Whole Eggs vs Egg Whites? Who Wins?

Almost every day, you hear this age-old myth:  Whole eggs are bad for you because they contain too much cholesterol and fat.  Yet, are they really that bad?

Let’s get the facts straight.  For those of you who care, one whole egg contains 213mg of cholesterol, 5 g of fat (2g saturated, 0g Trans fat), and 6 g of protein, totalling 71 Cal.  This may mean nothing to you; so, what can we take from this?  Whole eggs contain relatively high amounts of cholesterol.  Hold your horses, though.  Let’s not jump to any conclusions.

Recently, researchers have found a colossal correlation between Trans fat intake, and high cholesterol levels.  Considering that eggs do not contain Trans fats, this suggests two things:  1) Eating Trans fats will raise cholesterol levels (duh!), and 2) Eating high amounts of cholesterol does not necessarily raise cholesterol levels (unless you have a genetic disorder).  I have a question for you, but my friend (and future Kinesiologist), David Wu says it best, “How can an old food contribute to a new disease?”

Boring Science Study

This is for the people who say, “Show me the studies”:

“In studies at the University of Connecticut, for example, eating three eggs a day for 30 days increased cholesterol in susceptible people, but their LDL particles were larger, and there was no change in the ratio between LDL and HDL, which suggests no major change in coronary risk.” (http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/wl/2008/wlFeatured0308.html)

Foods With High Trans Fats

So what foods have high levels of Trans fats?  Fried foods, potato chips, margarine, shortening, packaged foods, frozen food (besides vegetables and Ezekiel bread), baked goods, some crackers, most breakfast cereals, candy, non-dairy creamers etc.  To make it concise, this basically includes everything that is found in the middle aisles of the grocery store, contains a food label, and is not located around the perimeter of the store.

Benefits of Whole Eggs

Besides not being processed like most foods included in the average North American’s diet, whole eggs have some pretty cool benefits.  Eggs contain some antioxidants that are important for eye health, nutrients important for brain health, and mono-unsaturated fat (healthy fats).

Egg Whites

One large egg white contains 0mg of cholesterol, 0 g of fat (0g saturated, 0g Trans fat), and 4 g of protein, totalling 16 Cal.  Thus, egg whites are an awesome protein source.  Does this mean that they’re better for you than whole eggs?  Not necessarily.  Health-wise, both are excellent for you.  So it comes down to two things:  calories in vs calories out, and how much protein you wish to ingest.

Here’s the thing, when it comes to fat loss or muscle gain, calories in vs calories out is second in the hierarchy.  Number 1 on the list will always be food choices.  Will your body look sexier if you eat 2000kcal per day of potato chips, or 2000kcal per of meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, and healthy fats.  The answer is pretty obvious.  Shit in, shit out.

So let’s say you’re on a super strict diet, and all of your food choices are spot on, excellent, good quality foods.  This is when you’d need to decide if you want to eat whole eggs, or egg whites.  Want to eat a higher protein, low calorie meal?  Go with egg whites.  Just remember not to skip out on healthy fats altogether with your meal.  Not on a super strict diet?  Don’t worry about it and crack open a bunch of whole eggs.

As an added bonus, eat cage free eggs from your local farmer.  You’ll know they’re good if the yolks are orange instead of yellow, and if the shells are thicker and harder to crack open.

I usually eat 5 eggs each day. That equates to 150 eggs per month.

I eat a lot of eggs…

So next time someone sees you eating 5 eggs in one meal, and tells you that they’re bad for you, tell them to quit eating fried foods.  Either that, or tell them what you just read above.  It’s your choice.