Getting enough protein each day is essential for the health of your bones, cartilage, muscles and skin. Finding ways to sneak a healthy dose of protein into each meal is possible with some planning and creativity. One way to start your day off right is to rely on the protein in egg whites and yolk.
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The main protein found in eggs is ovalbumin. It makes up 54 percent of the total protein.
How Much Protein Is in Eggs?
Eggs are a rich source of essential proteins. And when consumed in moderation, which the Cleveland Clinic says is four to six eggs a week, the protein in egg whites and yolk both contribute to your daily protein totals.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, males 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.
When it comes to the protein in egg yolk versus egg white, the whites are the clear winner. 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, according to the USDA. Whereas the egg yolk of a medium-sized egg has 48.3 calories, 2.38 grains of protein, 0.538 grams of carbohydrates and 3.98 grams of fat.
When eating a whole egg, you will get 62.9 calories, 5.53 grams of protein, 0.317 grams of carbohydrate and 4.18 grams of fat. To get a better idea of why eggs are a good source of protein, you can compare them to the protein in other popular breakfast items. For example, the protein in bacon, which is 2.04 grams, is significantly less than an egg.
Protein in Egg Whites
The protein in egg whites is one of the main reasons many people include this part of the egg in their diet. According to a 2013 review published in Poultry Science, the proteins found in egg whites include ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, ovomucoid, ovomucin, and lysozyme, among others.
Ovalbumin is the major protein found in egg whites. At 54 percent, it makes up over half of the total protein. Ovotransferrin, which is the second-highest source of protein, trails far behind, compromising only 12 percent of the total amount. Ovomucoid at 11 percent, comes in third, with ovomucin and lysozyme, both at 3.5 percent.
Rounding out the remaining protein sources in egg whites, but in minimal amounts, is avidin at 0.05 percent, cystatin at 0.05 percent, ovomacroglobulin at 0.5 percent, ovoflavoprotein at 0.8 percent, ovoglycoprotein at 1 percent and ovoinhibitor.
In addition to protein, egg whites are also packed full of other nutrients. One egg white offers 2.03 milligrams of calcium, 3.19 milligrams of magnesium, 4.35 milligrams of phosphorous, 47.3 milligrams of potassium.
But it's not just the whites that carry all the benefits. In addition to protein, the egg yolk is also full of essential nutrients. With 19.4 milligrams of calcium, 58.5 milligrams of phosphorus, 16.4 milligrams of potassium, 8.2 µg of selenium, 21.9 µg of folate, 57.2 µg of vitamin A, 55.6 µg of retinol, 13.2 µg of beta carotene, among others, the egg yolk nutrition is also worth mentioning.
While not as common in adults as it is in kids, it is important to mention egg allergies. An egg allergy is a type of immune response triggered by ingesting the proteins in egg whites or yolks.
And while you can have an allergic reaction to the proteins in both the whites and the yolk, an allergy to egg whites is most common. If you have an allergy to egg whites or yolks, you need to avoid any food product that contains eggs.
- Poultry Science: "Egg White Proteins and Their Potential Use in Food Processing or as Nutraceutical and Pharmaceutical Agents—A Review"
- U.S Department of Agriculture: Bacon, Beef, Cooked"
- The Cleveland Clinic: "How Many Eggs Can You Eat on a Heart-Healthy Diet"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Eggs, White Only, Raw"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Eggs, Yolk Only, Raw"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Egg, Whole, Raw"
- The Mayo Clinic: "Egg Allergy: Symptoms and Causes"