Which is better for you, eggs or egg whites?
This is a question I hear all the time. What should I be eating? Eggs, or egg whites? Why are egg whites better for you? What's wrong with egg yolk? Which one should I buy at the grocery store? The answer to these questions might actually surprise you!
This winner is... eggs! Whole eggs are way better for you and here's why.
There are a substantial amount of nutrients in the egg yolks of whole eggs. In fact, egg yolks are one of the most nutritious foods that a human can consume. It has been said that egg yolks are "nature's multi-vitamin." For an example, here's a list of vitamins you can find inside an egg yolk:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
- And more!
Eggs contain essential ingredients for a healthy brain. Not only do these ingredients have what we need to create healthy brain cells, they can help elevate cognitive function and improve neural processing speeds. (They can literally make your smarter and remember things) This means that if you've completely replaced your egg consumption with egg whites, you could be missing out on a lot of nutritional benefits.
Eggs can even improve your cardiovascular health! ❤️
"If egg yolks are so healthy, why do I see egg whites at restaurants listed as healthy options?"
It's true. At restaurants across the country, we see egg whites and egg white omelets listed as healthy options. One thing we need to understand is the make-up of both whole eggs, and egg whites. In egg whites, with the egg yolk completely removed from the equation (healthy fat), all that remains are the proteins inside the egg white itself. This means that egg whites are lower in calories. (No fat = Less calories) The macronutrient make-up of each of these foods are listed here:
1 Egg (70 Calories):
- 0 Carbs
- 5 Fat
- 6 Protein
1 Serving of Egg Whites (25 Calories):
- 0 Carbs
- 0 Fat
- 5 Protein
So as you can see, looking at ONLY this information, it appears that egg whites are better for you, but they aren't. They are simply lower in calories. And because our western culture prioritizes low-calorie everything in our dieting or weight loss schemes, we get tricked into believing that egg whites are better for you. This is where we must understand the difference between eating healthy, and losing weight.
There's a difference between eating healthy and losing weight!
Let that sink in for a moment. "Isn't losing weight healthy?" Well, there are benefits to being lean and having a lower body fat percentage, but you can get lean on an unhealthy diet. You can even gain weight on a healthy diet!
It's all in the numbers. Changing you body fat percentage has to do with HOW MUCH you're eating. If you want to lose weight, eat less calories than you need. If you want to gain weight, eat more calories than you need.
Being healthy comes from WHAT you're eating. What is your body actually made of? My suggestion would be to prioritize your health first, THEN put your calorie intake at a level that will help you reach your body composition goals.
"Don't eggs have cholesterol? And isn't that bad for you?"
A couple of decades ago, eggs got a bad reputation because a conclusion had been made that cholesterol was the key component in the causation of cardiovascular diseases, and could lead to heart conditions and even heart attacks.
But what recent studies have shown is that although cholesterol has been found in the arteries of heart attack victims, it is rarely, if not ever, the cause.
Cholesterol is the "innocent bystander at the scene of the crime" - Max Lugavere (Author of Genius Foods)
But since it is so simple to draw conclusions based off its presence, cholesterol took the fall, and our society has attempted to avoid cholesterol and saturated fats ever since. 🙄
Except for the very few amount of people in our population that may be hyper absorbers of cholesterol, the belief that eating saturated fat or cholesterol causes heart attacks is simply not true. In fact, cholesterol is a vital nutrient for the body! Isn't that crazy?
There are so many benefits to having cholesterol in our bodies, especially for our brain. Fun Fact: Did you know that the brain actually produces it's own cholesterol? Cholesterol assists in the transport of nutrients, as it is a key part of our cell membranes. For our brains, it helps the processes that affect the release of neurotransmitters, which is basically what makes you smart and have a good memory. It can also affect the rest of our body positively by supporting the production of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.
So, should you eat all the cholesterol you can find?
No, not necessarily. The main point here is to keep your body’s cholesterol system healthy by not depleting your body of cholesterol. Don’t completely trade out your eggs for egg whites. Eat your eggs and reap the benefit of all their goodness!
So, what can you do with your egg whites?
Here is where I believe egg whites can have it’s benefit. For people who have a high protein diet, like myself, you can utilize egg whites by ADDING them into your whole eggs! This way, you can get all of the protein you need, assisting the muscle building process. PLUS, you can reap the benefits from the gold inside the egg yolks.
So, in conclusion, eat your eggs! Enjoy the yolk! If you want to add even more protein into your diet, go ahead and add some egg whites to the mix, but I would highly suggest that you don’t completely replace your egg consumption with egg whites.
Side Note: I have noticed a trend of people eating raw egg whites, or putting them into their protein shakes. I would suggest avoiding this! Raw egg whites grab on to the biotin in your intestines and remove it. This could lead to a biotin deficiency. You need biotin for a healthy digestive system.
Eggs win the battle. It contains protein, and is a very healthy fat for your body and brain. But let’s be real, the real winner here is you. Go out and enjoy the eggs. Eat them all! (Or just 2-3 a day)
I have learned much of this information from various sources including Max Lugavere's new book Genius Foods. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to eat healthier, improve cognitive function, and even help prevent cardiovascular or neurodegenerative diseases.