Egg yolks healthy or not?

I’ve been spending extra time in the gym lately and have been trying to up my protein intake and figured that eggs would be the most economical method of doing this.

I read or heard from various sources that there is nothing unhealthy about eating egg yolks unless you are sensitive to ingested cholesterol (i.e. it raises your cholesterol levels). Other things I’ve heard is that the yolk contains some sort of acid (can’t remember the name) which is bad for your circulatory system.

I hate to throw out the yolk unless I really have to since it contains half the protein and most of the other nutrients in the egg, besides the fact that it tastes a lot better with a yolk.

So what is the straight dope, are egg yolks healthy or not?

Well, there are two schools of thought on the matter…

Me, I eat 'em.

All things in moderation. Daily eggs may not be a great idea, but a few times a week? Why not?

What constitutes a level of moderation in egg consumption? I was planning on 4 whole eggs/day or 8 eggs without the yolk to get the desired level of protein in the meal. Is this considered dangerous or unsafe level? Which is better the 4 or 8? I’m not concerned about fat intake as I watch where I get my fats from (nuts, fish oil, and flaxseed oil primarily), so I’m not overly concerned about the fat obtained from eggs.

I was always under the impression that egg whites have all the benefits and none of the problems (well, except for lack of taste). So I’d assume that the 8 egg whites are better. As for me, I’ve converted to Egg Beaters.

Most of your cholesterol is synthesized by the body from saturated fats and trans fats. These are the real culprits. That said, egg yolks do contain substantial cholesterol, but much protein that is not found in the whites. Adelle Davis (may she rest in peace) wrote that eggs are not that bad since they also contain lecithin, which is supposed to emulsify the cholesterol.

Conventional wisdom now is that 4 eggs a day is too much. Four eggs a week should be the max.

Egg whites don’t have any of the fat, which is generally desirable.

Could you not counterbalance the cholesterol intake with vitamin C in the form of oranges and lettuce.

I understand (OK, think) that egg yolks also contain a wealth of iron, sulphur and trace elements, all benificial where body-building is concerned, and that lettuce is also very rich source of both vitamin C and Iron in an absorbable form.

4 whole eggs, scrambled without added fat, will add 316 calories, 20 grams of fat, 6 grams of carbohydrates and 26 grams of protein to your diet. This would also provide significant portions (~20% or more) of the RDA of Vitamins A, B6, B12, D and E, selenium, riboflavin, folate, iron, zinc, calcium and phosphorus.

8 egg whites, scrambled without added fat, have 131 calories, 0 grams of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates and 28 grams of protein. The egg whites don’t include significant amounts of any nutrients except selenium and riboflavin.

Compare either to a boneless, skinless chicken breast which has been grilled or broiled and has 183 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates and 34 grams of protein. This also provides Vitamin B-6 and B-12, niacin, selenium and phosphorus.

Compare all of the above to a 6.5 ounce can of basic chunk tuna (water pack) which has 194 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates and 43 grams of protein and all of the same nutrients as the chicken.

So if you’re thinking about protein, eggs are an acceptable source but there are foods which are better for that purpose which carry better nutrient loads and fewer fat and carbohydrate grams to consider. As part of a varied and diverse diet, there’s nothing wrong with eggs, they’ll give you some measure of what you’re looking for but you’ll want to supplement your diet in other ways as well.

Vitamin C is a very good nutrient, being an antioxidant and a collagen-builder, among other things. However, it has no effect on cholesterol. Adelle Davis thought cholesterol could be balanced with lecithin.

I’m going to say that egg yolks are neither ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ - they are a food, and a diet that contains too many of them (or in some cases, perhaps too few, if it is also lacking in other items) would be unhealthy, whereas a diet that contains a moderate quantity of egg yolks, as part of a balanced spread of nutrition, can be a healthy one. I’ll leave the actual nutritionists to tell you how many is too many.