohydrates: 0g
- Dietary Fiber: 0g
- Added Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 4g
- Total Fat: 0g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 55g
Just to compare with the nutrition values of a whole egg:
- Calories: 70
- Carbohydrates: < 1 gram
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Added Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 4.5 grams
- Saturated Fat: 1.5
- Sodium: 62g
- Cholesterol: 180 milligrams
As you can see, all the “bad stuff” in an egg comes from the egg yolk. Unfortunately, if you ask me as this is the tasty part of the egg. On the flipside, however, egg yolks have their own benefits in terms of richness in Vitamin D and Iron, which shouldn't be ignored. This is something that Elisabeth Ward who also is a registered dietitian has been debating for.
Benefits of The Egg White
1. Great Source of Protein
Let's start by stating the obvious. Almost everyone who is prominent at the gym knows that egg whites are a great source of protein. However, it sometimes feels like people over-hype the protein richness in egg whites. After all, one egg white only contains 4 grams of protein. You need to eat a substantial amount of egg whites to come up to a protein rich meal.
2. Good For Your Heart
Looking out for your heart is key, especially if heart disease or stroke is a concern. While enjoying egg yolks in moderation is generally okay, your doctor might suggest a heart-healthy diet to keep your ticker in top shape. Enter egg whites – they're cholesterol-free and protein-packed, making them a smart addition to your plate. Try mixing one whole egg with another egg white for an extra protein boost.
But here's the thing: eggs often come with tempting extras like bacon, sausage, or a sprinkle of salt, not to mention being fried in oil. While egg whites are a healthy choice, these add-ons can cancel out the benefits. Remember, just because you're skipping the yolk doesn't mean you can skimp on healthier choices elsewhere. Keep your health goals in mind and opt for nutritious options whenever you can.
3. Low In Calories
Egg whites are incredibly low in calories, coming in at just 17 each. So, if you're mindful of your calorie intake, egg whites offer a satisfying protein option without packing on extra calories. This is the reason why so many bodybuilders drink egg whites during their cutting season.
Then, of course, maybe the best part of all: egg whites can be considered a healthy and tasty snack! Enough said.
What Are The Downsides of Egg Whites?
Allergies to eggs are among the top food allergens in the United States. The main culprit behind egg allergies is albumin, a protein primarily found in egg whites. If you have an egg allergy, you might experience various symptoms, including:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Hives or other rashes
- Redness and swelling on your skin
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Coughing and asthma-like symptoms
2. Lack of Biotin
Let's talk about biotin. This essential vitamin plays a vital role in maintaining the health of your hair, skin, and nails. It's also involved in the digestion of food and helps regulate metabolism. However, here's the catch: by ditching the egg yolk, you're also missing out on a key source of biotin.
When Should You Skip The Egg Yolk And Only Eat The Whites?
- Calorie Consciousness: If you're keeping an eye on your calorie intake, opting for egg whites and skipping the yolk can be a smart choice. Egg whites are low in calories compared to the yolk, making them a lighter option if you're watching your weight.
- Cholesterol Concerns: Egg yolks are rich in cholesterol, so if you're monitoring your cholesterol levels or have specific dietary restrictions related to cholesterol, sticking to egg whites can help you avoid excess cholesterol intake.
Which is Healthier, Egg Yolk or Egg White?
Ah, the classic debate of egg yolk versus egg white, the answer isn't black and white—it depends on various factors and individual health goals.
Egg Yolk: The egg yolk is often criticized for its higher calorie and cholesterol content. However, it's also rich in essential nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These nutrients play crucial roles in eye health, brain function, and overall well-being.
Despite its nutritional benefits, moderation is key, especially for individuals with specific dietary restrictions or cholesterol concerns.
Egg White: Egg whites, on the other hand, are low in calories and cholesterol-free, making them a popular choice for those watching their waistlines or managing cholesterol levels.
They're also an excellent source of high-quality protein, containing all nine essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. Egg whites are versatile and can be incorporated into various dishes, from omelets to baked goods, to boost protein content without adding extra fat or cholesterol.
Which is Healthier? Both egg yolks and egg whites offer unique nutritional benefits, and the healthiest choice depends on individual dietary needs and preferences. For example, if you're looking to increase your protein intake while keeping calories and cholesterol in check, egg whites might be the better option.
On the other hand, if you're seeking a nutrient-rich source of vitamins and minerals, incorporating whole eggs, including the yolk, into your diet can provide valuable nutrients.
In summary, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of which is healthier—the egg yolk or the egg white. Instead, consider your nutritional goals, dietary preferences, and overall health status when deciding which part of the egg to include in your diet. As I always say, balance and moderation are key components of a healthy and sustainable approach to nutrition.
How Many Egg Whites a Day is OK?
Now to a shocking fact for many, The American Heart Association recommends to eat not more than two egg whites a day.
Let's Wrap it Up
Its safe to say that egg whites are good for you, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you should skip the egg yolk – it all depends on what your goal is by eating eggs. I know that I eat way more eggs than the Heart Association recommends (especially during bulking season) but that is my preference and I do not struggle with cholesterol.
Did you learn anything new? Is there anything that you'd like to add or ask? Hit the comment section!