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. diany says:

    Keep the yolks!

    i would even do Xtra yolk :) i luv eggs!

    egg whites-only, is for meringues!

  2. Arianna says:

    I love and eat the whole egg! Egg whites don't really have a taste by themselves and with my money being so tight, I really can't stand the idea of wasting food by throwing away half of something, especially when it's got good stuff for your body in it. I'm not supposed to eat them though because I've got high cholesterol. I'll be ok for 3-6 months, then if I start eating out more, fried foods, or more eggs and cheese, my cholesterol spikes. Mleh. But eat the whole egg! Despite the saturated fat and cholesterol, they're good for you. Don't go have a 6-egg quiche and eat the whole thing by yourself in one sitting. Moderation's the key! =]

  3. Marie H says:

    Funny I just had this conversation with a friend last Friday about opting out for the yolk because it's bad for the heart. I actually thought otherwise. I didn't say anything because she seemed so sold about that cleansing diet she claims they lost weight.

  4. Krissy says:

    Back to the yolks in 2010. After many years on the egg white lifestyle

    I went back to proper thinking. LA is such a food fad world and we all get sucked in by the hype. Even Chefs like me. I travel the world for a living and I simply got fed up

    having to cut the yolk out of my eggs overseas (Tyoically Americans use egg whites)

    I finally said; "This is stupid" and ate the yolk.

    It's the best part anyway. Egg whiters know it but just can't admit it YET.

  5. LaDawn says:

    I love eggs and always eat the whole egg so I buy local when I can or buy the cage-free. I recently read:
    “Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion we have reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:”
    • 1/3 less cholesterol
    • 1/4 less saturated fat
    • 2/3 more vitamin A
    • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
    • 3 times more vitamin E
    • 7 times more beta carotene

    Read more:

    To the lovely incredible, eatable egg!

  6. Diane says:

    I have had gastric by pass surgery and eggs are a daily staple for me. An egg is not big and packs in the protein I need..Either scrambled with spinach or just hard boiled, I eat at least 2 a day. Also, my cholesterol is low, and I always eat the yolk! :-)

  7. Teresa says:

    Thank God for the chicken.. love eggs-
    great source of protein and nutritional value…

  8. Becky says:

    I always eat organic eggs and eat the whole egg.. My usual breakfast is eggs fried over easy over toast. I love runny yolks with the toast!

  9. @ajperyea says:

    I used to eat all the egg but I have developed an allergy to the yolks. So now it is whites only for me as much as possible.

  10. hersey23 says:

    I never toss the yolk .

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