Should i eat egg yolk? The egg and cholesterol myth has been around for a long time but does it actually have any truth to it? An egg yolk contains a certain amount of cholesterol, along with fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. It is a relatively large part of the egg and will contain most of the nutrients, unless it is separated from the white. What is the heart disease hypothesis? Let’s look into this shall we.
The nutritional content of an egg yolk depends on the size, origin, and processing of the egg, as well as the species from which it comes.
The final dietary value of egg yolks varies greatly depending on their preparation. For example, cooking whole eggs in oil may double or even triple the fat and cholesterol content of an egg dish.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a raw yolk from one standard, large egg provides the following:
- 55 calories
- 2.70 g of protein
- 4.51 g of fat
- 184 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol
- 0.61 g of carbohydrate
- 0.10 g of sugar
- 0 g of dietary fiber
Egg yolks contain at least seven essential minerals, including:
Egg yolks are a plentiful source of many vitamins, especially fat- and water-soluble vitamins.
The table below outlines the vitamin content of one large (17 g) egg yolk.
|Vitamin B-6||0.060 mg|
|Vitamin B-12||0.332 micrograms (mcg)|
|Vitamin A||64.8 mcg|
|Vitamin E||0.439 mg|
|Vitamin D (D-2 and D-3)||0.918 mcg|
|Vitamin K||0.119 mcg|
Duck, quail, goose, and turkey eggs contain higher amounts of many vital nutrients than chicken eggs.
Yolk vs. egg white
In comparison with the 2.7 g of protein in the yolk of a single, large egg, the white provides 3.6 g
While the white provides more protein, the yolk contains nearly all of the fat- and water-soluble vitamins and minerals in eggs. Research suggests that consuming whole eggs has more significant benefits than eating egg whites alone.
For example, a 2017 study found that young men who ate whole eggs immediately after performing resistance exercises had higher rates of muscle metabolism than those who consumed only egg whites.
Are Whole Eggs and Egg Yolks Good or Bad for You?
Depending on whom you ask, whole eggs are either incredibly nutritious or harmful for your health.
On one hand, they’re considered an excellent and inexpensive source of protein and various nutrients. On the other hand, some people believe the yolks can increase your risk of heart disease.
So, are eggs beneficial or harmful for your health? This article explores both sides of the argument.
Why are eggs sometimes considered unhealthy?
Whole eggs have two main components:
- Egg white: the white part, which is mostly protein
- Egg yolk: the yellow or orange part, which is rich in nutrients
The main reason eggs were considered unhealthy in the past is that the yolks are high in cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in food. It’s also made by your body. A few decades ago, large studies linked high blood cholesterol to heart disease.
In 1961, the American Heart Association recommended limiting dietary cholesterol. Many other international health organizations did the same.
Over the next several decades, worldwide egg consumption decreased significantly. Many people replaced eggs with cholesterol-free egg substitutes that were promoted as a healthier option.
For several decades, eggs were believed to increase heart disease risk because of their high cholesterol content.
It’s true that whole eggs are high in cholesterol
Whole eggs (with the yolks) are indeed high in cholesterol. In fact, they’re a significant source of cholesterol in the standard American diet.
Two large whole eggs (100 grams) contain about 411 mg of cholesterol. By contrast, 100 grams of 30% fat ground beef has about 78 mg of cholesterol.
Until recently, the recommended maximum daily intake of cholesterol was 300 mg per day. It was even lower for people with heart disease.
However, based on the latest research, health organizations in many countries no longer recommend restricting cholesterol intake.
For the first time in decades, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in December 2015 did not specify an upper daily limit for dietary cholesterol.
Despite this change, many people remain concerned about consuming eggs. This is because they’ve been conditioned to associate high dietary cholesterol intake with high blood cholesterol and heart disease.
However, just because a food is high in cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean it raises cholesterol levels in your blood.
Two large whole eggs contain 411 mg of cholesterol, which exceeds the maximum daily limit that was in place for many decades. However, this restriction on dietary cholesterol has now been lifted.
How eating eggs affects blood cholesterol
Although it may seem logical that dietary cholesterol would raise blood cholesterol levels, it usually doesn’t work that way.
Your liver actually produces cholesterol in large amounts because cholesterol is a necessary nutrient for your cells.
When you eat larger amounts of high cholesterol foods, such as eggs, your liver produces less cholesterol because more of it is coming from your diet.
Conversely, when you get little cholesterol from food, your liver produces more to compensate.
Because of this, blood cholesterol levels don’t change significantly in most people when they eat more cholesterol from foods.
In one long-term, well-designed study, consuming egg yolks daily for 1 year did not significantly change total cholesterol, LDL (bad) or HDL cholesterol, or the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (an important marker of heart disease) in adults with early signs of age-related macular degeneration.
However, one review of well-designed studies in healthy individuals found that eating cholesterol-containing foods raised both LDL (bad) and HDL cholesterol, but the ratio of LDL to HDL (an important marker of heart disease risk) remained constant compared with the control group.
Likewise, in another study, 30 people who ate 3 eggs per day for 13 weeks had higher total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL (bad) cholesterol compared with those who took only a choline supplement.
However, their HDL to LDL ratio remained the same. The study’s authors concluded that eating foods high in cholesterol regulates the amount of cholesterol your body makes in order to maintain the HDL to LDL ratio.
Also, keep in mind that cholesterol isn’t a “bad” substance. It is actually involved in various processes in your body, such as:
- production of vitamin D
- production of steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
- production of bile acids, which help digest fat
Last but not least, cholesterol is an essential component of every cell membrane in your body, making it necessary for survival.
Surprising Effects of Eating Egg Yolks
We’ve cracked the case on eating egg yolks.
Eating eggs means you might be getting an ample amount of protein added to your diet. This is great to help rebuild your body, and can potentially help you develop muscles. Not to mention, eggs may help you with your overall body health, such as potentially losing fat and lowering inflammation levels. There’s a lot that can be done by incorporating this small food.
However, while the egg as a whole can be great, both egg whites and egg yolk can have different effects on your health. Looking to separate the egg yolks from the egg whites? Keep on reading to see what Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND award-winning nutrition expert, Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Family Immunity Cookbook, and member of our medical expert board, has to say about what egg yolks can do for your body. Then, check out Why You Should Be Eating Eggs Right Now.
They may help your eye health.
“Egg yolks contain the phytochemical lutein, which is also what gives the yolk that gorgeous yellow hue,” says Amidor.
According to Amidor, lutein has been linked with eye health. Specifically, lutein has been connected to preventing macular degeneration—the cause of vision loss, which may occur as you age.
They give you muscle-building protein.
“The yolk contains almost half the protein in the entire egg,” says Amidor.
Generally speaking, a whole egg is rich with nearly 13% protein. If you’re eating one extra-large egg that consists of 7 grams of protein, 3 of those grams would belong to the egg yolk.
“Protein helps with a variety of functions, including building muscles, so don’t toss those golden yolks,” Amidor exclaims.
They may help heart health.
Amidor suggests that the yolk also provides omega-3 fats, which have been shown to help promote heart health and reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.
Certain omega-3 fats have also been linked to potentially killing cancer cells and may help with arthritis.
They may help bone health.
“The egg yolk is one of the only food sources of vitamin D,” says Amidor. “Vitamin D helps calcium get absorbed—and both help keep your bones healthy.”
Amidor further suggests that it’s important for both children and adults to get enough of this nutrient to prevent the risk of bone diseases. This includes rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
“In addition, vitamin D is one of the under-consumer nutrients in every population as per the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines for Americans,” says Amidor.
Common Myths Around Egg Yolk Consumption
Myth 1: Eating egg yolks makes people fat.
Many people prefer egg whites because of their low-calorie values and beliefs that egg yolk increases weight and cholesterol. But if you remove the yolk of the egg, you lose out on all its fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins and minerals. Egg yolks do not have an excellent reputation but are full of proteins and other nutrients for healthy weight management. Egg yolks also contain vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption.
Do you know why you feel full after having eggs for breakfast? It is because of the protein present in yolks. Research also shows that eating whole eggs will help you control your food intake throughout the day while reducing your total calorie count. Therefore it will lead to overall weight reduction.
Myth 2: Eggs have high cholesterol levels.
We have heard forever that consuming eggs is bad for our cholesterol levels. Still, recent research has confirmed that eggs do not impact our blood cholesterol levels to a great level. Thus, you can safely eat eggs daily, even if you’re at risk of heart disease. So what affects the blood cholesterol level negatively? It includes simple sugars, saturated fats and trans fats. Eggs comprise around 211 milligrams of cholesterol per egg which is about 70% of the daily intake of cholesterol. Therefore, you need to stick to a low saturated and trans fats diet.
Myth 3: Brown eggs & white eggs are nutritionally different.
In a typical scenario, the perception is that brown foods are healthier. For example, if you go for whole-grain bread, wheat pasta, brown rice, or other brown food products, it is much more nutritious than their counterparts in white. But this is not the case when it comes to eggs. In terms of nutritional content and health benefits, white and brown eggs stand in the same position. When it comes to pricing, brown eggs tend to cost a little more than white ones. But, the nutrient quality or nutritional value remains unaffected.
Myth 4: The safety of eggs depends on the dates on egg cartons.
When discussing food safety myths and facts, one of the most trending topics of discussion has always been the sell-by date. The expiration date, which is present on an egg carton, serves as a guideline about food quality but not food safety. Therefore, it is to clearly distinguish that the expiration date talks about when the eggs are in good condition and not about when you can consume them safely.
Eggs taste fresh when you consume them sooner but will not pose a safety threat if you eat them, even on the day of their expiry. Did you know that eggs can be eaten safely up to five weeks from the date that is on the egg cartons? After that, you have to preserve them by freezing them. While freezing, remove the shell and keep the white and yolk in a container. Defrost them before cooking. However, once the eggs start rotting or sulfuric, you should throw them away.
Myth 5: Pregnant women should not eat eggs.
It is usual to advise pregnant women not to consume eggs. It can put their baby at risk of an egg allergy. It is a misconception cleared by health professionals who motivate pregnant and lactating women to include eggs in their diets. Eggs are an excellent source of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and protein. It is beneficial as long as you take care not to consume raw or uncooked eggs.
Myth 6: Raw eggs are healthier than cooked eggs.
A lot of theories talk about the advantages of eating raw eggs. Bodybuilders go for raw eggs to grow more muscle, enhance muscle mass, and diminish the acids in the stomach. In addition, you rarely get sick from salmonella as usually only 1 out of 30,000 eggs is infected. But the plus points of eating raw eggs are simply overrated and not confirmed. The body does not usually digest egg whites that are raw or cooked.
Did you know that to get vitamin B12, you need to eat two whole eggs? Also, the way you cook can affect eggs’ nutrient content and take away the risk factor of being affected by salmonella. Thus, go for cooked eggs and feel safer.
Myth 7: Raw eggs comprise more protein than cooked eggs.
The nutrient content in raw eggs may be different, but it is again a misconception that raw eggs will help you gain muscles faster. Just in movies, you can spot ripped bodybuilders consuming raw eggs on the screen. Unfortunately, it is just a myth and not reality. Therefore, you must cook your eggs and provide your body with the much-required protein.
It makes it easier for the digestive enzymes to work, and absorption also becomes smooth. Also, cooked eggs are 90% bioavailable, whereas raw eggs are only 50%. So do not miss out on your extra grams of protein from cooked eggs; by consuming some post-workout raw eggs smoothie or shake.
Myth 8: Egg whites are healthier than whole eggs.
Egg yolk causes no gain in weight, and neither do egg whites. Egg whites often fall into the good food category due to their low calorie, cholesterol and fat content. Further research confirms that the consumption of eggs does not affect heart health. It is because dietary cholesterol will not transform into high blood cholesterol levels. It is the yolk of the egg where you find most of the egg’s folate, iron and vitamins. The yolk also consists of nutrients like lutein & zeaxanthin that improve eye and brain health.
Myth 9: A piece of eggshell accidentally consumed is dangerous.
If a large piece of eggshell enters your body, it can hurt your throat or damage your oesophagus. Also, in the case of large eggshells, you should avoid uncooked ones as there is a possibility of harmful bacteria called salmonella. However, just a tiny bit of an eggshell amid your omelette or red velvet cupcake may be annoying but not pose any health risks.
Myth 10: You should not eat eggs regularly.
Many people think that eggs can fatten you while trying to lose weight. However, eggs have always proven to be an excellent source of nutrients, and you should not avoid them at any cost. Eggs consist of 13 essential vitamins and minerals, making them a perfect choice for all those trying to eat well.
Myth 11: Organic & raw eggs are much better than standard eggs.
You should know the nutritional differences between organic, standard and free-range eggs. If there is any nutritional difference, it is in the case of eggs laid by hens fed by diets like omega – 3 enriched eggs.