Eat Your Egg Yolks - It's the Egg Whites That Can Kill You

I have a confession.

I've been discriminating against egg yolks for years.  Believing the egg white was the only healthy part of the egg, I've been dropping egg yolk after egg yolk down the drain.  I would cringe as my friends and family dipped their toast in the yellow goo spilling out of their eggs. 

I shudder to think how much time and nutrition I've wasted trying to pick every last speck of egg yolk out of my hard boiled eggs - when they would crumble and not separate from the whites nice and easy. 

I'm ashamed of my part in promoting these lies about egg yolks.

Turns out - egg yolks have been getting a bad wrap.  They aren't evil after all.

To all the yolks I've wronged - I'm sorry.  And now it's time to set the record straight.

Scream It From the Rooftops - Egg Yolks Are Good For You

Eat Your Egg Yolks
Eat Your Egg Yolks

Turns out if you look, the true information is out there and easy to find, but somewhere along the way I took someone's word for it that egg yolks were little time bombs waiting to skyrocket my cholesterol and stop my heart.  It was probably one of the juice monkeys at the local gym - I dunno.  Anyways, egg yolks are full of fat and cholesterol -- but it's the good stuff not the bad stuff.  Obviously someone heard the word cholesterol and mass panic ensued - it was instant war against the egg yolk. 

I was recently "enlightened" when I came across an article by certified nutritionist and personal trainer Mike Geary - Are Whole Eggs Or Egg Whites Better For You? . Now this article went completely against everything I have been following for ten plus years, so naturally, it took a bit of convincing. 

Fast forward through 8 hours of research later, and it all comes down to this table that I summarized below and the facts it presents based on the USDA Nutrient Database.  This database has the goods on what nutrients are found in pretty much any food you can imagine.  It is used in all sorts of applications and nutrition programs.  It is pretty much the de facto resource if you need to find out exactly what is in what you are eating.  Most importantly, you can believe its data unlike the heresay from the local juice monkey.

Take A Look At These Benefits of Egg Yolks

 If you are throwing away your egg yolks, you are throwing away:

  1. 2.7g of protein (consider that the egg white has slightly more at 3.6g - you can double your protein intake by keeping the egg yolk)
  2. Vitamin A, E, D, K, DHA and AA, Carotenoids, and Zinc (the egg white has none of this stuff - and it's all good stuff)
  3. A lot of other really good nutrients (all of which you aren't getting much of in your egg whites)

So Why Have Fitness Pros Been Saying to Throw Away the Egg Yolks?

It's because the yolks contain 99% of the fat and back when lowfat diets were the craze of the day, everyone was deathly afraid of fat.  Well, fat isn't bad.  It's actually essential you get some fat and you can do a whole lot worse than the fat you will find in egg yolks. 

There are lots of bad fats out there - primarily the ones human beings have had a hand in making (trans fats for instance), but eggs are pretty much nature's multivitamin.  You're doing yourself a big disfavour by eliminating egg yolks from your diet.

But wait...let's take this one step further.

Also in my research, I found that egg whites aren't all they're cracked up to be.  In fact, raw egg whites contain two nasty things.  One of them is an inhibitor that has a role in preventing digestion and the other is a glycoprotein (Avidin) that basically attaches itself to the B vitamin biotin which prevents it from being used by your body.

So yeah, how's it feel to know you've been throwing away the good part and eating the bad part for as long as you can remember.  I can tell you, I wasn't all that thrilled - I guess ignorance really is bliss.

Personally, I'm glad I found this out. It is sooooo much easier to crack the egg and drop it into the frying pan rather than try to separate the white from the egg every time. No more eggs down the drain for me - all that good yolk goodness is going straight to my belly - hope you decide to do the same.

Comments

I eat three egg whites before I work out in the morning. When I eat 1 or 2 yolks with them (usually because they don't crumble out of the hard boiled eggs) I seem to have at least 30% more energy. Nothing scientific, just an observation....

Great work on the website.. Loving the how-to-box tutorial.

Interesting topic. Although, I've done my fair share of research and know that 'only' raw egg whites have any of the problems you've mentioned and the risk of contracting salmonella. Protein in raw eggs are only 51% bio-available. However, on pasteurization involving the right temperature, avidin is denatured and the protein in egg becomes 91% bio-available, killing all traces of salmonella.
Yolks aren't bad. But with the fat content I would'nt recommend a healthy gym goer go above 2 egg yolks a day. Even an extreme amount of vitamins and minerals can cause deposits.
Am not a professional and am only sharing my information with you.

Peace,

Keep up the good work!

I had heard the rumor that the yolks were bad for your health but I never wanted to believe it because they are so tasty and I love them so much! I am glad that authorities are disbanding these myths. Finally I can eat my eggs guilt free!!!

The fats in egg yolks also keep you fuller for longer and gives you far more energy than the egg whites, and that's important when you happen to be in the boxing gym for hours at a time on a daily basis. I would recommend keeping them in your diet, especially if your a vegetarian. You need those fats, otherwise your body won't function properly without them.

Organic eggs are the best, stay away from those nasty battery caged eggs, a chickens diet and well being plays a huge part in the quality of the egg. If you live on a property that allows pets and you have enough room, consider getting your own hens. That way you know exactly what they eating and how they are being treated. Its as easy as keeping 2 or 3 large hens in a dog kennel and allowing them out to forage during the day or in an old patched up shed with a run connected on the side, which can be constructed using chicken wire and large fencing posts. Although make sure that your property is dog proof. Chickens and dogs generally don't go hand in hand together. Chickens will be more than happy to eat any left over food scraps that you have sitting around, which reduces the cost of feed by a mile.

vegetarians do not eat eggs :)

Actually, vegans do not eat eggs. Vegetarians will.

While this is far from the only thing I have read on eggs yolks as a nutrition specialist you really do have to understand, like you said that cholesterol and fats are not bad. Why? Because most people don't realize that egg yolks are the essential nutrients and raise your HDL (good cholesterol) far more, while back in the day they thought it just raised your LDL (bad cholesterol).

A higher HDL has more positive effects on breaking down food too so even though your LDL goes up it is not a bad thing at all. However, the one thing you want to be aware of is that not all eggs are the same. Look for cage free farm fresh eggs because those are chickens that are healthy that are not fed genetically modified soy or grains. That's not their natural diet.

In response to the Dilip, you're right but the main reason why they contain traces of Salmonella is because of the ways the animals are raised which is in CAFO's (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations)...Do you think the chickens you are getting roam freely in a grassy pasture? Think again...you do not want to eat these chickens or their eggs and if you watch the documentary called Food Inc. which is awesome...you'll be a lot more weary of where you get your eggs and chickens. Cage-Free Farm Fresh...and now Free Roaming ;)

Great post!

This is good news Aaron!

I have one question about what to do now, and also in the longer-term for fitness/skills maintenance (I plan to recycle through the Gold programme through the year to maintain these in the long-term) as regards the eggs I eat.

In the How-to-Box 10-in-10 training programme meal plan and also in the Boxing Mini-Course meal plan, I note that the menus to be followed state that breakfasts should include -

"3 x Large Egg White (topped with cayenne pepper) .........." [presumably scrambled or as an omelette (although I've never done either using just the egg whites, only 2 or 3 whole eggs).

And in the "Tasty Fat Loss and Muscle Gaining Recipes" e-book, many recipies that contain eggs use only the egg whites. Where whole eggs are included in recipies in the e-book, a larger number of egg whites also seem to be included (in the ratio of 1:2 or 1:4, for example).

My query is - does the advice / instruction in the training program menus (about using egg whites) apply when following the Gold boxing programme for the first time and/or in the longer-term, when eating around 3 eggs a day? Or should the advice in the nutrition article be taken as removing this need. I normally have a 2- or 3- eggs as an omelette or as scrambled eggs or poached / soft boiled. Yum!

On an associated matter - have you come across any information as to whether toasting jeopardises any nutrients in wholemeal, rye or granary bread?

Thanks Aaron, boxon!

The reason the 10 in 10 system and the boxing mini course advocate leaving out the yolks is because they are relatively high in fat and contribute to a higher caloric intake during the day. The people using the 10 in 10 system are looking for some quick fat loss - so the extra calories matter. It's also the reason a lot of other plans out there leave out the yolks - when you're trying to induce a caloric deficit - every calorie counts.

That said, as long as your calorie intake can handle it, as pointed out in this article, the yolks are actually very good for you - nature's multivitamin. My suggestion - use a ratio and account for the calories in your overall daily consumption. I personally do 1 yolk to 4 egg whites. I will usually throw them in a bowl and mix with some peppers and a slice of cut up chicken, then prepare like an omelette. To keep lean, I'd stick to only one or two yolks and only use the whites of the rest.

In regards to toasting - I've wondered the same thing so did some quick research to confirm. Most foods, if cooked, do lose some of their nutrient value (although some like plants that are cooked a certain amount are actually made more digestable). In regards to toast, I'm inclined to believe this:

A Cynthia Harriman, director of Food and Nutrition Strategies for the Whole Grains Council , responds: “Two things happen when you toast bread. First, it browns, which may slightly reduce the digestibility and quality of proteins, according to a 2006 study of young males. Second, the amount of acrylamide (a possible carcinogen) increases. Are you going to die if you eat toast? Not at all. Maillard reaction prod- ucts and acrylamides are in many of the foods we eat, and the levels of both in toast are very low and likely insignifcant. But to be a stickler, yes, eating bread instead of toast is probably a fraction healthier. (Maybe that explains why I like my toast on the light side, in contrast to my husband who loves it practically burnt!)” (from Tuft's University)

Aaron, thanks for taking the time to research this and also the toasting issue and for your practical advice on what I need to consider and do.

I've just scoffed a brilliant ham omelette, made as you've suggested, Aaron, using 1 yolk and 3 whites, some lean (<5% fat) ham and a few slices of onion and red and orange pepper). I'm fuelled up now to get stuck into my Day 71's training (Boxing Skills A Level 2 and Lower Body Circuit)!!

Cheers!

I HAVE LEARNT ALOT THROUGH WHAT HAS BEEN POSTED IN THIS SITE THANKS

eggs are chat, and i dont eat them anyway :D

I love egg yolks! I eat 4 egg yolks out of 5 whole eggs. Man, they are packed with complete protein which essential for bodybuilders!

Great mix of healthy fat, high protein and essential vitamins, but 1 yolk is great and fat is fat. Lots of whey protein, bcaa and hard, high rep, workouts with supersets for cardio-vascular. Went from 107 lbs to 170 lbs in two 1/2 years with almost no fat around the belly. Turkey, chicken, Mostly egg whites, lean meat (sirloin Medium Well), salmon & tuna. Lots of spinach, whole grain bread, pasta, oatmeal and whole potatoes with the skin brushed either baked or microwaved. Good (GNC) multivitamin, B-complex w/ C, extra magnesium, potassium and some melatonin for deep sleep krebs cycle natural hormone release at bed.

Hello,after reading all of these comments etc is this artical saying the body can break down the egg whites if cooked,but when raw it is unable to break down the proteins,

if you are a body builder you need a balanced intake of egg whites and yolks if you have 10 egg whites a day and you start consuming all the 10 yolks you will be dead soon with clogged arteries.

two egg yolk is enough for an adult weekly and rest you eat as many as egg whites for your body building.

For people with uric acid complaints just avoid yolks they are in high purines and you will get immediate results in your joints if you take it daily basis.

Eggs, particualry the yolk are animal products. There are studies that show people who avoid or restrict animal products from their diets tend to live healthier and longer lives than the those who eat animal products at more than 1 meal a day. It's not just the potential effect on the heart but a whole host of other diseases and chronic conditions. There are many reasons - some legit, some not - for avoiding or reducing the amount of animal in our diet. One thing to think of is that animals have a molecule that our immune system does not recognize and thus it may attack that molecule leaving your immune system vulnerable. Vegetarians and some Flexitarians tend to avoid the yolk and eat the whites. Vegans avoid the entire egg.

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