Given how many people in the last wk have raised their eyebrows and remarked, “aren’t they bad for you?” in response to my “eat eggs” recommendation, I thought I’d set the record straight.

Yes, they are high in fat and cholesterol, both which reside in the yolk.

No, eating the white only is not “better.”

While the yolk is fattening by comparison with the white (5g vs. 0g for a large egg), it also contains 3 of the 6 grams of protein in the egg, along with calcium, copper, zinc, Vitamin E, Omega 3s, riboflavin, Vitamin D, etc.  The white alone really only provides protein, and surprise, most of the egg’s sodium. By tossing the yolk entirely, you miss out on the above nutrients which actually work in conjunction with the protein in the white for muscle growth, cell repair and memory function, to mention a few.

While convenient, the packaged whites are actually the worst option. Not only do you lose the important nutrients naturally occurring in the yolk, but also, like any packaged product that has an extended shelf life, you get to consume an additional 115grams of sodium, vegetable gums, phosphates and other preservatives.  Some brands do contain traces of the vitamins and nutrients originally in the egg, but they are added in, like cereal, bread and other enriched foods. 

My clients know our diet “The Arsenal” is based on simplicity. Eat foods as close to what was growing (fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts) or grazing in the field or swimming in the water (meats and fish) as possible.  So, the less-processed items on your menu, the happier your tummy will be.  Plus, in this instance, I’m giving you a license to eat something that actually tastes better. Please don’t argue that Egg Beaters and the like taste better…the flavoring is just another on the list of additives anyway.

Regarding cholesterol, instead of getting hung up on the dietary cholesterol listed on food labels, we should be more concerned with monitoring the level of cholesterol in our bloodstream. This measure is more affected by the mix of fats in our diets rather than the cholesterol we intake from food. We’ll chat fats in another entry.

So who wins the egg debate? Here’s my crack at it:

In the interest of limiting daily fat and calories, and keeping an eye on cholesterol, I recommend eating a 2:1 ratio of whites:full egg.  Crack 4 eggs in a bowl and remove 2 yolks before scrambling. If you already have your doctor hounding you about high cholesterol or heart disease, you should reduce the ratio to 3:1, removing 3 of the 4 yolks in the former example, and enjoy this omelet no more than 3 times a week.

In addition to maintaining the healthy nutrient content of consuming the full egg, both options taste great and are more satisfying than choking down another egg white omelet, which I can say from my experience as an egg-white-only girl. I’ll shoot you the recipe in a min for my favorite omelet, which is now gaining popularity on the left coast too.