Ask HE: Should you eat just the egg white?

by in Ask the Experts, September 14, 2011
hard-boiled eggs
Is it really healthy to skip the yolk?

Many health-conscious folks opt for egg whites only. Little do they know they’re wasting a huge dose of protein and other precious nutrients when they toss out those golden yolks.

Q: When looking to take in healthy protein from eggs, should you go for the whole thing or just eat the egg white?

A: When you look at the nutrients it’s hard to dispute. Eggs have a lot of nutrition going on and most of it’s found in the egg yolk.

Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD, senior director of nutrition education for the Egg Nutrition Center brought us up to speed on all the goodies that eggs have to offer. The white of a large egg provides 3.6 grams of protein, but you’ll also find an additional 2.7 grams hanging out in the yolk. The yolk is also home to all the heart-healthy fats and hefty doses of vitamins like riboflavin, D and B12; nutrients like choline and selenium are also in abundance.

Yes, yolks are also where all the not-so-healthy fat and cholesterol are hiding. If you do have high cholesterol, you may have to limit your intake, but with only 1.6 grams of saturated fat per serving, eggs can certainly be worked in to a heart-healthy diet. To cut down on some of the fat and cholesterol, use a combination of whole eggs plus a few extra egg whites in egg dishes like omelets, frittatas and quiche.

Tell Us: Do you keep or toss the yolks?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »

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Comments (2,961)

  1. Didi says:

    I eat both the yolk and white. I mix 1 yolk with 1 white, and make an omelet. My grandfather lived to be 97 years old. His father lived to be 105. The diet in their house was mostly vegetarian and dairy. They ate eggs almost daily, and occasionally bean stew or something with lean beef. My grandfather has never had a health problem other than certain things that came with age. His cholesterol and blood pressure was always at a healthy number. I once asked his doctor how was he so healthy. He told me it was because of his diet and genetics. He received his protein from eggs, beans, some vegetables, and nuts. My grandfather had this theory that tomatoes do to your arteries the same they do to the pipe in the kitchen sink. I don't have scientific proof and I'm not looking for any. His health is convincing enough for me.

  2. Allen says:

    I bring a hard boiled egg to work as a snack every day. I always eat the yolks and find it a delicious compliment to the egg whites.

  3. Lori says:

    Check out all you need to know about eggs from Rabbit River Farm!

  4. Laura says:

    I agree with those who eat half and half. I love having the nutrients of the yolk in there! If I am using only the whites, I typically make one of my cottage cheese egg bakes for bulk and added nutrients from the cottage cheese and veggies.

  5. Barbara says:

    The yolk is my favorite part

  6. Susan says:

    I make spinach or mushroom omlettes using one whole egg plus two egg whites. I spray a non-stick pan with zero calorie butter flavor. Yum!

    • Folwart says:

      It's all good until "zero calorie butter flavor". It has no nutritional value, thus at best it does nothing for you and at worst it's slowly poisoning you. I'll pass. Use real butter. It tastes better and it's fine in moderation. If it says low calorie, diet, zero calorie or anything of the like I automatically pass it over. It's a gimmick.

  7. Kirsi says:

    I love the egg yolks, they make the eggs delicious!

  8. bob says:

    i eat the yolk and give the rest to the cats 4 every day for breakfast yum

  9. Parker says:

    I eat the whole thing…yolk and all. For a long time I only ate the white and one day made up my mind that I was wasting the best part of the egg. Now, it's all or nothing.

  10. Anna says:

    I think there are unhealthy choices we can eliminate in our diet and the egg does not need to be one of them.

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