Egg Whites vs Egg Yolks: Nutritional Differences

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Whether for health reasons or personal taste preference, some may prefer skipping egg yolk and just eating egg whites. When it comes down to nutritional values, how do they differ?

Whole Egg
(1 Large, 51g)
Egg White
(From 1 large egg, 34 g)
Egg Yolk
(From 1 large egg, 17g)
Calories721756
Fat5 g<0.1 g4.9 g
Saturated Fat1.6 g0 g1.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat2 mg0 g2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat955 mg0 g714 mg
Cholesterol187 mg0 mg184 mg
Protein6.3 g3.6 g2.8 g
Carbohydrate0.6 g0.2 g0.4 g
Choline147 mg0.4 mg139 mg
Vitamin D41 IU0 IU37 IU
Table 1. Nutritional Comparison of Whole Egg vs Egg White vs Yolk
Egg White vs Egg Yolk Nutrition Poster

Egg White vs. Yolk: The Main Difference is the Fat Profile

As you can see from the above table, the majority of the fat content (as well as saturated fat) is in egg yolk. That’s also true for cholesterol. And that is the main reason why people with known risks of cardiovascular diseases may be recommended to restrict egg yolks to 2 times per week.

However, as you remove the yolk, not only do you remove the saturated fat and cholesterol, you also remove other good fats such as monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. As long as you’re aware of this situation, and supplement your diet with other foods rich in these two fatty acids, that should be ok.

Don’t Purchase Omega-3 Eggs If You’re Going To Skip Egg Yolks

Omega 3-enhanced eggs are popular these days, especially for people who don’t often eat seafood or nuts. Hens fed with a diet high in flax seed produced eggs rich in omega 3. As mentioned above, fats in an egg are found in the yolk, not the white. Therefore, it’s not worth the extra money to pay for omega 3-enhanced eggs, if you don’t eat the yolks.

The Star Nutrient in Egg White: Protein 

Eggs are considered to be a complete protein source, providing all 9 essential amino acids. Egg white is an excellent source of protein, providing 3.6 grams of protein each; 80% of the calories indeed comes from protein alone. Furthermore, as egg whites are low in fat, making it a high-protein, low-calorie food.

However, egg white from a single egg does not provide enough protein for breakfast. Therefore, we recommend eating two egg whites in place of an egg. 

2x Egg Whites = 1 Whole Egg

Nutritional Facts of Egg Whites

2 large egg whites (66 g) provides:

  • Calories: 34
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 0.4 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Choline: 0.72 mg

If you’re used to eating 2 whole eggs in the morning, you will need 4 egg whites, providing 14.4 g of protein.

The Star Nutrient in Egg Yolk: Choline

Aside from liver organ meats, no other foods provide as much choline (~140 mg) as an egg yolk. As an essential nutrient, choline plays a critical role in the structural integrity of all cell membranes. In particular, our brain and central nervous system needs choline to help regulate memory, mood, heart beat, DNA synthesis, removing cholesterol from liver, and more. 

Most Other Vitamins Are In Egg Yolk

Most other B vitamins such as B12 and folate as well as all fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E and K are found in egg yolks.

Both Have Nutritional Values

At one time in history, egg yolks were regarded as the “villain”. As we now know more, both egg whites and yolk have their own nutritional values. Although high in cholesterol, egg yolks also have other beneficial nutrients. If you’re unsure if you can eat egg yolk everyday, check with your doctor or dietitian.

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