Egg Whites vs Whole Eggs

Eggs are a staple for many people who love using them as a protein source. Recently, however, eggs have gotten a negative rep since their yolks were found to be high in cholesterol. 

So, should you stick with just egg whites?  

Cholesterol 101

First, it is important to realize that not all cholesterol is bad. When we get down to the basics, cholesterol is just a building block that your body uses to create steroid hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Cholesterol can be harmful when you reach extremely high levels, as this is associated with heart disease and stroke [1]. 

So, where do eggs come in? 

One whole egg contains around 71 calories, 6g of protein, 5g of fat, and 186mg of cholesterol [3]. 

One egg white contains around 18 calories, 4g of protein, 0g of fat, and 0g of cholesterol [4].

Right off the bat, it appears as if egg whites are better since they are low calorie, but with all the protein. However, what we don’t see and often forget are the many other micronutrients that make up eggs. 

Eating a whole egg provides your body with a much higher percentage of Vitamin A, B12, B2, B5, and Vitamin D than just egg whites [3]. 

What do these vitamins do? 

Vitamin A promotes eye health [5], while Vitamin B2 helps with the formation of red blood cells [6]. For more on Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, check out our previous posts!

Additionally, whole eggs are rich in choline and selenium [3]. Choline aids in various biological systems, including fetal development [7]. Selenium can only be obtained through your diet and has various benefits including promoting thyroid health [8]. 

Thus, eating only egg whites means that you would miss out on many incredible micronutrients that the egg yolk has to offer!

Eggs and Lean Muscle Mass

One study examined whether eating whole eggs versus just egg whites would demonstrate a difference in protein synthesis in young men. They found that eating whole eggs immediately after exercise showed greater lean mass growth in those young men! They attributed this difference to muscle protein synthesis being influenced by not only protein-dense foods, but rather a combination of nutrient and protein-dense foods [9]. 

So, the next time you’re about to crack an egg, consider eating the whole thing!

Fine Tune your Micronutrient Needs

If you need help fine tuning your unique micronutrient needs we offer nutrient analysis as well as 1:1 nutrition support! Check it out by clicking here!


References

  1. Peters, S. A., Singhateh, Y., Mackay, D., Huxley, R. R., & Woodward, M. (2016). Total cholesterol as a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke in women compared with men: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Atherosclerosis248, 123–131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2016.03.016
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  3. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171287/nutrients
  4. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172183/nutrients
  5. Zhong, M., Kawaguchi, R., Kassai, M., & Sun, H. (2012). Retina, retinol, retinal and the natural history of vitamin A as a light sensor. Nutrients4(12), 2069–2096. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu4122069
  6. Powers H. J. (2003). Riboflavin (vitamin B-2) and health. The American journal of clinical nutrition77(6), 1352–1360. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/77.6.1352
  7. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/
  8. Ventura, M., Melo, M., & Carrilho, F. (2017). Selenium and Thyroid Disease: From Pathophysiology to Treatment. International journal of endocrinology2017, 1297658. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1297658
  9. van Vliet, S., Shy, E. L., Abou Sawan, S., Beals, J. W., West, D. W., Skinner, S. K., Ulanov, A. V., Li, Z., Paluska, S. A., Parsons, C. M., Moore, D. R., & Burd, N. A. (2017). Consumption of whole eggs promotes greater stimulation of postexercise muscle protein synthesis than consumption of isonitrogenous amounts of egg whites in young men. The American journal of clinical nutrition106(6), 1401–1412. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.117.159855
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