Many people have the habit of avoiding whole eggs – in particular, egg yolks. Many of us believe that it’ll help keep our cholesterol levels in check, while others cannot pin down a clear reason to skip the yolk. If so many people forgo their yolk, it has to be bad, right?
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We decided to look into different aspects of consuming eggs to decide if we’re ready to forgo egg yolks altogether. Check each of these points off, and let us know what you think!
Egg yolk contains good nutrients
90% of the nutrients in a whole egg are found in the yolk. This includes vitamins, protein, minerals, and anti-oxidants. In omega-3-eggs, the yolk also contains essential fatty acids, which boosts proper brain function. The protein found in egg yolk is also more readily absorbed by the body, compared to the protein in egg whites.
Thus, when you skip out on egg yolks, you miss out on all these nutritional benefits for your body.
It contains higher cholesterol than egg white
Many people are leery of eating egg yolks due to its cholesterol level. Along with all the nutrients, a large egg contains around 200 mg of cholesterol and 6 grams of fat, all of which is found in the yolk. It may sound sensible to avoid the yolk if you want to keep your body’s cholesterol level in check – however, research has shown that this is not the case.
Firstly, cholesterol can be found in two forms – HDL, the good form, and LDL, the bad form. Egg yolks contain HDL. Thus, eating the egg yolk will actually improve your HDL to LDL cholesterol ratio and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, in the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, Dr. Udo Erasumus says that for 70% of the affluent populations in the world, increased cholesterol consumption decreases its production in the body, through a regulating feedback system that protects them. The other 30% of the population may not have adequate feedback, and would be wise to limit dietary cholesterol consumption.
In short, this means that for most people, consuming egg yolk will not elevate your overall cholesterol levels.
What this means is this: the cholesterol present in yolk should not be a concern to most of you, and may even improve your health. However, if you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, you may wish to consult your doctor regarding your cholesterol intake. Your body is likely unable to handle dietary cholesterol effectively, and too many egg yolks may be bad for you.
Its effect on weight loss
Egg whites are a popular diet food since they contain very little calories (only 20kcal per egg). Meanwhile, many people shy away from egg yolks as they usually contain around 55kcal of calories – more than double of that of egg whites.
While yolks do contain the majority of the calories found in the egg, losing weight is not simply about cutting calories out of your diet.
Recent studies have shown that the nutrients in egg yolks help to regulate blood sugar levels and stimulate fat burning hormones. Furthermore, whole eggs rank high on the Satiety index, which means that they keep you feeling full for a longer time.
Egg yolks keep you satisfied – they reduce your appetite and tendency to snack. This is due to the protein found not only in egg whites, but also in egg yolk.
Thus if you are on a weight-loss program, it may help to include egg yolks in your diet. However, if you are concerned about calories, it is worth noting that yolks do contain a fair bit of them, especially when you compare them to the whites.
Understand your body and have it in moderation
No matter how wonderful something claims to be, nothing is good when consumed in excess, and this is the same is for eggs. The recommended limit of dietary cholesterol by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is 300 mg per day, and only 200 mg for people with diabetes or risk factors for heart disease.
If you are already on a high-cholesterol diet, you may want to avoid eating too many yolks. Or better yet, remove the fatty meat and oily foods from your diet and replace them with whole eggs instead.
A dietician at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition, Maxine Smith, R.D., L.D. says, “You can probably get away with one egg a day. Though if you’re high risk, limit yourself to two per week.”
All in all, whether you should acquire or avoid egg yolks for your diet depends on your health (whether your body can digest cholesterol well) and what you seek to incorporate into your diet. While yolks may contain calories and cholesterol, they contain a good amount of nutrients as well, which you may not want to forgo.