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Ask The Sage

are egg whites healthy?

June 19, 2012

In a matter of speaking, yes. However, it is best to note that eggs in general are healthy for you; the USDA currently recommends no more than 7 eggs per week. Although this recommendation changes (usually when the dietary recommendations change every 5 years), the general rule of thumb is that eggs arent as bad for you as was once speculated.

This comes from the rich sources of vitamin A, potassium, vitamin E, folate, iron, and selenium, just to name a few. The yolk contains a lot of these nutrients, which can help in a variety of ways- from eye health and antioxidant properties to improved protein utilization and blood oxygenation. Biotin is advertised as being in high amounts in eggs; although this is only true when consumed raw… which is NOT RECOMMENDED. Eggs are known to contain Salmonella, a bacteria that can cause foodborne illness and a plethora of horrible side effects. When the yolk is removed, these nutrients tend to decrease over half the amount in a whole egg.

The reason why egg whites are generally known to be “better” for you is that they contain basically no cholesterol (with approximately 212 mg in a whole egg) and are very low in fat (.1g in a white compared to 5g in a whole egg). There is a little more than half the amount of protein from the whole egg in the white, so this is not completely lost. Some of the nutrients within the egg help that protein bind better in the body which helps it get absorbed better in the body.

So, depending on what you consider “healthy,” egg whites may/may not be the best option. I would personally recommend a moderate diet in whole eggs, eating no more than 4-5 per week. This usually turns out to be two breakfast sized portions: one breakfast of 2 eggs and one 3-egg omelet. You can also eat a hard-boiled egg each work day (5 days, 5 eggs) in the morning for breakfast.

If you have a health concern such as a heart condition or high cholesterol, this may not be right for you. The best thing to do is see your physician or a dietician to get consulted on what is best for you and your body.

Thanks for your question! Happy eating!

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