Are Egg Yolks So Bad?

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Monday, April 13, 2009
One of the most important parts of the P90X Fitness Program is the diet that comes along with it. To get the ripped results of the people you see in the videos and promotional photos, you need to reduce body fat and you can't do that with exercise alone. So watching what you eat is very important to get the best results.

I'm planning on doing 2 rounds of P90X to get the results I want and in the first round I'm not really following the nutritional program. My diet isn't that bad, but I know I can improve so I've been working on doing so.

One thing you'll find in the P90X nutritional plan is a lot of egg whites. The egg yolks contain about 99% of the fat and all the cholesterol in an egg so many people recommend ditching the egg yolks completely.

I have tried making egg white omelets in the past but I never really liked them. This morning I thought I'd try again and made an omelet with 3 egg whites and one slice of American cheese.

It was so disgusting I really had to force myself to finish it. It's not so much the taste as it is the texture. I like eggs, but I really can't stand egg whites, so I wanted to look into other options, so I started looking around to see just how bad eating egg yolks was. It turns out, it's not that bad.

First off, when you're throwing away the yolk, you're not just throwing away 99% of the fat and 100% of the cholesterol, you're throwing away 43% of the protein, over 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamine, B6, folate, B12 and all of the Vitamin A, E, D and K as well as some essential fatty acids. View this page for reference that compares that nutritional composition of eggs as well as this more detailed nutrient breakdown.

Unless you really need to eliminate all the cholesterol from your diet, I think most people can stand the occasional egg yolk. You might want to consult with your doctor if you have concerns.

I used to make omelets with 3 eggs years ago, then cut down to 2 eggs. In the past few months I switched to 1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites. This gives the same volume as three eggs and still tastes and feels a lot like whole eggs. The fat in the yolk serves as an emulsifier that helps create that softer, less slimy texture. I have never seen a fluffy egg dish made with only egg whites.

Products like Egg Beaters may be a better choice if you really don't want to consume egg yolks. Egg Beaters is basically a carton of egg whites mixed in with some flavoring, coloring and vegetable based gums that serve as emulsifiers that helps with the texture. It's been years since I've used Egg Beaters but I seem to remember they were more like real eggs than plain egg whites.

Some people add some skim milk to their egg white recipes, maybe doing that or adding in some other type of fat or emulsifier would help but I like the yolk.

Below is a table comparing the calories, fat, protein and carbs in three different styles of omelets, regular, some yolk and all whites. The number of eggs used is different in each to try and keep the volumes similar.

TraditionalMostly Whitesvs TradAll Whitesvs Trad
# egg whites345
# egg yolks310
Protein (g)18.917.1-9.52%18-4.76%
Fat (g)13.714.75-65.35%0.3-97.81%
Saturated Fat (g)4.81.6-66.67%0-100.00%
Carbs (g)2.551.57-38.43%1.2-52.94%
Cholesterol (mcg)630210-66.67%0-100.00%
Pct cals from protein33.16%53.86%62.43%84.71%155.46%
Pct cals from fat54.12%33.66%-37.80%3.18%-94.13%
Pct cals from carbs4.47%4.94%10.53%5.65%26.23%

The percent of calories from fat using 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites is still a bit high, but much better than three whole eggs but part of the reason is that the number of calories has also been reduced. The actual number of grams of fat has been cut by almost 2/3rds. More importantly the amount of protein is almost the same and it's something I can actually swallow. The choice of filling can help change the proportion of calories from fat, but this is a much healthier omelet than I was previously eating.

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