The Nutritional Value of Egg Whites Versus Egg Yolks: What Do You Use?

What came first, the chicken or the egg? My vote is the egg, especially since this post is all about them. The latest and greatest debate lately has been: What is better for you, the egg white or egg yolk?

Eggs are a great source of a complete high quality protein with few calories. One whole egg has ~5.5 grams of protein in only ~68 calories. Eggs contain choline, which is important, especially since our bodies can not produce enough of it. Without enough choline, you can also become deficient in another essential nutrient, folic acid.

Let’s take a closer look at each.

Egg Whites

Egg whites are a low-calorie, fat-free food. They contain the bulk of the egg’s protein. The egg white contains about 4 grams of protein, 55 mg of sodium and only 17 calories. A single egg white also offers 1.3 micrograms of folate, 6.6 mcg of selenium, 2.3 mg of calcium, 3.6 mg of magnesium, and 4.9 mg of phosphorus and 53.8 mg of potassium.

Egg Yolks

It is true, egg yolks carry the cholesterol, the fat and saturated fat of the egg. However, what is often overlooked are the many nutrients that come with that, such as the fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and other nutrients. One egg yolk has around 55 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, 210 mg of cholesterol, 8 mg of sodium, and 2.7 grams of protein.

The table below by the USDA compares the nutrients of the egg white versus the egg yolk, along with a comparison of the percentage of total nutrition found in the yolk and white.

Nutrients: Egg Yolks Versus Egg Whites

Nutrient White Yolk % Total in White % Total in Yolk
Protein 3.6 g 2.7g 57% 43%
Fat 0.05g 4.5g 1% 99%
Calcium 2.3 mg 21.9 mg 9.5% 90.5%
Magnesium 3.6 mg 0.85 mg 80.8% 19.2%
Iron 0.03 mg 0.4 mg 6.2% 93.8%
Phosphorus 5 mg 66.3 mg 7% 93%
Potassium 53.8 mg 18.5 mg 74.4% 25.6%
Sodium 54.8 mg 8.2 mg 87% 13%
Zinc 0.01 mg 0.4 mg 0.2% 99.8%
Copper 0.008 mg 0.013 mg 38% 62%
Manganese 0.004 mg 0.009 mg 30.8% 69.2%
Selenium 6.6 mcg 9.5 mcg 41% 59%
Thiamin 0.01 mg 0.03 mg 3.2% 96.8%
Riboflavin 0.145 mg 0.09 mg 61.7% 48.3%
Niacin 0.035 mg 0.004 mg 89.7% 9.3%
Pantothenic acid. 0.63 mg 0.51 mg 11% 89%
B6 0.002 mg 0.059 mg 3.3% 96.7%
Folate 1.3 mcg 24.8 mcg 5% 95%
B12 0.03 mcg 0.331 mcg 8.3% 91.7%
Vitamin A 0 IU 245 IU 0% 100%
Vitamin E 0 mg 0.684 mg 0% 100%
Vitamin D 0 IU 18.3 IU 0% 100%
Vitamin K 0 IU 0.119 IU 0% 100%
DHA and AA 0 94 mg 0% 100%
Carotenoids 0 mcg 21 mcg 0% 100%

As you can see, the egg yolk has more actual nutrients, but in my opinion the entire egg gives the most complete nutrition.

It is interesting that over the years there have been different recommendations regarding the best part of the egg. New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it.

Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol. However, if you suffer from coronary artery disease or have any heart health issues like high cholesterol, the recommendation is still to limit your dietary intake of cholesterol. Usually high-fat and high-saturated fat foods will also be higher in cholesterol.

Next up, I’ll write about some of the nutritional values of eggs and include a few favorite egg recipes.

Are you leery of eating egg yolks? What ways have you found to use egg whites?

Photo Credit: Ella Novak

About Grace Derocha

Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified health coach. She loves helping others learn how to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. Grace was born and raised in Michigan. She is a wife, mommy, Spartan, and avid Detroit sports fan. She loves food, music, dancing, shopping, reading, and smiling.
 
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  1. Pingback: 6 Great Health Benefits of Eggs (and 7 ‘Egg-ceptional’ Recipes) — A Healthier Michigan

  2. web hosting companies 3 years ago

    If you eat daily one egg means you get it more calories in your health.

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    • Grace Derocha RD CDE 3 years ago

      There are definitely health benefits by incorporating some eggs into your diet. Like with anything you want to practice moderation.

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      • Matt 3 months ago

        I hate when people say, “anything in moderation.” No, not anything in moderation, there are a lot of things that shouldn’t be taken in at all….

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  3. Kris Johnson 3 years ago

    Grace,
    Thank you for documenting the benefits of eating the whole egg. I cringe when I hear people say they throw away the egg yolk! But as a retired dietitian who has changed her tune about fats, I take exception to your cautions about saturated fat. Those who have looked carefully at the research have found no evidence that natural saturated fats or cholesterol actually cause heart disease or any other health problem. I have several links on my website about the benefits of saturated fats here: http://home.roadrunner.com/~krisjohnson/Kris/Carbs&Fats.htm#SatFat.
    Excessive amounts of polyunsaturated fats and the trans fats derived from them are the real problem. The best way to improve important cardiac risk factors, that is increase HDL and lower triglycerides, is to limit carbs and most vegetable oils, while getting adequate natural saturated fats in the diet. This is nicely documented in the book, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, by Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, and Stephen Phinney, MD, PhD
     

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    • Grace Derocha RD CDE 3 years ago

      Hi Kris,
       
      Thank you so much for your comment. I actually have been reading about this new research lately about saturated fat. I think that you bring up a very good point. I will definitely check out your website and look into that book. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  4. Kris Johnson 3 years ago

    There is much to learn, Grace. And we’re kind of swimming upstream. You might like to join the Facebook group Healthy Nation Coalition, which is populated by a lot of RD’s who are learning the truth about fat and cholesterol and carbs.

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    • Grace Derocha RD CDE 3 years ago

      I agree, Kris. And the tricky part is it is ever evolving with more to learn. I just tried to join the Healthy Nation Coalition group via Facebook, but it is not letting me for some reason. I will keep trying. Thank you for the recommendation. :o)

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  5. rapid weight loss 3 years ago

    This story is extremely nice and instructive. Men and women can study a good deal from it

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  6. Catalin Manea 12 months ago

    Great stuff Grace! I’m glad to see that that are more specialists trying to educate people to accept healthy fats as part of their diets. I’m trying to do the same through my blog. It’s been a few good decades since natural foods have been demonized while consumption of high sugar high carb processed foods have been encouraged by the media and medical community. Now I’m gonna go make myself a 6 eggs omelette( :

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  7. Yolanda garza 8 months ago

    I would like to know more of your egg white recipes, I only eat egg whites, I like to know about your diabetic diets

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  8. Pingback: New game-- Is it wrong that I really hate....? - Page 13 - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community

  9. Dorothy Morgan 5 months ago

    Interesting article. I didn’t know the egg yolk had so much nutritional value in fact more nutrients than the egg white.

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  10. msbob 4 months ago

    Great article!

    The true irony is how many people avoid the egg yolk, then overeat giant dishes of pasta or pizza and drink an oversized pepsi.

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  11. vidushi mukhi 2 months ago

    Hello grace…
    dat ws such a benficial informatn..
    Is it fyn if v take 2 white portions at a tym instead of eatn a whole egg??

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  12. Rebecca Loucks 2 months ago

    I’m interested in knowing if the protein in egg whites is readily digestible. Some years ago I read a source that reported that it is not.

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