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. Sonya Warren-Rossel says:

    According to the Harvard nurses study, Dr. Walter Willett, discovered increased health benefits, lower risk of diabetes, better hormone functioning (including fat burning hormones), and more satiation and less hunger, with a higher fat diet. Fat may have more calories per gram, but it causes the sugars and nutrients to go slowly into your system over a longer amount of time, aiding with less overall food intake during the day. The fat soluble vitamins, the minerals, the important lecithin are in such abundance and enter and function in your system much better than a multivitamin that it almost seems a sin against your body, to avoid it.

  2. ceecee99 says:

    the yolk is the best part of the egg!

  3. MmeMoxie says:

    Even with my husband's 11 coronary stents, I have always served eggs with the yolks. His cholesterol levels have always been on target. He has a bad family history of Diabetes and Heart Disease, and was diagnosed with Diabetes 3 months after his Heart Attack, in 2004. Read enough about Diabetes and you will find that Heart Disease and Diabetes go 'hand-in-hand'.

    In this rotten economy, eggs are honestly the cheapest protein you can buy!!! What better way to feed a family, when the cost of meats are so high, they can 'blow' your budget completely?! Fried eggs with a Canola sprayed pan, are so easy to make or an Omelette or a Fritatta or a Quiche. The last 3 dishes can be made with excellent fillings of vegetables, mushrooms, cheese, olives, so on and so forth, you are only limited by your own imagination.

    In our household, we do NOT count Calories. We count Carbohydrates. Carb counting is so much easier, for planning meals, with a Diabetic in your household. Since, both my husband and I are Diabetics, and I do all of the cooking, Carb counting is the only way, for me to go.

    Please note, that both of our A1C's are under 7, so I must be doing something right, over all. Again, my husband's cholesterol has always been under control, mine has been off the charts for years. Yet, my vessels are as clear as a bell and his are getting worse, with each year. Go figure!!!

    I have always felt that the 'egg' controversy was nothing more than 'trumped up' research. I think, it is the same with salt. Everything, that you put into your mouth should be done with moderation. Moderation is the key word, in eating healthy.

    Also, the statistics show that true vegans, do not live as long as those who eat a good, healthy, well balance diet of veggies, meats, grains, dairy and eggs. Moderation and Well Balanced are the most important words, when talking about a Healthy Diet.

    These are my thoughts, on this subject of eggs. Have always eaten both the yolks and whites, and don't plan on stopping now, at age 68. }:O)

  4. @JoanRingel says:

    Eggs with the yolk are a valuable and inexpensive source of protein and vitamins. Their nutritious value is often overlooked. I enjoy eggs and whole grain toast after a long run, when I need the added protein.

  5. Becky says:

    I ate only the yolk after trying to loose some weight, since then i went back to eating yolks. My nutritionist agrees, eat the yolk for all its healthy nutrients!

  6. Jon says:

    I come from a family with heart disease and high cholesteral….. I avoid the yolks. I don't need any thing adding to the problem I inherited.

  7. Ronda says:

    I am recovering from salivary gland cancer. Having had 1/2 of my tongue removed this year I find the egg yolks one of the best and easiest things I am able to eat in order to get the protein I need; I have always prefered the yolk anyway, so now I just don't have to feel bad when I give the dog the white which I find too tough to eat. : )

  8. Sue says:

    I no longer listen to the 'experts'. One day something is bad for us, the next day it's really healthy or us. I really like everything about eggs, boiled, fried, scrambled and deviled. Most experts just want to be known for SOMETHING so they start a brand new myth. So chill out, EAT WHOLE EGGS!!!!!!

    • ricardo says:

      so true in many ways, i for one have always believed in, "moderation" in what ever we do in our lives. food now more than ever because i want to be healthy

  9. Brenda says:

    I grew up in a house of egg dad would eat 2 for breakfast and 2 boiled in his lunch… and and even though he had other health issues chloestorl was not one of them… i really feel that really most(not all) foods are ok in moderation. I still eat eggs but I either just eat 1 or in a omlette at a resturant I will have 1 and 2 whites… but it is really hard to pass on those yummy yokes

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