Egg Yolks: Toss’em or Eat’em

“Egg Yolks: Toss’em or Eat’em?”  I get asked this question quite a bit when doing diet and nutrition consultations so I figured it’s about time to do a post on the subject.

Ahh…the great “egg debate.” One side says you should limit your consumption of eggs, especially egg yolks or you’re opening the door to increased cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risks. The other side says this is complete non-sense.

Many people feel good about their breakfast choice after scrambling up an egg white omelet. They toss that golden yolk without thinking twice, boasting about their supposed healthy action. What if I told you that tossing that yellow goodness isn’t really the healthiest choice? No surprises I’m all for eating the whole egg.

Recently, the American Heart Association has updated their recommendation, making it clear that eggs (including the yolk) can absolutely be part of a healthy eating plan – every day! The American Heart Association recommends that up to one whole egg (yolk and white) per day can be part of a healthy eating plan, if it’s swapped out for higher cholesterol foods such as meat, poultry and dairy.

Studies show eating the whole egg (yes, yolk included) can contribute to weight loss and even increase HDL cholesterol—that’s the good kind. In reality, by tossing the yolk, you are missing out on many health-boosting benefits. It doesn’t get its name—the incredible, edible egg—for no reason. Eggs are nutrient powerhouses, and incorporating them into your diet can help you stick to your weight loss plan and even help you shed a few pounds. Still not convinced? Here’s what an egg can do for you:

The yolk is a nutrient goldmine. One whole egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals, according to the Egg Nutrition Center. The list includes:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Protein
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin D
  • Choline
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin E
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorus
  • Selenium

As you can see, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck for just 70 calories. But when you skip the yolk, you lose at least a portion of each of these significant nutrients.

  • People who eat eggs for breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day. A study showed that those who consumed eggs for breakfast ate, on average, 400 fewer calories per day than those who didn’t eat eggs. The high-protein qualities in eggs keep you feeling full, longer. It’s like scoring a bargain at your favorite store—few calories with big benefits.
  • Eating a whole egg a day can be beneficial for metabolic syndrome patients. The common belief is at-risk individuals should lay low when it comes to consuming egg yolks—cholesterol is thought to spell trouble. However, a recent study published in the journal Metabolism refutes this perception. After 12 weeks, researchers did not see an increase LDL cholesterol (the bad kind), but they did see an increase in HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and decreases in triglycerides. Incorporating a whole egg daily in a low-carbohydrate diet can significantly benefit at-risk individuals.
  • It’s brain food. Eggs may help improve your memory. They are rich in choline, a nutrient essential for functioning of all cells, especially the brain. People with a diet rich in choline consistently perform better on memory tests, studies show.
  • Eggs can help build muscle strength. The protein in eggs is the highest-quality protein you can find, even better than meat. You may see athletes bulking up on protein supplements, but when it comes to eggs, less is more. Eggs provide the same quality protein for fewer calories. The combination of muscle-building protein and vitamin B12 to breakdown fat is a recipe for muscle toning and weight loss success. 

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