Egg white or also egg yolk – what to eat?


Who are you? Yes, this is important to know before answering the key question – only egg white or also egg yolk – what to eat? If you are a normal office goer working a 9-7 job (yes, 9-5 shift rarely exist these days) your nutritional requirement is way different than an athlete or a bodybuilder. So first thing first, stop copying others and understand the facts to take the right choice.
Egg yolk vs egg white is probably one of the longest-running controversy in the field of nutrition science. In every two years, some new research findings hit the market and the debate starts all over again.

egg yolk 2

Egg yolk vs. egg white vs whole egg– let’s compare the nutrition

Are you eating egg whites regularly to fulfill your “protein” requirement?
Do you throw egg yolk every day in fear of cholesterol?
Do you know that half-truth are dangerous?

Generally, egg whites are marketed as a protein source whereas egg yolks are tagged as a major contributor of cholesterol. But is that all?
A whole egg contains two major parts- egg white (56-61% of total weight) and egg yolk (27-32% of total weight)

The whole egg contains about 65% water, 12-4 % of protein and 10-12 % of fat and 1% of minerals.
The composition of egg white and egg yolk is different considerably.

Egg white nutrition

Egg white has received much attention over the last few years for its amazing protein profile. Egg white is actually an alkaline solution contains around 148 types of proteins. Some of the major proteins found in egg whites are – ovalbumin (55%), conalbumin (13%), ovomucoid (10%), ovomucin, avidin, etc. Egg white frequently called as albumen.
The white contains more than half the egg’s total protein, a majority of the egg’s niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium and sodium, and almost no fat. The white of a large egg contains about 17 calories.

Egg yolk nutrition 

On the other hand, egg yolk contains fat, fat-soluble vitamins- A, D, E, K, cholesterol, minerals and nearly half of the protein. It contains about 60 Calories, three times the energy content of the egg white, mostly due to its fat content. Please note, egg yolk is one of the few foods naturally containing vitamin D.
Other than niacin and riboflavin, the yolk contains a higher proportion of vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid and thiamin than egg whites. The yolk also contains more calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc than the white.
Egg yolk contains unsaturated fatty acids such as – oleic acid( 47%). Linoleic acid (16%) etc. and saturated fatty acids such as -.palmitic acid( 23%), stearic acid (4%), etc.

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Check the table below where USDA has compared the nutrients of egg white vs egg yolk

Nutrient

White

Yolk

% Total in White

% Total in Yolk

Protein

3.6 g

2.7g

57%

43%

Fat

0.05g

4.5g

1%

99%

Calcium

2.3 mg

21.9 mg

9.5%

90.5%

Magnesium

3.6 mg

0.85 mg

80.8%

19.2%

Iron

0.03 mg

0.4 mg

6.2%

93.8%

Phosphorus

5 mg

66.3 mg

7%

93%

Potassium

53.8 mg

18.5 mg

74.4%

25.6%

Sodium

54.8 mg

8.2 mg

87%

13%

Zinc

0.01 mg

0.4 mg

0.2%

99.8%

Copper

0.008 mg

0.013 mg

38%

62%

Manganese

0.004 mg

0.009 mg

30.8%

69.2%

Selenium

6.6 mcg

9.5 mcg

41%

59%

Thiamin

0.01 mg

0.03 mg

3.2%

96.8%

Riboflavin

0.145 mg

0.09 mg

61.7%

48.3%

Niacin

0.035 mg

0.004 mg

89.7%

9.3%

Pantothenic acid.

0.63 mg

0.51 mg

11%

89%

B6

0.002 mg

0.059 mg

3.3%

96.7%

Folate

1.3 mcg

24.8 mcg

5%

95%

B12

0.03 mcg

0.331 mcg

8.3%

91.7%

Vitamin A

0 IU

245 IU

0%

100%

Vitamin E

0 mg

0.684 mg

0%

100%

Vitamin D

0 IU

18.3 IU

0%

100%

Vitamin K

0 IU

0.119 IU

0%

100%

DHA and AA

0

94 mg

0%

100%

Carotenoids

0 mcg

21 mcg

0%

100%

Reference –  accessed on 29th April 2019

Whole egg benefits

So in short, egg white is high in protein, almost no carbohydrate, fat and very low in calorie whereas, egg yolk is rich in fat, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals, cholesterol, and protein.
Therefore instead of separating egg whites and egg yolks, whole eggs, provide complete balanced nutrition exactly as per the body’s daily requirement.
A combination of amino acids present in the whole egg is absolutely brilliant to meet the human need. The whole egg boasts all the nine essential amino acids -histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine which our body can not produce but essential for body function. As the whole egg contain high-quality protein, it is considered as the reference point in order to measure the quality of other food proteins. Whole eggs are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that reduce your risk of eye diseases. They’re very high in choline, a nutrient that plays an essential role in all cells

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But what about cholesterol?

Are you afraid of “cholesterol”? Do you think the eating whole egg will boost your blood cholesterol level and eventually will develop some heart disease?
“Cholesterol” has always received a negative connotation in health and nutrition. The truth is whole eggs are more than just cholesterol. Don’t forget that they are loaded with other nutrients.
You need cholesterol to function your body normally. It is one of the structural molecules of every cell membrane. Cholesterol is required to synthesize steroid hormones like testosterone, estrogen, cortisol. Your body will somehow ensure the constant supply of cholesterol to meet bodily needs. Therefore, cholesterol from diet is not the only source, the liver can produce cholesterol as per the requirement. So when we get enough cholesterol from the dietary source, the liver starts producing less to keep the balance.
Yes, the excessive amount of dietary cholesterol is not desired under any condition. A medium-sized egg contains roughly 185 mg of cholesterol which is 62% of the recommended daily intake.
Study shows that eating whole egg daily enhance the “good” HDL cholesterol, keep “bad” LDL cholesterol level unchanged or increase slightly, increase the blood level of carotenoid antioxidants significantly.
Do you know people who have mainly large LDL particles are on a lower risk of heart disease? Yes, the study showed that eating eggs on a daily basis may raise the cholesterol level but have changed the small, denser to large LDL particle.
Multiple studies have examined the relationship between whole egg consumption and the risk of heart disease. These observational studies have been carried out for many years on a large group of people (hundreds to thousands), considering certain crucial factors such as diet, smoking, lifestyle, exercise, etc. Researchers have received a mixed result. Some of the studies have shown a reduced risk of stroke, some have found an increased risk of heart diseases among patients with type 2 diabetes and some did not find any significant relation. The most recent study published in last month (March 2019) have added again fuel to the fire by showing a relation between intake of excess dietary cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease.

How much is enough?


Whenever you find a topic with controversy, follow the thumb rule – moderation. Yes, moderation is the key. The egg is good, in fact, it is great to ensure a variety of nutrients on a daily basis. So do not undermine it with only “protein” or cholesterol.
Often we miss the crucial point that it is not only egg yolk but the total dietary cholesterol that matters affecting your body negatively. So if you are eating eggs with bacon, sausages, cheese, etc on a regular basis, you must think twice.
Otherwise having one whole egg a day is absolutely safe for almost everybody until you are allergic to egg. It is not wise to depend on a particular food for the major contribution of any particular nutrient. That is why we always encourage to add variety in every food groups. Each food has its goodness as well as some limitations. Balance it out. Add seasonal and local variety in cereal, pulses, vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, seeds on a daily basis. You will be fine. Trust me.

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Bottom Line –

Who are you? If you are a normal office goer or student or homemaker, no egg yolk vs egg white, enjoy one whole egg a day without any fear. Egg whites are fine but provide only half protein of an entire egg. The rest of the protein, vitamins, minerals, fats everything is present in the egg yolk.
But if you are an athlete or bodybuilder, you may need extra support. But the problem is – all of us feel the need for “special diet” or “extra protein” without doing an adequate activity or exercises like athletes or bodybuilders. If you are exercising regularly and require to enhance the protein intake, add pulse, seeds, sprouts, nuts along with egg whites and one whole egg. Remember moderation is the key.
If you are an Indian, always remember that an egg can help to run a school in our country. I am pointing towards mid-day-meal, the world’s largest food program, where the whole egg is given to all the students to ensure their daily nutrition as well as to improve the school attendance. So do not undermine the power of a whole egg. Let’s be a little sensitive before wasting any precious food parts. So next time you plan to throw the egg yolk, think about it.

 

 

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