Should you eat egg whites or whole eggs? Is egg white better than whole egg? Why eat egg white vs whole egg? Is the white part of the egg healthier, or do you get more benefits if you eat the whole egg? Are whole eggs healthier because they have better nutrition, or are egg whites healthier because they are low in calories and fat, and cholesterol free?
Egg white vs whole egg: overview
The difference between egg white and whole egg resides not in the fact that one is necessarily healthier than the other, but in the fact that each part of the egg provides different nutrition. However, both egg whites and whole eggs are healthy and nutritionally dense, despite their differences in nutritional status. Whichever of the two you may choose to eat, you are sure to enjoy a range of benefits for health.
Whether you choose egg whites or whole eggs, the secret is to eat eggs reasonably, and cook them in a way that is healthy. If you would like to eat whole eggs vs egg whites, but are concerned that is not the healthy option, know that both are healthy so long as they are consumed in reasonable amounts, in accordance to your individual nutritional requirements. Neither egg whites nor whole eggs are healthy if consumed excessively.
How is egg white better than whole egg?
There are many benefits to eating egg whites, and the fact that egg whites are low in calories and essentially fat free makes them the preferred choice. For the most part, people tend to choose egg whites over whole eggs, and especially over egg yolk, for the mere fact that they are low in calories, almost fat free, and cholesterol free.
Most people who eat just egg whites are often looking to lose weight, increase their protein intake, build more muscle mass and preserve their muscle gain. Those with existing cardiovascular problems such as atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, or obesity, are advised to eat egg whites over whole eggs.
Egg whites are a source of complete protein, with all essential amino acids the body needs every day, and non-essential ones. The white part of the egg is also high in protein with close to 11 grams of protein per 100 grams which is about 3 egg whites from 3 regular chicken eggs.
- Protein is needed to make immune system cells for the immune system response;
- Protein physically builds muscle and repairs damaged muscle tissue;
- Protein is needed to create connective tissue such as elastin and collagen with benefits for skin elasticity and tendons health;
- Protein doesn’t cause digestive upset like fat or indigestible carbohydrates;
- Protein helps build strong hair and combats hair fall by stimulating the growth of the hair follicle and keratinization.
But what makes egg whites better than whole eggs is the fact that they are almost fat free with a fat content of less than 0.2 grams per 100 grams. Vs egg whites, whole eggs have almost 10 grams of fat per 100 grams.
Egg whites are also cholesterol free which is a major dietary concern for many people despite the fact that reasonable amounts of cholesterol in the diet are actually good for your health. Whole eggs on the other hand have over 400 mg (milligrams) of cholesterol per 100 grams which is above the maximum recommended intake of cholesterol per day for the average adult which is 300 mg.
How are whole eggs better than egg whites?
Despite the consensus that eating egg white is better than eating whole eggs, whole eggs are just as healthy and good for you, if not better, albeit in a different way. What makes eating whole eggs better than eating just egg white is their superior nutritional value. Whole eggs have more of almost every vitamin, mineral and other essential nutrients, and essential nutrients that egg whites don’t have at all.
Whole eggs provide more of most vitamins and minerals, and also contain all the fat soluble vitamins that you can’t find in egg white, which are contained exclusively in the egg yolk. If you do choose whole eggs over egg whites, you will get vitamins A, D and E with benefits for eyesight, the immune system and skin.
Whole eggs are high in protein with a protein content of over 12 grams per 100 grams of egg, about 1 gram of protein more than in egg whites. Just one regular chicken egg at around 50 grams gets you over 6 grams of protein. Not to mention that whole eggs have all essential amino acids as well as non-essential ones.
Another thing that makes whole eggs better than egg whites is their fat content. Although vilified, fat is actually good for you in reasonable amounts. And eggs are not excessive sources of fat. One regular chicken egg has just 5 grams of fat, and 100 grams of chicken egg close to 10 grams of fat.
- Every cell in the body needs fat to build its membrane, from brain cells to skin cells;
- Certain fats have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits;
- Some fats exert a reparative and anti-aging action;
- Fat is food for brain, supporting cognitive functions, intellectual effort and cognitive performance;
- Various fats holds benefits for fertility, nervous system health and neurotransmission, and even reduce cancer risks.
Another nutritional aspect that makes whole eggs better than egg whites is their content of cholesterol. In the right amounts, cholesterol is good for you, and it can even be considered an essential nutrient like vitamins and minerals. Cholesterol is needed to build the protective myelin sheath surrounding the tail of nerve cells – myelin insulates nerve cells and ensure smooth communication between them. Loss of the myelin sheath causes neurodegeneration and has been associated with diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Cholesterol helps the body produce vitamin D as a result of sun exposure. Vitamin D has immunomodulating effects, boosts fertility and contributes to good bone density and lower osteoporosis risks by regulating the absorption of calcium and other minerals in bones. The body also uses cholesterol to produce digestive juices for optimal digestion, hormones for fertility, and more.
1 regular chicken egg at around 50 grams provides over 200 mg (milligrams) of cholesterol while 2 regular chicken eggs at around 100 grams provide over 400 mg of cholesterol. The recommended daily intake is 300 mg. However, nothing bad is going to happen if you eat 1 or 2 chicken eggs a day and exceed your daily recommended cholesterol intake, but otherwise have a clean diet, suited to your individual nutritional requirements.
Many of the benefits derived from eating whole eggs over egg whites are actually benefits of eating egg yolks. For example, eating whole eggs can help lower risks of cataract thanks to egg yolks containing yellow pigmented antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin which get deposited in the retina of the eye where they protect against damage and subsequent loss of vision.
Compared to egg whites, whole eggs have vitamin A in the form of retinol, pre-formed vitamin A. Located entirely in the egg yolk, vitamin A contributes to good visual acuity and the immune system. The vitamin A that you get from eating whole eggs vs just egg whites further provides anti-aging benefits by regulating skin cell renewal and exerting antioxidant and reparative effects at cell level.
Whole eggs are high in most vitamins and minerals thanks to the optimal nutrition of egg yolks, which can’t be said for egg whites. If you do choose to eat whole eggs, know they are high in choline, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B9 and zinc, and have a good content of vitamin B6, iron and vitamin E.
- Both egg white and whole egg are healthy and full of benefits.
- Whole eggs have better nutrition than egg whites thanks to the presence of the yolk.
- Whole eggs have more vitamins and minerals than egg whites, more fat, cholesterol and calories.
- Egg whites are low in calories, almost fat free, and completely free of cholesterol.
- Egg whites have a lower vitamin and mineral content, and less nutritional variety.
- Both whole eggs and egg whites are high in protein, with all essential amino acids.
- Fat and cholesterol in whole eggs are sources of important benefits for health.
- Whether you choose to eat egg whites vs whole eggs or vice versa, intake should be reasonable.