Eggs are known for being rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. These foods are considered to be so healthy that they have whole diets created around their consumption. As long as you're not adding lots of fat during the cooking process, eggs can usually be considered low-calorie, healthy foods. Boiled eggs are thought to be one of the healthiest types of eggs, as they don't require any fat or direct heat during the cooking process.
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A single, large (50 gram) hard-boiled egg contains only 78 calories.
Hard-Boiled Egg Nutrition Facts
Walk into any supermarket and you'll find a variety of different egg types. The United States Department of Agriculture categorizes eggs based on size. Eggs can range from as large as 2.42 ounces (68.6 grams) for jumbo eggs to as small as 1.25 ounces (35.5 grams) for peewee eggs. According to the USDA, one large (50 gram) hard-boiled egg's calories total 78, with 5.3 grams of fat, 0.6 grams of carbohydrates and 6.3 grams of protein. Each large hard-boiled egg also contains the following nutrients:
- 8 percent of the daily value (DV) for vitamin A
- 20 percent of the DV for riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- 14 percent of the DV for vitamin B5
- 6 percent of the DV for folate (vitamin B9)
- 23 percent of the DV for vitamin B12
- 6 percent of the DV for vitamin D
- 7 percent of the DV for phosphorus
- 5 percent of the DV for zinc
- 28 percent of the DV for selenium
- 27 percent of the DV for choline
Hard-boiled eggs also contain nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids that can be beneficial for the health of your eyes. Each hard-boiled egg also has small amounts (between 1 and 4 percent) of healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and copper, as well as vitamins like B-complex and vitamin E.
Eggs are also known for containing cholesterol; about 186 milligrams in each large egg. Cholesterol intake was once recommended to be limited to a total of 300 milligrams per day, but the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans no longer limits your daily cholesterol intake.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming about one egg a day, which means most egg-focused diets or boiled-egg diets may not be advisable for good health. If you're concerned about your cholesterol intake, you can always consume just egg whites, since the cholesterol found in eggs is in their yolks. The American Heart Association considers two egg whites to be the equivalent of one whole egg.
Of course, a hard-boiled egg's nutrition facts can vary based on factors such as the bird your egg came from, the egg's size, whether or not it has been enriched and the way it was cooked. A hard-boiled egg certainly won't have the same nutrition as most scrambled eggs or fried eggs, which are usually cooked in oil, butter or even bacon fat. Eggs like these are likely to have more fat and more calories.
Read more: The 20 Best Ways to Use Eggs
Cooking Eggs With Moist Heat
If you're hoping to cut down on calories, eggs cooked in moist heat, like hard-boiled eggs, are one of the healthiest types you can choose to eat. Moist heat means cooking with water and steam, rather than additional fats. Cooking with water and steam is better than cooking with fat when you're counting calories because there are additional calories in fat: a total of 9 calories per gram.
Moist heat also minimizes the formation of cooking-related end products, known as advanced glycation end-products, which tend to form when food is browned, grilled or fried. These end products can increase inflammation, oxidative stress and the risk for various chronic diseases, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney problems.
If you don't like hard-boiled eggs but want to avoid advanced glycation end-products, other eggs cooked in moist heat include soft-boiled eggs, poached eggs and eggs used in recipes like egg drop soup.
Read more: 9 Things You May Not Know About Eggs
Cooking Eggs With Added Fat
If you're not counting calories, you might not mind cooking your eggs in fat. In fact, some people, like those who follow low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diets, may actually want to increase the amount of fat they're consuming. However, keep in mind that most of the fat contained in eggs comes from saturated fat, unless you're cooking with omega-3-enriched eggs.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day, assuming you're following a standard 2,000 calorie diet because too much saturated fat can be bad for your cardiovascular health. Even if you're consuming a low-carb or ketogenic diet, this means that you should maximize your unsaturated fat content and consume more healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Saturated fats are typically animal products, like pork lard and butter, while unsaturated fats can typically be found in oils made from marine products or plant-based products, like extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, sunflower oil and fish oil.
You don't need to avoid using fat altogether to avoid advanced glycation end-products_;_ many fats can be healthy and can enhance the flavor and nutrition of your eggs. The main things you need to avoid are high heat, burning your food and cooking with unhealthy fats. Eggs cooked on lower heat have fewer end products compared to eggs cooked on higher heat.
Also, be aware that certain fats burn more easily than others; for example, butter burns faster than most oils. Using cooking sprays and other oil-based fats results in 50 to 75 percent fewer end products, compared to cooking with butter. Ultimately, this means that cooking your eggs with plant-based fats or water is better for your health as these cooking methods have fewer unhealthy end products and saturated fats.
- NIH: "Omega-3 Fatty Acids Fact Sheet for Health Professionals"
- American Heart Association: "Saturated Fat"
- Journal of the American Dietary Association: "Advanced Glycation End Products in Foods and a Practical Guide to Their Reduction in the Diet"
- FDA: "Total Fat"
- Food Science and Nutrition: "Effect of Storage and Cooking on the Fatty Acid Profile of Omega-3 Enriched Eggs and Pork Meat Marketed in Belgium"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020"
- American Heart Association: "Are Eggs Good for You or Not?"
- CyTA Journal of Food: "Hen Egg Carotenoids (Lutein and Zeaxanthin) and Nutritional Impacts on Human Health: A Review"
- MyFoodData: "Nutrition Facts for Hard Boiled Eggs"
- USDA: "United States Standards, Grades, and Weight Classes for Shell Eggs AMS 56"