It's no secret that eggs are one of the more popular sources of protein in many meal plans. They are easy to prepare, taste delicious, and, when consumed in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet. Plus, the amount of protein in egg white meals helps you meet your daily goals.
The egg whites from a medium-sized egg have 3.15 grams of protein.
Protein in Egg White
In an effort to maximize protein, but also minimize fat, many people ditch the yolk and only eat the egg white. While not a significant difference, there is more protein in egg white than there is in the yolk.
According to the USDA, the egg whites from a medium-sized egg contain 15.1 calories, 3.15 grams of protein, 0.212 grams of carbohydrates and 0.049 grams of fat. Compare that to the protein in egg yolk, which is 2.38 grams for a medium-sized egg, and it's clear that the protein in egg white is higher.
The protein in egg whites contributes to your daily totals, which according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a male between the ages of 31 and 50 needs about 56 grams of protein, assuming they are eating 2,400 calories a day. And a female between the ages of 31 and 50, who eats 1,800 calories a day, needs approximately 46 grams of protein.
Eggs and Your Health
Whether you're trying to shed a few pounds or just keep your health in check, you might be wondering, "What's the healthiest way to eat eggs?" While the answers to this question will vary based on your current needs, there are a few common concerns and questions that seem to arise about eating eggs.
One of the most talked-about health issues surrounding eggs is how they may affect cholesterol levels. While consuming anything in excess has consequences, the Cleveland Clinic says that eating eggs in moderation, about four to six a week, is acceptable.
Plus, the American Heart Association points out that if you only eat egg whites, you're able to get the protein without the cholesterol of the yolk. That said, if you have any concerns about your cholesterol levels, talk with your doctor before eating eggs.
On the plus side, egg white benefits include being low in calories and fat and high in protein. In fact, they contain the bulk of the egg's protein. They also contain key vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, selenium, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. To get a better idea of how to calculate your protein needs, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of your total calories for the day.
Safe Handling of Eggs
Eggs are an excellent addition to your diet any time of the day. That said, there are some general safety guidelines to follow when buying, preparing and storing eggs.
Eggs can contain a germ called Salmonella that can make you sick. If infected, you could experience diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps beginning anywhere from six hours to four days after becoming infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To reduce the risk of Salmonella, the CDC says to buy pasteurized eggs and egg products from suppliers that keep them refrigerated, especially since eggs need to be kept refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or colder. Once you're ready to prep, make sure to cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm and continue to cook egg dishes until they have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius) or hotter.
Additionally, some people are allergic to certain proteins in eggs, but according to the Mayo Clinic, allergy to egg whites is most common. The symptoms, which include skin rashes, hives, nasal congestion and digestive distress, typically occur within a few minutes to a few hours after eating eggs. And, in rare cases, a severe reaction can cause anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical attention.
- American Heart Association: "Are Eggs Good for You or Not?"
- The Cleveland Clinic: "Should I Stop Eating Eggs to Control Cholesterol?"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central:"Egg White Only Raw"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyFood Data: "Egg Yolk, Only, Raw"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central: "Whole, Egg, Raw"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Salmonella and Eggs"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Egg Allergy"
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans: "Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass"