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Are egg whites healthier than whole eggs?

Egg whites are high in protein, and has zero fats. Read on to know about the benefits of including these in your diet.
A broken egg
Egg white is high in protein and helps the body in a number of ways. Image courtesy: Pexels
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 1 Jul 2024, 08:59 am IST
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Eating an egg is always a good option as it is believed to have high levels of protein. However, it all depends on which part of the egg you consume! The yolk of the egg is high in cholesterol and fats, which is why people often tend to consume egg whites. While egg whites are healthy by themselves – with fewer calories and lower cholesterol, they lack the wholesome nutrition of a whole egg. Read on to know more about egg whites, and how to include these in your diet.

What is an egg white?

Egg white is the white part of the egg, that surrounds the yellow yolk of the egg. When you crack an egg, the thick semi-transparent liquid that surrounds the egg yolk is the egg white. This becomes white when it is cooked. Egg whites are also called albumen, and work as a shock absorber to the egg yolk.

Egg white nutrition

The egg white of one large egg, contains the following nutrients, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

Water: 28.9g
Energy: 17.2kcal
Protein 3.6g
Fat: 0.056g
Carbohydrate: 0.2g
Fibre: 0g
Calcium: 2.31mg

Benefits of eating egg whites

Egg whites are a nutritious part of the egg. Here are some of the health benefits it provides:

1. Low in calories

Egg whites are made up of 90 per cent water, and are low in calories. One large egg white has only 17 calories, which is what makes it an ideal choice for a low-calorie snack. It contains no fats or carbohydrates. So making an egg white omelette, or an egg white breakfast cup can be your go-to breakfast if you are on your weight loss journey.

2. High in protein

While egg whites are low in calories, they are also high in protein. Egg white from one large egg contains 4g of protein, which is about 67 per cent of the protein found in the entire egg. According to a study, published in Nutrition, they contain complete protein, which includes nine amino acids that are needed by the body. Therefore, it keeps you fuller for a long and helps you build muscles as well. Especially if you are on your weight loss journey, the combination of low calories and high protein makes egg whites an ideal option for you.

3. Fat and cholesterol-free

Egg whites contain no fats or cholesterol. This is great for heart health. A study published in Plos Medicine, stated that the cholesterol from eggs was related to mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. However, while the egg yolk contains cholesterol and fat, egg whites are free from this. No fat in egg whites also makes it a perfect choice for weight-watchers.

A fried egg
The yolk of the egg is high in cholesterol and fats, which is why people often tend to consume egg whites. Image courtesy: Pexels

4. High levels of potassium

The egg white of a large egg has about 54mg of potassium. This is associated with better heart health, as well as bone health and overall functioning of the body. This helps to maintain your blood pressure as well.

How many egg whites should you eat in a day?

According to the American Heart Association, eating two egg whites in a day is healthy. However, it also depends on what else you plan on eating during that day, and the nutritional make up of that food. Also, just like the entire egg, egg whites need to be refrigerated and properly cooked before consumption.

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Side effects of egg whites

While egg whites are integral sources of protein without fat or carbohydrates, you should limit your consumption to the daily dosage limit. At times, these proteins can spark an allergic reaction as well. A study published in Molecular Immunology, suggests that one to two percent of kids suffer from hypersensitivity to eggs. This can result in a runny nose, hives as well as swelling.

Also, make sure to cook the egg white well. Uncooked eggs can result in Salmonella food poisoning. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention states that cooking egg whites to a level where they turn from liquid to complete solid, can help keep this food poisoning at bay.

Another drawback of eating too many egg whites is the presence of protein avidin in it. This tends to hinder the absorption of biotin, a water-soluble vitamin in our body. However, this is very rare, and large amounts of egg whites would be needed to cause a deficiency.

Egg whites vs full eggs: What to eat?

Egg whites or full eggs, your decision to each either of these depends on your endgoal. While egg whites are a great option for those who are on their weight-loss journey, whole eggs contain more nutrition. Egg yolks contain antioxidants — lutein and zeaxanthin – which have a wide range of benefits such as preventing age-related eye issues, and cataracts, states this study, published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. Egg yolks are also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, as well as vitamin D.

A woman separating egg white from yolk
Egg whites have fewer calories as well. Image courtesy: Pexels

How to separate egg whites from egg yolk

While separating the egg white from the yolk might seem tedious, there are many ways to do this easily. The easiest way would be to break open the egg on a flat plate. Take a plastic bottle, with a small mouth, and suction the yolk from the egg.

Another way of separating the egg white from the egg is to break the egg, holding both halves together. Now allow the egg white to slip out of the crack between the two halves.

Summary

Egg whites are a great source of protein while being low in calories. They also contain no fats or cholesterol, making this an ideal option. However, one needs to restrict one’s consumption to not more than two egg whites a day.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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